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William Hooper to Samuel John Johnston, in North Carolina



Philadelphia, May 23, 1775.

DEAR JOHNSTON: The close attention which I am compelled to pay to the business of the Congress, scarce gives me an opportunity to pay my duty to my friends. As we meet at nine A˙M˙ and sit till four P˙M˙, you will readily conceive that the little leisure we have is not sufficient for the common functions of life and exercise to keep us in health. While I am writing I encroach upon Congress hours, and if I could furnish you with any thing interesting it might be some apology for the transgression. But the strict secrecy which is enjoined upon the members, leaves us at large to communicate nothing worthy attention that happens within the walls of the State-House. Let it suffice, that the most perfect harmony subsists among the members.

The character of the New-Yorkers is no longer suspicious. They take a forward and an active share in the opposition; all ranks of people among them are embarked in the common cause, and are sacredly resolved to preserve the cargo or perish with the ship. The few Tories among them are silent; the cry of liberty is irresistible. The ˙ ˙ ˙ , who are never happy except when dabbling in faction, have met a just reward for their misguided zeal, and have been compelled (six of them) to seek protection on board a King' s ship. Rivington follows their fortunes, and his printing shop, which forged calumny and sedition for the whole Continent, is shut up. New-York must now become, the seat of war. The taking of Ticonderoga will divert the attention of Government to that quarter, and the New-Yorkers will not long be suffered to be indifferent spectators of its operations. Believe me, I do not think they wish to be. Their City is filled with armed men, whom they have raised and disciplined, to be called into action when hostilities begun on the part of


Lord North' s troops shall render it necessary. Government has sent them the Asia, man-of-war, we suppose to protect their trade, or rather to give spirit to the Tories; but that day is past; they are sunk, never to rise again.

This City, has taken a deep share in the insurrection which is so generally diffused through the Continent. Men, women, and children feel the patriotick glow, and think every man in a state of reprobation beyond the power of heavenly mercy to forgive, who is not willing to meet death rather than concede a tittle of the Congress creed.

Quakerism has received a shock from which it will never recover. An attempt to restrain the other sects in their spirited conduct, has only shown the weakness of their efforts, and the insignificancy of their numbers, when in competition with those who think and act differently from them. The Testimony, to their eternal dishonour, accompanied with the proceedings of the New-York Assembly, gave encouragement to Administration to adopt the present compulsory measures, which, at this hour, we all lament; for certain it is, till those got to hand, the plan prepared by the Administration was conciliatory.

If it should be thought expedient to raise troops in each Colony, and money of course must be supplied, from whence must it come in our Province? Would the Provincial Convention think it prudent to emit for that purpose, or are not the circumstances such as to leave no alternative to their choice? Whether this, or what, will be recommended, is still in suspense. This, however, is certain, that it will be necessary that a Convention should be held immediately upon the return of the Delegates. I would, therefore, advise Mr˙ Harvey to warn the several Counties immediately to elect Representatives to sit in Convention, and I would propose that each County should send ten at least. This is consistent with the New-York policy, which thereby has given strength to the cause, by interesting so many in the protection of it. Every man, let his property be ever so small, has still his rights to preserve, and claims a share in the publick consultation, which must eventually affect him. Such a step with us would be prudent. The spirit wants more in North-Carolina, I think; perhaps you may think ten too many.

Hewes sends you the newspapers. Pray make my compliments acceptable to every branch of your worthy family. Remember me affectionately to Mr˙ Iredell. I refer you to James Charlston for every thing which is not related in the newspapers. Only let me add to the members of the Committees, that a resolve has passed the Congress, and ordered to be published, that no vessel shall be suffered to load for Newfoundland, St˙ John' s, or Nova-Scotia, to supply the British fisheries there, or any where else along the coast of America. This is much to be noticed; it is a just retaliation for restraining the American fishery.

Hewes orders me to Congress that he may have an opportunity to despatch his vessel; and as Caswell is indisposed I must obey, and thereby save your patience a further trial. I am your affectionate friend and obedient humble servant,