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The Instructions to Captain Samuel Smith, for the arrest of Governour Eden, declared by Mr. Purviance to have been given by himself, without consulting any member of the Committee


At a special meeting of the Committee, April 20, 1776:

Present: William Lux, Chairman pro tempers, William Buchanan, Thomas Harrison, James Calhoun, Benjamin Griffith, John Smith, John Boyd, John Merryman, Jun.


The Committee being informed that certain Instructions were given by Mr˙ Samuel Purviance, as Chiarman, to Captain Samuel Smith, which did not appear on their Minutes, they sent for Captain Smith, and requested him to attend the Committee, with the Instructions he had received.

He accordingly attended, and produced them, and they are as follows:

"To Captain SAMUEL SMITH: "April 14, 1776.

"SIR: You are requested by the gentlemen of the Committee to proceed in Captain Nicholson' s tender, with any officer he may send to assist you, and such a number of armed men as may be necessary, and therewith proceed, as speedily as possible, for Annapolis. Should you, before you get there, meet the Governour' s boat or barge, you must by all means endeavour to board her, and, in case Governour Eden, his Secretary, Mr˙ Smith, or Mr˙ Alexander Ross, are found on board, you are by all means to seize their persons and papers, and instantly return with them, under the strictest guard, to Baltimore. For doing which you may depend upon being justified and protected by the Committee, and held blameless. In case you should not meet such boat or persons, you will please to proceed immediately to Annapolis, and use every precaution to prevent alarm by obliging the men not to appear in numbers on deck, and causing the boat to lie at a distance, while you go on shore with the letter delivered you for the gentlemen of the Baltimore Committee who may be at Annapolis, whose direction you will please to follow after your arrival there. You will please to take blunderbusses, and any quantity you see necessary of arms, out of Captain Nicholson' s vessel, which he will readily furnish. Please to consult, in all things, with the officer which Captain Nicholson sends with you, and let your measures be kept as secret as possible from the men, at least until it comes to the execution.

"I am, on behalf of the Committee, sir, your humble servant,

"SAMUEL PURVIANCE, Jun˙, Chairman.

The Committee then inquired of all the Members present whether either of them had concurred in said Instructions, and, on each of their declaration that they had not, they sent for Mr˙ Purviance, and desired he would inform them what number of the Members of the Committee were present when the said Instructions were given, and that he would give his answer in writing.

Mr˙ Purviance accordingly came to the Committee, and verbally declared that he had not consulted any one person of the Committee upon the occasion, but that he had given the said Instructions himself; that he exculpated the Committee from all censure on that account, and that he would give his answer in writing, to that effect, on Monday morning.

Attested: GEORGE LUX, Secretary.