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Speech of the Governour to the Council and the House


Mr˙ SPEAKER: His Excellency is in the Council Chamber, and requires the immediate attendance of the House.

Whereupon, Mr˙ Speaker quitted the chair, and, with the House, went to wait upon the Governour; and being returned, Mr˙ Speaker resumed the chair, and reported that the House had waited on the Governour, who was pleased to make a Speech to the Council and this House, of which Mr˙ Speaker said he had, to prevent mistakes, obtained a copy. And the same, by order of the House, was read, and is as follows, viz:

Gentlemen of the Council, and Gentlemen of the Assembly:

I have called this meeting that you might have an opportunity of transacting such business as the publick exigencies of the Province require.

Having lately said so much to you concerning the present unhappy situation of publick affairs, and the destructive measures which have been adopted in the Colonies, under the pretence of necessity; and as I do not yet see that the urging any more arguments on that head has a chance of producing any good effect, I shall not endanger the harmony of the present session by a further discussion of the subject.

It is necessary, however, that you should be informed, "that His Majesty laments to find his subjects in America so lost to their own true interests as neither to accept the Resolution of the House of Commons of the 20th of February, nor make it the basis of a negotiation, when, in all probability, it would have led to some plan of accommodation; and that, as they have preferred engaging in a rebellion which menaces to overthrow the Constitution, it becomes His Majesty' s duty, and is his firm resolution, that the most vigorous efforts should be made, both by sea and land, to reduce his rebellious subjects to obedience, But it is hoped that, unfavourable as the prospects are at present, the time will come when men of sense and friends to peace and good order will see the fatal consequences of the delusions which have led to the measures the people


of America are now pursuing, and that we may yet see the publick tranquillity re-established, on the, ground of the terms held out by His Majesty and the Parliament."

It is likewise proper that you should know "that the Commanders of His Majesty' s Squadrons in America have orders to proceed, as in the case of a Town in actual rebellion, against such of the seaport Towns and places, being accessible to the King' s Ships, as shall offer any violence to the King' s Officers, or in which any Troops shall be raised or military works erected, other than by His Majesty' s authority, or any attempts made to seize or plunder any publick magazine of Arms or Ammunition."

Although the King' s Officers in this Province have not as yet, except in one or two instances, met with any insults or improper treatment from any of the inhabitants, yet such has been the general infatuation and disorder of the times, that had I followed the judgment and advice of some of my best friends, I should ere this have sought (as other of the King' s Governours have done) an asylum on board of one of His Majesty' s Ships; but as I am conscious that I have the true interest and welfare of the people at heart, (though I am so unhappy as to differ widely in opinion with their Representatiyes, respecting the best means of serving them in the present crisis,) I shall continue my confidence in that affection and regard which I have on so many occasions experienced from all ranks, during my residence in this Colony. I have indeed the stronger inducement to run this risk, and to use my influence with the other Crown Officers to do the same, because our retreat would necessarily be attributed to either the effect or well grounded apprehension of violence, and of course subject the Colony to be more immediately considered as in actual rebellion, and be productive of mischiefs which it is my earnest inclination and determination to prevent, as far as may be in my power. Let me therefore, gentlemen, entreat you to exert your influence likewise with the people, that they may not, by any action of theirs, give cause for the bringing such calamities on the Province. No advantage can possibly result from the seizing, confinement, or ill treatment of officers, adequate to the certain damage such acts of violence must occasion the Province to suffer.

However, gentlemen, if you should be of a different opinion, and will not or cannot answer for our safety, all I ask is, that you will tell me so in such plain, open language as cannot be misunderstood; for as sentiments of independency are, by some men of present consequence, openly avowed, and essays are already appearing in the publick papers to ridicule the people' s fears of that horrid measure, and remove their aversion to Republican Government, it is high time that every man should know what he has to expect. If, as I hope, you have an abhorrence of such design, you will do your Country an essential service by declaring it in so full and explicit terms as may discourage the attempt. You may always rely on finding me ready to co-operate with you in every proper expedient for promoting peace, order, and good Government; and I shall deem it a particular happiness to have an opportunity of being instrumental in saving this Province from the present impending danger.


Council Chamber, November 16, 1775.

Ordered, That his Excellency' s Speech be read a second time.

The House adjourned till ten o' clock, to-morrow morning.

Friday, November 17, 1775.