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John Scott to Matthew Tilghman



George-Town, Frederick County, October 9, 1776.

SIR: Permit me through you to address myself to your honourable House for permission to pass some time among my friends in Virginia; or, if the House can be induced so far to relax from their sentence, to permit me to remain there without any limitation of time, under the restraints which they have been pleased to lay me under, and which T have given bond with security to the President of the Council of Safety in the penalty of a thousand pounds sterling to observe. I beg, sir, that you will lay me with all humility before the House, with an assurance that I would have addressed them in the first instance either by petition or through you; but unacquainted as I am with bonds and the forfeitures of them, did not know but it might be going beyond the line of my engagements.

My principal reasons for desiring to go to Virginia, are, that I have many near and dear relations there. My fortune, little as it is, lays chiefly in that country, and having lost my living, which has hitherto been my chief support, I wish, by my industry, to do something for the subsistence of my family, which I cannot possibly do while confined to Frederick County. I have also, sir, the assurance of several gentlemen of no inconsiderable rank and weight in my native country, that my residence among them will not only give no offence, but that they will even solicit this House, if necessary, for my enlargement. That my situation is a most unhappy one, those acquainted with the human heart will readily conceive, and if my sufferings can be alleviated without any injury to the publick weal, I flatter myself humanity will plead powerfully in my favour. To be held up to the world as an enemy to my native land; to be deprived of my living, in which the laws of my country had taught me to believe I had a permanent estate, must sink deep into the heart of a man less attached to worldly affairs than I profess to be. But the voice of the Representatives of the State has pronounced the sentence, and I must submit to my fate, yet conscious as I am of having never harboured one thought injurious to the rights of mankind.

I cannot but hope your honourable House will remit my too rigorous sentence, and permit me to try my fate in some other land, where, if my inclinations lead me, which I call God to witness they never have done, it will be out of my power to hurt this country. If not for my own, for the sake of those innocents who have me alone to look up to for protection and support, I hope I may gain thus much at your hands, more especially as the common rights of mankind are yet preserved inviolate in the State of Maryland, give me some grounds for the hope.

I have the honour to be, with the greatest respect, sir, your most obedient and very humble servant,


To the Hon˙ Matthew Tilghman, Esq.