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State of Queen' s County and Richmond County further considered


The Congress then resumed the consideration of the state of Queen' s County and of Richmond County; and after some considerable time spent thereon, came to a determination and Resolutions, in the words following, to wit:

Whereas, on the 13th inst˙, on information that a number of disaffected persons in Queen' s County had been supplied with Arms and Ammunition from on board the Asia, ship-of-war, and had been arraying themselves in military manner to oppose the measures taken by the United Colonies for the defence of their just rights and privileges, and thrown out many threatening expressions against sundry persons residing in that and the neighbouring Counties, it was resolved by this Congress, as their opinion, that such conduct is inimical to the common cause of the United Colonies, and ought not by any means to be suffered, but that measures should be immediately taken to put a stop to it; and it was therefore ordered, that the inhabitants of the said County should appear by a Committee before this Congress on Wednesday then next, at ten o' clock in the morning, to give satisfaction in the premises; with which order the said inhabitants of Queen' s County have not complied: And whereas, the persons above-mentioned, and their adherents, have opposed the election of Representatives for that County in this Congress, on a poll opened for that purpose, whereby that County remains unrepresented in this Congress: And whereas, a prevailing party prevented the election of Delegates for the County of Richmond, at a late poll there opened for that purpose, by means whereof the said County is not represented in this Congress: And whereas, the poll-list for Queen' s County has been returned to this Congress, whereby the persons opposing such representation as aforesaid, and appearing to this Congress to be inimical to the interest of the United Colonies, may be ascertained:

Resolved, first, That such inimical persons as aforesaid, have been guilty of a breach of the General Association, and of an open contempt of the authority of this Congress, as effectually representing the majority of the inhabitants of this Colony.

Resolved, secondly. That the inhabitants of the County of Richmond, by neglecting to elect Representatives in this, Congress, have been guilty of a breach of the General Association.

Resolved, thirdly, That the Committee of the said County of Richmond do, and shall, within fifteen days after the publication hereof, return to this Congress, or the Committee of Safety, a list of the names of those who oppose a representation of the said County in this Congress, to the end that the delinquents against the common cause in that County may be ascertained; and that in default thereof the whole County of Richmond be deemed delinquent.

Resolved, fourthly. That the said delinquents in the said two Counties respectively, and each and every of them,


be, and hereby are, entirely put out of the protection of this Congress.

Resolved, fifthly, That all friendly and commercial intercourse between the said persons, so put respectively out of the protection of this Congress, and the other inhabitants of this Colony, ought to be, and the same, as far as can be effected by the recommendation of this Congress, hereby is, and shall continue to be, totally interdicted until further order of this Congress or the Committee of Safety, And to the end that no persons may plead ignorance of the aforegoing Resolves, and this Order,

It is Ordered, The same, together with a list of such delinquents as aforesaid, in each of the said Counties, be, without delay, respectively printed and dispersed in Handbills, and inserted in all the publick Newspapers of this Colony.

A draft of a Letter to the Delegates of this Colony at Continental Congress was read, and approved of, and is in the words following, to wit:

In Provincial Congress, New-York, December 21, 1775.

Ordered, That copies of the aforegoing Resolves and Orders be enclosed in the following Letter to the Delegates of this Colony in Continental Congress.

GENTLEMEN: We take the liberty to enclose to you a copy of our proceedings respecting the delinquents in Queen' s and Richmond Counties. We apprehend we have proceeded against them as far as a prudent regard to the present circumstances of the capital of this Colony, and the safety of the Colony in general, as far as it depends upon the security of its capital, will permit; and for this assertion we beg leave to suggest the following reasons, to wit:

1st. The power which the King' s ships have for destroying the property in this city.

2d. Our being almost utterly destitute of powder for a defence of the city, were it in other respects defensible against naval force.

3d. The great probability that an array of troops against the above-mentioned delinquents, by authority of this Congress, even were we sufficiently provided for the purpose with powder, would bring on a firing upon the city.

4th. We are now expediting vessels for the importation of powder, &c. This object, should it be known, would necessarily incense the Navy; we may lose, as well, the opportunity of supplying the inhabitants of this city with the necessaries of life, in a severe season, which necessaries it is well known, we are almost entirely supplied with by water.

If, in the judgment of the Continental Congress, the delinquents in the above-mentioned Counties ought to be further dealt with, we natter ourselves, that, however ready we are to sacrifice the property of this capital in the defence of the common rights of America, the above reasons, and such others as may occur to you, will have their weight with Congress, to shew the impropriety of employing any of the inhabitants of this Colony, and particularly of this city, in active service against the said delinquents, if others can be employed for the purpose. Their opposition to the common cause is of dangerous example, and therefore, ought, in our opinion, to be quelled, if by prudent means it can be done; for we have little reason to believe, that should they by any means be induced to send delegates to this Congress, their true characters would be no other than that of spies of our conduct.

We desire you to communicate this and the enclosed without delay, to the Continental Congress; and are, gentlemen, with great respect, their and your most obedient servants. By order.

To the Gentlemen in delegation for the Colony of New-York, in Continental Congress.

Ordered, That a copy thereof be engrossed, and signed by the President, pro tem˙, and transmitted.

Ordered, That in case the Continental Congress shall rise without having made any determination on the above subject, that the Committee of Safety be empowered, and in such case hereby is empowered, to write to the Committees of the neighbouring Colonies respectively, as the case may require, informing them of the inimical conduct of the inhabitants of the aforesaid Counties, to the security of the United Colonies, whereby they have forfeited the protection


of this Congress, and therefore, that the Committees aforesaid, be at liberty to take such measures with the enemies of America in those Counties, as they shall judge necessary to put it out of their power to assist our common enemy; provided, the innocent and helpless be not injured in life or property, nor the lives or property of the guilty unnecessarily or wantonly destroyed; and to this end that they enclose in said letter or letters a list of the delinquents.