Primary tabs

Extract of a Letter From the Committee of Tryon County, New-York, to Col. Guy Johnson



According to the example of the Counties in this and the neighbouring Colonies, the people of the District, we represent have met in a peaceable manner to consider of the present dispute with the Mother Country and the Colonies, signed a General Association, and appointed us a Committee to meet in order to consult the common safety of our rights and liberties, which are infringed in a most enormous manner, by enforcing oppressive and unconstitutional Acts of the British Parliament, by an armed force in the Massachusetts-Bay.

Was it any longer a doubt that we are oppressed by the Mother Country, and that it is the avowed design of the Ministers to enslave us, we might, perhaps, be induced to use argument to point out in what particulars we conceive that it is the birthright of English subjects to be exempted from all taxes, except those which are laid on them by their Representatives, and think we have a right, not only by the laws and Constitution of England, to meet for the purpose we have done. Which meeting we probably would have postponed awhile, had there been the least kind of probability that the Petition of the General Assembly would have been noticed more than the united petition of almost the whole Continent of America, by their Delegates in Congress; which, so far from being anywise complied with, was treated with superlative contempt by the Ministry, and fresh oppressions were, and are, daily heaped upon us. Upon which principles, principles which are undeniable, we have been appointed to consult methods to contribute what little lies in our power to save our devoted Country from ruin and devastation; which, with the assistance of Divine Providence, it is our fixed and determined resolution to do; and, if called upon, we shall be foremost in sharing the toil and danger of the field. We consider New-England suffering in the common cause, and commisserate their distressed situation; and we should be wanting in our duty to our Country and to ourselves, if we were any longer backward in announcing our determination to the world.

We know that some of the members of this Committee have been charged with compelling people to come into the measures which we have adopted, and with drinking treasonable toasts. But as we are convinced that these reports are false and malicious, spread by our enemies with the sole intent to lessen us in the esteem of the world, and as we are conscious of being guilty of no crime, and of having barely done our duty; we are entirely unconcerned as to any thing that is said of us, or can be done with us. We should, however, be careless of our character, did we not wish to detect the despicable wretch who could be so base as to charge us with things which we never have entertained the most distant thoughts of. We are not ignorant of the very great importance of your office, as Superintendent of the Indians, and, therefore, it is no more our duty than inclination to protect you in the discharge of the duty of your proper province, and we meet you with pleasure, in behalf of ourselves and our constituents, to thank you for meeting the Indians in the upper parts of the County, which may be the means of easing the people of the remainder of their fears on this account, and prevent the Indians committing irregularities on their way down to


Guy-Park. And we beg of you to use your endeavours with the Indians to dissuade them from interfering in the dispute with the Mother Country and the Colonies. We cannot think that, as you and your family possess very large estates in this County, you are unfavourable to American freedom, although you may differ with us in the mode of obtaining a redress of grievances. Permit us further to observe, that we cannot pass over in silence the interruption which the people of the Mohawk District met in their meeting; which, we are informed, was conducted in a peaceable manner; and the inhuman treatment of a man whose only crime was being faithful to his employers, and refusing to give an account of the receipt of certain papers to persons who had not the least colour of right to demand any thing of that kind. We assure you, that we are much concerned about it, as two important rights of English subjects are thereby infringed, to wit: a right to meet, and to obtain all the intelligence in their power.