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Worcester County (Massachusetts) Committee



In Committee Chamber, Worcester, November 18 1776

As expedients are no longer wise, prudent, and politick, than the reasons on which they are founded exist, and effects are reversed by a mutation of causes; as the demands of our country are continually variating, and the complexion of publick affairs incessantly altering; as our dangers and


our fears subside by the approach of the enemy, and their arts of division have produced unanimity; as the resolve of the State on the 8th of May, 1775, was a temporary provision, and has had its operation; as the resolution of our predecessors in office, disarming and consigning to this town a number of its inhabitants, was expressly to prevent their joining our avowed enemies, and to deprive them of the means of obstructing measures adopted for the common defence; as the suffering, servile, spurned attendance on a passing camp, the fate of parricides, who have joined the adversary, must deter all but the mad from repeating the experiment; and the recent epistolary lamentations of disappointed refugees extorts the poet' s cry, "Ye gods! if there be a man I hate, let attendance and dependance be his fate:" as this day' s spectacle of wretched deluded objects, the ruined exiled grovelings, spued out from a sister State, is a serious warning to persons sporting with the feelings of an whole continent, be they whom, where, or what they may, and the Worcester jail filled with the same engaging geniuses, will remain a standing memento of future dangers to the unfriendly; as the Congress for the continent have supposed that there were some from weakness deceived, others from apprehensions that British power was irresistible, frightened into opposition, and have recommended such as subjects for kindness, reason, and reformation; as the privilege of repenting is one of the most precious indulgences incident to erring mortals, and when attended with an amendment of principle and practice is happy for the man, useful to society, and pleasing to Heaven; as some of the suspected are loud in proclaiming their affection for their country, their grievances from a disarmed confinement, and their readiness for exertions in the general strangle; as early in the dispute, when the expediency of measures was the topick of the day, possibly a mere difference in opinion was the too slender grounds of some hasty suspicions, and a subsequent change of sentiment and conduct may have laid the foundations for forgiveness and friendship, which are equally Christian and political duties; as an Army potent enough to have made all Europe tremble and a fleet sufficiently fiery to have set the seas on flames, have been able in a summer' s campaign only to effect the possession of lines deserted from policy, a few evacuated towns, the retreat of a picket guard, and the rout of an advanced detachment, or a rambling party, by the weight ot solid columns and heavy artillery, the timorous and the doubting must have become courageous and resolved: As the disaffected from principle have not now to learn, from the enemy s not attacking our main Army, or effecting a progress into the country, from their hugging the borders of the ocean under the cover of their hostile arks, that the conquest of America is an event never to be expected: As under such circumstances, joining the regulars would be perpetual exile, poverty, slavery, and death, and cooperating with freemen, with Americans, would be rational manly, triumph, freedom, and glory: As the present single is bottomed on such principles as ought to make every rnan a party, and the limes is hastening when there can be no neuters no drones in the hives: As the restraining an Englishman to a single town is in derogation of common right, depriving him of his arms, an infraction on liberty and recording him a Tory, stamping him with infamy and cannot be justified but upon principles of publick uecessity: As a preparation for war is a duty enforced by the laws of our being, and the weapons of death are necessary for the preservation of our own and the lives of our neighbours that the deceiver and the deceived, the timorous and the obstinate, the dissembler and the undersigning the abusive and the well-meaning, the ambiguous and the honest, may all have a full, fair, and ample opportunity of giving full fair, and ample assurances of their friendship to independency, and their readiness to assist and join their country-men in opposition to both open and secret enemies: That the discontented may be disarmed of every objection that every barrier to their duty may he removed, and suitable encouragement tendered; and finally, as more effectual provision is made, and now making, both for the restraint and punishment of him who dares to be a dangerous man, and makes war upon the rights and interest of rising States,


either by avowed exertions or concealed machinations; and as no good reason can be given for continuing the mere existence of the resolve made by our predecessors aforesaid:

Therefore Resolved, That it is inexpedient that the resolution of the late Committee of this town, disarming and confining a number of its inhabitants, be any longer in force; that such persons once more be put upon a standing with the rest of their fellow-countrymen; that they be allowed the privileges of Englishmen, of friends to their country, of passing where and when they please; until they evidence by their conduct and behaviour a different character; and that such as have arms in the possession of the Committee may receive the same by making application to Mr˙ Baldwin, their Chairman.

2dly˙ Resolved, That it be recommended to all true, firm, and tried friends to their country, to endeavour to convince persons of every degree, character, and complexion, that the cause we are engaged in is of too much dignity to be sullied by rashness, too important, too seriously important, to be weakened by tumult, divisions, and party strife; that liberty receives strength and vigour from prudence and consideration; that justice, equity, regularity, and, in some instances, moderation are her closest friends; that she courts virtue as her bosom companion, and shuns vice as her dangerous enemy; and therefore equally avoiding feverish fits of political heat and cold, banishing from their breast all personal prejudices, private piques, narrow opinions, illiberal distinctions, and unbecoming jealousies; displaying a magnanimity proportional to the importance and danger of the struggle, cultivating harmony of sentiment and unanimity of councils; and carefully distinguishing between the friend and the foe; that it is wisdom (acting discreetly, firmly, unitedly, and spiritedly) to receive all such to their favour, friendship, and confidence, who will give ample and satisfactory assurances of their readiness to join in the defence of their much-injured country, and their steady persevering attachment to her glorious cause, at the same time to exercise a vigilant attention to those who continue notoriously in opposition; those who secretly influence under the principles of an affected neutrality, and those who may labour to conceal themselves under the despicable cloak of a cunning duplicity, if any such there be.

3rdly. Resolved, That it be recommended to the good people of this town that they use their utmost endeavours immediately to equip themselves with every implement of war, as the necessary means of defence from a foreign attack, or an internal insurrection.

Per order of the Committee of Correspondence, Inspection, and Safety, of Worcester.




* Vide the late letters from England.

†This day above one hundred Tories passed through this town under a military guard on their way to Exeter.