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Address to Friends and Countrymen by a Virginian


Williamsburgh, Virgina, June 22, 1775.

Friends and Countrymen:

Th British Ministry, with unrelenting rigour, continue to persecute the brave Americans. Every device that malevolence could suggest, they adopt to divide the Colonies who now groan under the rod of tyranny. You are not strangers to the bill which has lately obtained the Royal assent, for restraining the New-England Fishery, whose chief support depends on that beneficial trade; nor the exemption of the Island of Nantucket, which lies about thirty miles from the Massachusetts; an island extremely well calculated to refresh the British fishing vessels, and thereby enable them to rob us of all the advantage arising from that useful commerce. That island has never acceded to the grand American Association, so highly necessary at this important hour for baffling the insidious projects of Bute, North, and Mansfield, with their disgraceful advocates, who are traitors to the British Constitution, and inimical to the rights of mankind.

The noble champions of freedom, the General Congress, recommend to all the friends of America to exert the greatest vigilance to prevent the people of Nantucket from purchasing provisions or necessaries of any kind, except from their neighbours, the people of the Massachusetts,


and not more of them than are really sufficient for the inhabitants of the island. Notwithstanding, my countrymen, the General Congress, in September last, resolved we should not have any commercial intercourse with any American who would not approve of that General Association, two vessels from the Island of Nantucket have lately entered within our capes to carry provisions and coal to those foes to American liberty. With propriety, I conceive they merit that appellation, as they never acceded to the resolves of the Congress. One is a large schooner called the Diana, of one hundred tons, commanded by Captain Forgers, which is gone up the Bay of Chesapeake to load with Indian corn. The other is in James River, and I think a schooner of fifty tons, named the Little John, Joshua Bunker, master; the captain of which applied to one of our Representatives for a load of coal, who absolutely refused to sell him one bushel, nobly resolving to sacrifice his private interest whenever it clashes with the liberties of America. Such is the unanimity in this Colony, that I think my countrymen will convince the Island of Nantucket, and the venal wretches of Ministry, that neither money nor menaces, with every invention their tortured imagination may pursue, shall ever induce us to infringe the resolves of that august assembly, or deviate from the cause of America.

I am, with great sincerity, your friend and well-wisher,