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Governour Patrick Tonyn to General Gage

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GOVERNOUR PATRICK TONYN TO GENERAL GAGE.

St˙ Augustine, September 14, 1775.

SIR: A letter from the Earl of Dunmore, dated 29th August, desires the Fourteenth Regiment entire to be removed from this garrison to Virginia, provided the three Companies of the Sixteenth Regiment be arrived in it from Pensacola.

Major Furlong has a letter to the same end, enclosing two from your Excellency, one of 27th July; the other to Captain Cooper, of 29th.

His Lordship makes a further requisition of bedding, for the whole Regiment, ammunition, powder, lead, flints, cartridge paper, spare arms, and provisions.

Your Excellency' s commands of 27th July direct the detachment at Virginia to be supplied with provisions from this place.

Lord Dunmore desires the transports to be filled with provisions. Our duty is undoubtedly to assist and promote His Majesty' s service in every corner where it be possible to effect it; at the same time to consider our power to do it at a distance, when His Majesty' s service as importantly demands our attention to be as seriously employed on the spot where we are placed. Provisions are sent, consistent with our own circumstances, a return of which is enclosed to your Excellency, with a return of what remains in the garrison.

This Province, cultivating more valuable produce, has hitherto depended for a constant supply of provisions from the Northern Provinces of America, but is now excluded from all communication with them; consequently, we are in no small anxiety in respect to provisions for this year' s consumption.

A fellow (Lempriere) is to be rewarded in Carolina with a large ship, mounting several guns, for an act of piracy committed off this bar. He is to be stationed to cruise off St˙ Mary' s River, to intercept whatever vessels are coming to this Province.

No opportunity having offered before to convey to your Excellency an account of this audacious attempt, I beg now to trouble you with it. The 3d of August, in the afternoon, a brig, with ordnance stores, came off this bar. The 4th, the Provincial vessel was sent to lighten the brig, to bring as much powder out of her as she could stow. The vessel returned the 5th, with two hundred and ninety-three barrels of gunpowder, the brig being sufficiently lightened. The 6th being calm, the brig could not come into port. The 7th, in the morning, at low water, a sloop, which was taken for a negro vessel, run on board the brig, boarded with twenty-six men, armed, took away a hundred and eleven barrels of the King' s powder, and some for the merchants here. More powder would have been taken, but ten soldiers were on board as labourers, without arms, to get the ordnance stores out of the brig; they grew angry, and began to plot to seize some of the pirates' arms, to drive them out of the brig. The pirates took the alarm, evacuated the brig in confusion, leaving a part of their orders, signed Henry Laurens, and a draft on a merchant in Charlestown, for a thousand Pounds sterling, signed by the commander, Clement Lempriere, as they pretended, in payment for the powder. The instant I heard of this villany, the Provincial vessel was equipped with eight pieces of small ordnance, an officer, and thirty privates of the Fourteenth Regiment, and sailed in pursuit of the pirates. They arrived off Savannah Bar a few hours after the pirate sloop got over it, and went the inland passage to Beaufort, in Carolina, from which place she had sailed. In consequence of the protest made by the master of the brig, the enclosed Proclamation was issued. I have tried to get it inserted in the Georgia and Carolina papers,

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but cannot get it done. If your Excellency thinks it proper for the Boston newspaper, you can do as you please. Since Lempriere has been off here, we have heard of two armed schooners cruising.

The three Companies of the Sixteenth Regiment not being arrived, your Excellency' s orders are complied with, to send another detachment to Virginia, not the whole Regiment. We did not know the strength your Excellency intended the detachment should be; but Lord Dunmore mentions, if the whole Regiment be not sent, at least to send sixty, which is done. Enclosed is a state of those remaining in garrison here.

It would have been a happy thing if His Majesty' s service had not absolutely required the removal of the Fourteenth Regiment from this garrison; three Companies, perhaps, far from complete, may be enough to check the disaffected in the Province. Should we be attacked by an external enemy, properly provided and of sufficient force, it will be impossible, in our weak state, to save the Town or barracks an hour.

To be silent on the intelligence I have been able to procure, would be highly blameable. It has been, I am confidently assured, in contemplation in Carolina, to attack this Province, in order to get possession of the ordnance stores in this fort, to burn the barracks, of course the Town. Had the Fourteenth Regiment continued here, I think I should have made any attempt of this sort cost them very dear.

The Province being in an infant state, the Indians seeing most of the Troops removed, may change their tone, and become troublesome, although they never were, at any time, so well disposed, or on such good and friendly terms.

On the transports' arrival, the friends of our excellent Constitution were put in very great consternation. It was rumoured the Troops were all to be taken away.

Your Excellency will forgive me mentioning that His Majesty' s fort, and the ordnance stores now in it, are of very great value. They are a great object to the rebels of Carolina and Georgia, which may induce them, with the hope of doing other mischief, to attempt something; for they are exceedingly incensed against this Province, jealous of the productions, superiour to those produced in Carolina, therefore naturally have no good will towards us, and are enraged that we preserve our fidelity and obedience to Great Britain.

Some people have come here from the other Provinces, as a retreat of safety. More are coming, but these were unhappy at the notice of the means of their safety being taken away, and these will probably not now come here to settle. The Province was becoming an asylum to the friends of the Constitution.

To preserve communication with the Creek Nation may be of weighty consideration, in these times, for Great Britain; this has been a mark of my closest attention. Should the communication be interrupted by any fatality, it will lessen the Nation' s idea of the King' s great power; reducing His Majesty' s servants' intercourse with the Indians to the sole channel and great distance of Pensacola. Having no conception of the general plan of operations, I can only write to your Excellency on a judgment formed on the locality of my situation.

Shoud any Troops be ordered to act against Carolina, it will be a perfect security to this Province. I am told they have four thousand Troops in arms. I was in hopes the Regiment inured to this hard climate would have been here until some measures were put in operation against the Southern Provinces; perhaps your Excellency may intend their return to this garrison, as I understand they cannot be landed in Virginia; a large ship is made into a barrack as their station.

Sir James Wright has doubtless informed your Excellency of the disaffection of Georgia, the government being entirely wrested from him by rebel Committees.

I have wrote to your Excellency, in undressed, undisguised sentiments, what matters occur in relation to the Southern Provinces. We are totally at a loss for what is doing in the north. Many reports fly about, which are incredible. If Lord Dunmore had not sent, by the transports, the printed account, published at Boston the 26th June, of the attack on the heights of Charlestown, we should not have known what opinion to form of it — a report as incredible as others, which I cannot hear without

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mentioning to your Excellency. I think it next to impossible that the rebels have advice of every thing you do; that they are expeditiously informed of every resolution adopted by your Excellency. They know your Excellency' s daily orders in their camp and lines, by the time the orders are delivered to the Regiments of the British Army. Could I hear such advice, and not let your Excellency know it? but it is understood to be true throughout America.

On a general conception of circumstances, I should judge your Excellency would think it necessary to secure a firm post somewhere in the south, for His Majesty' s service, without leaving it in any danger to be snatched away. I know of no place more fit than Augustine. Had the Fourteenth Regiment remained here, this object was effected; now it is at a hazard; a sure and certain intercourse with the Creek Indians would have been preserved. But, whatever our condition, I shall put in execution every exertion I am capable of suggesting for the good of His Majesty' s service. I don' t know whether your Excellency has been informed that the rebels in Carolina are fortifying Charlestown.

By this time I most sincerely hope the British Army, under your Excellency' s command, is crowned with glory and success.

I have the honour to be, with very great esteem and respect, Sir, your Excellency' s most obedient and most humble servant,

PAT˙ TONYN.

To General Gage, Boston.

P˙ S. The Commissary for the Army represented that his contract was only to supply the Troops within the Province. I told him it was a peaceable contract, meant for quiet times. It was now war. The Regiment must be supplied with six months' provisions, if the commanding officer desired as much to take with him.

I have sent privately to the south parts of Georgia, to procure, by open boats, if possible, rice and corn. If I succeed, we shall be able to let the Virginia command have a further supply sometime hence. It may possibly be a very essential thing to lay up here a very large magazine, for the Troops, of provisions; I think this might be managed if you have any such view. Should I succeed in the plan I am forming, to establish an intercourse of private trade for provisions, with Georgia, be so good as to let me have your Excellency' s sentiments on the subject. Whatever you require of me, you may rely shall be done with the utmost care.

An Indian of note, the Cussite√° King' s brother, who came from the Creek Nation with a talk of friendship, on his return with a trader, who lives in the nation, was waylaid by some of the Georgia rebels. They took from them a present of powder and ball. I sent to some of the headmen of the nation, who are soon to be here on a visit to me. The trader, I hear, they have sent to prison; the Indian is gone to the nation. The Superintendent fears this robbery will make the Creeks attack Georgia, but I am sure they will see me before they take any such measure.

Your Excellency will allow me to suppose that some very weighty reasons must exist why a communication be not fixed with all His Majesty' s Governours in America; a thing so easy to be done, by a few of His Majesty' s cutters, schooners, or sloops, that I wonder very much it be not done.

I imagined Major Furlong would have taken six months' provisions, but he has not taken any such proportion.

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