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Letter from Governour Wentworth to the Earl of Dartmouth



At an adjournment of a Town Meeting in Portsmouth, in October last, fifty-two voters reconsidered a vote of fifty-six voters in a previous meeting, "not to grant the Town Moneys for a donation to Boston; but that a voluntary subscription be opened for that purpose." This lesser number granted two hundred Pounds Proclamation-Money, which is near four times their Province Tax.

They also proceeded to choose a Committee of forty-five persons, chiefly out of the number then present, who style themselves "a Committee of Ways and Means." I hear one-half the number refused to act. The remainder convened together, and prevailed on Mr˙ Wentworth, an old gentleman of seventy-eight years, and lately extremely impaired by frequent epileptick fits, to be their Chairman. General Gage having desired me to furnish some Carpenters to build and prepare Quarters for his Majesty' s Troops in Boston, the Carpenters there being withdrawn, and the service much distressed, I immediately engaged and sent him a party of able men, which arrived to the General and are very useful. However, this Committee considered it as very obnoxious, and chose a Sub-committee from among their acting members to draw up Resolves relative to this matter, which I am informed they did, and were accordingly published in the enclosed New-Hampshire Gazette, No˙ 940, which excited the designed madness through the interiour parts of the Province, and solely gave rise to the proceedings at Rochester, as published in the Gazette, No˙ 942, herewith transmitted. Indeed, had not the Rochester Committee acted with great prudence, and consented to call Mr˙ Austin before them, it is greatly to be apprehended very essential outrages would have been committed on his estate, and his person endangered through the violence of a deluded populace. From these motives only were those three gentlemen in Rochester prevailed on to act in a business the whole of which they publickly disapproved, but had not power to suppress. During these agitations Captain Holland, by desire of Brigadier General Robinson, had purchased some Blankets for the Army. The Committee forbade him to ship any, and he immediately sent them all to my house for safety, whence I directly shipped them for Boston, and they are safely delivered.

In the Counties of Hillsborough and Cheshire I have heard there have been several reprehensible violences committed under popular pretences of liberty; hitherto there has been no complaints made to me, nevertheless I took such measures, that, I am informed by the Magistrates of


those Counties, the difficulties begin to subside. But I cannot flatter myself with any reasonable hopes of the legal establishment of the powers of Government in this Province, until they are effectually restored in the Massachusetts Bay. I have been successful in prevailing on Soldiers deserted from the King' s Troops at Boston, to return to their duty, through the spirited and prudent activity of Major Thompson, a Militia Officer of New-Hampshire, whose management, the General writes me, promises further success. The Town of Exeter have followed the example of Portsmouth, and granted one hundred Pounds to Boston, and I apprehend many other Towns will do the like.