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Letter to Governour Trumbull

v4:401

In Provincial Congress, New-York, Dec˙ 12, 1775.

SIR: It gives us concern that we are under the necessity of addressing you, on a subject that has given great discontent to the inhabitants of the City and County of New-York. We are informed by a petition from the General Committee, that a body of troops from your Colony, lately made a publick entry into this city at noonday, and seized and carried off the types belonging to one of the publick printers, without any authority from the Continental or this Congress, or their Committee. While we consider this conduct as an insult offered to this Colony, we are disposed to attribute it to an imprudent, though well intended, zeal for the publick cause, and cannot entertain the most distant thought that your Colony will approve of the measure. It is unnecessary to use arguments to show the impropriety of a proceeding that has a manifest tendency to interrupt that harmony and union which at present happily subsists throughout, and is so essential to the interest of the whole, Continent. It is our earnest desire, that you would take the most effectual steps to prevent any of the people of your Colony from entering into this for the like purposes, unless invited by our Provincial Congress, a Committee of Safety, or the General Committee of one of our Counties, as we cannot but consider such intrusions as an invasion of our essential rights as a distinct Colony; and common justice obliges us to request that you would give orders that all the types be returned to the Chairman of the General Committee of the City and County of New-York. We believe you will not consider this requisition as an attempt to justify the man from whom the types were taken. We are fully sensible of his demerits; but we earnestly wish that the glory of the present contest for liberty may not be sullied by an attempt to restrain the freedom of the Press.

The same body of troops, we are informed, seized the Mayor of the Burough of Westchester, the Rector of that Parish, and one of the Justices of the County, and carried them to your Colony. Mr˙ Seabury, we are informed, is still detained. If such should be the case, we must entreat your friendly interposition for his immediate discharge; the more especially as, considering his ecclesiastick character, (which, perhaps, is venerated by many friends to liberty,) the severity that has been used towards him may be subject to misconstructions prejudicial to the common cause.

And the more effectually to restrain such incursions, which, if repeated, may be productive of mischief of the most serious consequence, and as we would be exceedingly sorry to give room for jealousies among individuals in your Colony that we are desirous to damp the spirit of liberty, or countenance any of its enemies among us, we propose to apply to the Continental Congress, not by way of complaint, but for such a general regulation on this subject as may as well prevent such jealousies as any future incursions by the inhabitants of either Colony into the other for the apprehending or punishing any enemy or supposed enemy to the cause of liberty, without application to the Congress, the Committee of Safety, or the Committee of the County, within the jurisdiction of which such person shall reside, or command of the Continental Congress.

We are sir, with the utmost respect and esteem, your most obedient servants.

To the Honourable Jonathan Trumbull, Esq˙, Governour of the Colony of Connecticut.

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