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Robert Hanna and Others to Governour Penn



Pittsburgh, May 23, 1775.

MAY IT PLEASE YOUR HONOUR: Messrs, Hanna and Cavet, who were apprehended and taken into custody the twenty-second of last February, as you have been already informed by despatches forwarded to you by them immediately for that purpose; and we are sorry to find that they have not as yet received any reply to their letters on that subject, although they are now upwards of three months confined to prison bounds at this place, to the great prejudice of their persons and families, by pretended authority from the Government of Virginia, which did, and still continues to tyrannize over this unhappy part of your Province, but more especially over us, who beg leave to address your Honour on this pressing occasion, for we are aimed at in a particular manner as the objects of their resentment, therefore are doomed to utter ruin and destruction, if they by any means can accomplish their aim. They are not satisfied with imprisoning our persons, (of which every one of us has participated in turn,) but insult and domineer over us as well in open court as every where else opportunity serves. They have procured a number of litigious law suits, entered against every one of us, for acting as Magistrates by authority from the Government of Pennsylvania, as well before, as since Lord Dunmore and his tools usurped the jurisdiction of this distressed part of the Province; the Militia continuing to kill our cattle and hogs, just as it suits them, without any questions asked of the owners, or satisfaction offered.

They likewise take upon themselves to determine our title to lands, as well between this and Ligonier, as beyond this place, by a jury of twelve men of their own choosing, without allowing the defendant the privilege of objecting to any of that number; notwithstanding Magistrates of their own appointment could be procured on the ground to testify some of these select men were the sworn enemies of the defendants.

This was actually the case with Mr˙ Devereux Smith, the third instant, when Connolly in the like manner dispossessed him of a tract of land some miles eastward of this place, and declared it should be the property of one George Sly; and, in six days afterwards, the Sheriff broke open Mr˙ Smith' s door, and gave the said Sly possession. In short we are deemed and treated like degraded beings that are nowise entitled to the common right of mankind; and the very name of a Pennsylvanian is sufficient to render any man odious at this day now-a-days.

To conclude, we are worried out with repetitions of tyranny and oppression, and greatly injured in bodies, minds, and estates; in the meantime we are, with sincere attachments to your Honour' s person and Government, your Honour' s most humble and most devoted servants,


To John Penn, Esquire, Governour of the Province of Pennsylvania, &c.

P˙S. As we find ourselves so deeply engaged in lawsuits,


brought against us for acting as Magistrates, both before and since Lord Dunmore extended the jurisdiction this length, we were obliged to employ Mr˙ John Harvie to appear in our behalf in all the actions already brought on account of Government. We therefore humbly hope you will be pleased to honour a draft amounting to thirty Pounds, our money, drawn by us in favour of said Harvie on you; to be paid when it may come to hand, which will oblige us all.