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Natives of Great Britain, Inhabitants of the Colony


The Convention then, according to the Order of the Day, resolved itself into a Committee on the state of the Colony; and after some time spent therein, Mr˙ President resumed the chair, and Mr˙ Gary reported, that the Committee had, according to order, had under their consideration the state of the Colony, and had come to the following Resolution thereupon, which he read in his place, and afterwards, delivered in at the Clerk' s table, where the same was again twice read and agreed to as follows:

Whereas a Petition was preferred to the last Convention by sundry Merchants, as well in their own behalf as for others, natives of Great Britain and resident in this Colony, selling forth, amongst other things, that they being chiefly agents, factors, and persons, who from their youth had been bred up to and employed in commerce, and had not interfered with the civil institutions of the country; that they were very sensible the unhappy differences subsisting between the Parent State and her Colonies had given rise to distinctions to their prejudice amongst the natives of the country, and excited jealousies of them, which otherwise had never existed, although, as in the sincerity of their hearts they declared, that they held the people of this Colony in the highest estimation as friends and fellow-subjects; that, in war or peace, they would cheerfully


contribute with them to the exigencies of their common state; that in all internal commotions or insurrections they pledged their faith, at the risk of their lives and fortunes, jointly with their fellow-subjects of this Colony, to defend the country; and that, in case of an attack from the troops of Great-Britain, they would not aid in any manner, or communicate intelligence to them by letter or otherwise; that they wished not an exemption from the hardships and burdens in which the people of this country are exposed, from the civil contest subsisting with the Parent State, but were willing and ready to participate in all instances, except taking up arms against the people among whom they were born, and with whom, perhaps, they are connected by the nearest ties of consanguinity; that they entreated the impartial and favourable attention of the Convention to that circumstance, and begged that a line of conduct might be marked out, by which, in this dangerous crisis, they might move as useful members of the community, without being held to the necessity of shedding the blood of their countrymen, an act at which nature recoiled, and which every feeling of humanity forbid. Which Petition the said Convention immediately took under their most serious consideration, and although it appeared unequal that any particular set of men in a society should have the full enjoyment of all the benefits arising therein, and not bear an equal share of the dangers to which it might be exposed, yet the Convention, in hopes of satisfying the Petitioners and quieting their fears, resolved unanimously that the said Petition was reasonable, and recommended it to the Committees of the several Counties and Corporations, and others the good people of this Colony, to treat all such natives of Great Britain resident here, as did not shew themselves enemies to the common cause of America, with lenity and friendship; to protect all persons whatever in the just enjoyment of their civil rights and liberty; to discountenance all national reflections; to preserve, to the utmost of their power, internal peace and good order; and to promote union, harmony, and mutual good-will among all ranks of people.

And whereas, notwithstanding the favourable and kind disposition shown by the Convention and the natives of this Colony, and the extraordinary and unexampled indulgence by them held out to the natives of Great Britain, residing in this Colony, many of these have lately become strict adherents to the Lord Dunmore, and the most active promoters of all his cruel and arbitrary persecutions of the good people of this Colony, not only by violating the Continental Association, to which they had solemnly subscribed, in many the most flagrant instances-not only by giving intelligence to our enemies, and furnishing them with provisions, but by propagating, as well in Great Britain as this Colony, many of the most glaring falsehoods, to the great prejudice and dishonour of this country; and, moreover, many of these natives of Great Britain, instead of giving their assistance in suppressing insurrections, have, contrary to all faith solemnly plighted in their said Petition, excited our slaves to rebellion, and some of them have daringly led them in arms against our inhabitants: The Committee having these things in full proof, and considering their alarming and dangerous tendency, do give it as their opinion, and accordingly resolve, that the foregoing recited Resolution ought, from henceforth, to be totally abrogated and rescinded; that none of the freemen, inhabitants of this country, wherever born, ought to be exempted from any of the burdens or dangers to which the Colony is exposed, but that, as good citizens, it is incumbent on them to use every exertion of their powers and abilities in the common defence; and should any persons of ability decline or shrink from so necessary a duty to the community, that all such, except those who have taken up arms against our inhabitants, or show themselves inimical to us, may be permitted, under a license of the Committee of Safety, to leave the country.

The President laid before the Convention a Letter from Thomas Price and Thomas Smith, of the County of Isle-of-Wight; which was read, and ordered to lie on the table.

Resolved, That this Convention will, to-morrow, again resolve itself into a Committee, to take into their further consideration the state of the Colony.

Adjourned till to-morrow, half after ten o' clock.