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Orange County (Virginia) Commitee



March 27, 1775.

The Committee of Orange County being informed that the Reverend Mr˙ John Wingate had in his possession several pamphlets containing very obnoxious reflections on the Continental Congress and their proceedings, and calculated to impose on the unwary; and being desirous to manifest their contempt and resentment of such writings and their authors, assembled on Saturday, the 25th of March, 1775, at the Court-House of the said County. The Committee were the rather induced to meet for this purpose, as it had also been reported that there were a considerable number of these performances in the Country,


introduced amongst us in all probability to promote the infamous ends for which they were written; that they were to be sold indiscriminately at Purdie' s office in Williamsburgh, and that unfavourable impressions had been made on some people' s minds by the confident assertions of falsehoods and insidous misrepresentations of facts contained in them. The intentions of the Committee were made known to Mr˙ Wingate, and a delivery of the pamphlets requested in the most respectful manner, without the least suspicion that Mr˙ Wingate had procured them with a design to make an ill use of them, or that he would hesitate a moment as to a compliance; but, to their great surprise, he absolutely refused, urging that they belonged to Mr˙ Henry Mitchell, of Fredericksburgh, and he could do nothing without his express permission. The Committee then proceeded to expostulate with him on the subject, and to insist upon him that, as he regarded his association-engagements, the favour of the Committee, or the good of the publick, he would not deny so reasonable a request. They told him they would engage to make ample satisfaction to Mr˙ Mitchell for any damage he might sustain, and that, there could not be the least reason to fear that Mr˙ Mitchell would be displeased, who was well known to be an associator, and acknowledged by himself to be a hearty friend to the cause, which these pamphlets, were intended to disparage and counteract; and that if Mr˙ Mitchell was not this hearty friend we hoped, him to be, it must be an additional argument for the Committee to press their request, and for him to comply with it. Mr˙ Wingate still persisted in his refusal to, deliver them up, but added that he would let the Committee have a sight of them, if they would promise to return them unhurt. This could by no means be agreed to as they were justly apprehensive that it would be their duty to dispose of the pamphlets in a manner inconsistent with such a promise. At length the Committee, finding there was no prospect of working on Mr˙ Wingate by arguments or entreaties, peremptorily demanded the pamphlets, with a determination not to be defeated in their intentions. In consequence of which they were produced to the Committee, who deferred the full examination and final disposal of them till the Monday following.

On Monday, the 27th instant, they again met at the same place., according to adjournment, and after a sufficient inquiry into the contents of five pamphlets under the following titles, viz: 1st, "The Congress Canvassed, &c˙," by A˙ W˙ Farmer; 2d, "A View of the Controversy between Great Britain and her Colonies," by the same; 3d, "Free Thoughts on the Proceedings of the Continental, Congress, &c˙" by A Farmer; 4th, "Short Advice to the Counties of New-York," by A Country Gentleman; 5th, "An Alarm to the Legislature of the Province of New-York, &c˙;" most of them printed by Rivington, of New-York:

Resolved, That as a collection of the most audacious insults on that august body (the grand Continental Congress) and their proceedings, and also on the several Colonies from which they were deputed, particularly New-England and Virginia, of the most slavish doctrines of Provincial Government, the most impudent falsehoods and malicious artifices to excite divisions among the friends of America, they deserved to be publickly burnt, as a testimony of the Committee' s detestation and abhorrence of the writers and their principles.

Which sentence was speedily executed in the presence of the Independent Company and other respectable inhabitants of the said County, all of whom joined in expressing a noble indignation against such execrable publications, and their ardent wishes for an opportunity of inflicting on the authors, publishers, and their abetters, the punishment due to their insufferable arrogance and atrocious crimes.

Published by order of the Committee: