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Captain Macartney to the Mayor of Norfolk, Virginia



His Majesty' s Ship Mercury, Norfolk, August 12, 1775.

SIR: I am just informed by his Excellency Lord Dunmore, that Mr˙ Andrew Sprowle has received a summons to attend a Committee in Norfolk, on Thursday next. The accusations alleged against him are of a most extraordinary nature. In the summons he is charged with having harboured His Majesty' s Troops in the stores at Gosport. I am not surprised that a summons grounded on such accusations should be alarming to Mr˙ Sprowle, particularly after the cruel and oppressive treatment Mr˙ Schaw lately received from a mob in Norfolk.

As I do most earnestly wish, and shall, upon all occasions, endeavour to promote the publick peace of this Province, I think it necessary to explain to you, as Chief Magistrate of the Town of Norfolk, the conduct I mean to pursue, in hope of preserving that peace and obedience


to the laws so ardently to be wished for by all loyal subjects and good citizens. I am sent hither to be the guardian of a British Colony; to protect His Majesty' s Governour, and all the loyal subjects in the Province of Virginia. This is my duty, and should wish it to be known that my duty and inclination go hand in hand. The same principles which have induced me not to harbour the slaves of any individual in this Province, will operate with me to protect the property of all loyal subjects. As I have before observed that I shall endeavour to promote the publick peace of this Province, it is hardly necessary to mention that I shall not remain an idle spectator, should any violence be offered to the persons or property of any of His Majesty' s subjects.

I have reason to apprehend, that many gentlemen in this Province, from their connexions with Government, or their readiness to supply His Majesty' s ships or servants with provisions, stores, &c˙, are held up as objects inimical to the liberties of America, and unjustly censured for their loyal conduct. Men under these circumstances are more particularly entitled to my protection. I have not the least doubt, from your desire and readiness upon a former occasion to preserve harmony in the Town of Norfolk, but you will heartily concur with me in my endeavours to suppress all parly jealousies and animosities, so highly injurious to the welfare of a country. More effectually to perform my part, I shall, the first opportunity, place His Majesty' s Ship under my command, abreast of the Town; and I must assure you, that notwithstanding I shall feel the utmost pain and reluctance in being compelled to use violent measures to preserve the persons and properties of His Majesty' s subjects, yet I most assuredly shall, if it becomes necessary, use the most coercive measures in my power to suppress all unlawful combinations and persecutions within the Province of Virginia.

I am, Sir, your most obedient humble servant,


To Paul Loyal, Esq˙, Mayor of the Town of Norfolk, Va.