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Letter from the Earl of Dartmouth to Lieutenant Governour Colden



Whitehall, September 10, 1774.

SIR: I have received your letters of the 6th July, and 2d August, Nos˙ 3 and 4, and have laid them before the King.

You certainly are right in thinking that it is your duty to transmit a particular account of all publick occurrences in the Province under your Government and will not fail to embrace every opportunity that offers of writing to me.

The King has seen with concern that his subjects in the different Colonies in North America, have been induced upon the grounds stated in their different Resolutions, to nominate Deputies to meet in general Congress at Philadelphia.

If the object of this Congress be humbly to represent to the King any grievances they may have to complain of, or any propositions they may have to make on the present state of America, such representations would certainly have


come from each Colony with greater weight, in its separate capacity, than in a channel of the propriety and legality of which there may be much doubt.

I fear, however, the measure has gone too far to encourage any hope that it has been retracted: and I can only express my wish that the result of their proceedings may be such as may not cut off all hope of that union with the mother country which is so essential to the happiness of both.

Among the many objects that will deserve your attention in the present state of America, the contraband trade carried on between New-York and Holland is not the least important. The number of vessels that continually load in Holland for that Province is a melancholy evidence of the extent of that illicit commerce; and it is more particularly alarming now, from the intelligence received of very large quantities of gunpowder shipped there for New-York.

My information says that the Polly, Captain Benjamin Broadhelp, bound from Amsterdam to Nantucket has, among other articles, received on board no less a quantity than three hundred thousand pounds weight of gunpowder; and I have great reason to believe that considerable quantities of that commodity, as well as other military stores, are introduced into the Colonies from Holland, through the channel of St˙ Eustatia.

You will therefore, sir, with as much secrecy and prudence as possible, endeavour to inform yourself of the nature and extent of this contraband trade in general; and to attend particularly to the intelligence I now send you with respect to the ship Polly, Captain Benjamin Broadhelp.

It is most probable, that the object of her voyage will be completed before this reaches you; but if any measures can be fallen upon that may lead to a discovery of the circumstances above stated, it will be of great use, and may possibly suggest a means of putting a stop to so dangerous a correspondence. I am, sir, your most obedient humble servant,


Lieutenant Governour Colden.