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The New-Hampshire to The Continental Congress



[Received and read before Congress June 2, 1775.]

Exeter, May 23, 1775.

HONOURABLE GENTLEMEN: British America being betrusted to your wisdom, the proposal of those plans, by which, as by a pole star, it may steer in the tempest occasioned by the arrogant claims, the haughty threats, and unnatural attacks of the British Ministry, it is reasonable for you to expect, and for each Colony to choose, that whatever important step is taken by any of the Colonies, the consequence of which reaches the whole, you should receive the earliest authentick intelligence of the measure itself, together with the facts and motives leading to it, that it may be either diverted, forwarded, or ripened, so as to harmonize with whatever extensive plan the great Fountain of wisdom, and Friend of justice shall inspire the guardians of our common rights.

Long has America mourned to find those she wishes to revere, adopting one plan after another to strip her of the blessings of freedom, deaf to all her pleas for justice.

The counsels of America, united in that illustrious body, the late Continental Congress, we hoped, that, by denying ourselves, we should scatter the mists which hid the path of justice from the eye of Britain; but with pain we have learned that firmness is insolence, and that the most calm resolution to be free is treason in the new Ministerial language.

In spite of the gathering storm, we yet resolved, if possible, to avoid the last retreat of the injured — an appeal to God by the sword; but at length plain and pressing facts constrain us to believe that our enemies mean to deny us every other; though, to our view, the thought is shaded deep in horrours.

Not long since the alarm sounded through this Colony, that the insidious foe, though continually speaking of peace, had begun a scene of bloodshed and devastation on the lives and property of our brethren in the Massachusetts.

Listening only to calls of humanity, without waiting for consultations, with all the speed of common interest and friendship, we generally run to their aid; but we come to


be only witnesses, as yet, of the scenes of pillage and of slaughter, perpetrated by the sons of violence. The enemy were retreated. Our situation obliged us to return, not to neglect the cause, but that we might prosecute, by united and consistent counsels, with steady firmness.

As soon as convenience would allow, being directed by our brethren of this Colony to act for them in the present exigence, which seems not to allow time for consulting America at large, feeling for ourselves, our friends, and our Country, we have determined to exert our utmost efforts in defence of the common cause of America, and for the present have resolved to raise the number of two thousand men, (including officers,) to be employed as occasion shall require, under the regulation of this Convention, until we have the advice of the Continental Congress, to whose superintendence we choose to submit. We have, in consequence, engaged to provide for the pay of the above number, until the last day of December next.

We beg leave to suggest that this will, of course, introduce a vast expense. We will not conceal that the circulating cash in this Province is very small, in but a trifling proportion, as we suppose, to the necessary demand on this occasion. We ask the advice and assistance of the Congress with regard to the best method of carrying the above vote into execution. We desire to have the benefit of some general plan for bills of credit, or that we may act with the advice of the Congress in issuing such ourselves; or that we may be pointed to such other methods as shall appear just and equal, in apportioning the expense of the common cause.

Although we ardently wish that, if possible, a connection may yet be preserved between Great Britain and these Colonies, founded on the invariable principles of justice, and the general principles of the British Constitution, yet we are entirely disposed to respect, and willing to submit to any plan of further uniting the Colonies, for the purpose of common security and defence.

We will not conceal that many among us are disposed to conclude, that the voice of God and Nature, to us, since the late hostile design and conduct of Great Britain, is, that we are bound to look to our whole political affairs.

We have not yet largely and fully consulted with one another on this article, but have only acted with the single view of the plain necessity of certain steps to be taken, to secure us from the ruin which the British Ministry have prepared for us. We trust we shall keep this alone in view until we hear the united plan of the Colonies in the General Council, which we pray and trust may be under the influence of Heaven.

By order of the Convention of the Colony of New-Hampshire.

I am, gentlemen, your most humble servant,


To the Honourable Members of the Congress now sitting in the City of Philadelphia.