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Governour submits a Letter from Lord Dunmore


The Governor this day received the following letter from Lord Dunmore, Governor of Virginia, by express, in answer to his Honor' s letter of the 31st of January:

Sir: I have been favoured with your letter of the 31st January, 1774, and duplicate of the same, the occasion of which having been the appointment of certain officers by me in a remote district of the county of Augusta, in this Colony, which includes Pittsburg, which having been done, as is always my rule, with the advice of his Majesty' s Council, I could not, till I had an opportunity of laying your letter before them return you an answer, and it is not till now that I am enabled so to do. From the opinion, therefore, of his Majesty' s Council of this Colony, I must inform you, that although the calculations on which you rely in the plan accompanying your letter, may possibly be found exact, yet they can by no means be considered, by us, as the observation, on which they were founded, was


made without the participation of this Government, or the assistance of any person on the part of the Crown; and even if they were admitted, we apprehend they would decide nothing in the present case; for the right of the Proprietaries of Pennsylvania to the country about Pittsburg, must be founded on better authority than is there adduced to make it valid, and we are strengthened in this opinion by the principles you yourselves adopt, and the opinion of Lord Camden, which you have produced in your dispute with Connecticut. With respect to the right of this Colony to that country, the transactions of the late war show sufficiently what was ever the sense of the Government of Virginia with regard to it. And it seems to me that the step which I have taken ought not to have been either unexpected or surprising, as you are pleased to say it was to you, when it is well known that formal declarations were made by the Assembly of Pennsylvania, that Pittsburg was not within the jurisdiction of that Government at the time that requisitions were made to them for the defence of that place, the burden of which, on that account, fell on this Government.

In conformity to these sentiments you will easily see I cannot possibly, in compliance with your request, either


revoke the commissions and appointments already made, or defer the opportunity of such other officers as I may find necessary for the good government of that part of the country, which we cannot but consider to be within the dominion of Virginia, until his Majesty shall declare the contrary; and I flatter myself I can rely so far on the prudence and discretion of the officers whom I have appointed, that the measure which I have pursued may have no tendency to raise disturbances in your Province, as you seem to apprehend, and if any should ensue I cannot but believe they will be occasioned, on the contrary, by the violent proceedings of your officers; in which opinion I am justified by what has already taken place in the irregular commitment of Mr˙ John Conolly for acting under my authority, which, however, as I must suppose, it was entirely without your participation, I conclude he is before this time released. But, nevertheless, the act having been of so outrageous a nature, and of a tendency so detrimental to both Colonies, that, with the advice of his Majesty' s Council of this dominion, I do insist upon the most ample reparation being made for so great an insult on the authority of his Majesty' s Government of Virginia; and no less can possibly be admitted than the dismission of the


clerk (St˙Clair) of Westmoreland county, who had the audacity, without any authority, to commit a Magistrate in the legal discharge of his trust, unless he (St˙ Clair) can prevail, by proper submission, on Mr˙ Conolly, to demand his pardon of me. I am, sir, your most obedient humble servant,

John Penn, Esquire.