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Colonel Corbin' s Mission to Lord Dunmore



Williamsburgh, March 1, 1776.

On Monday, the 19th February, the Honourable Richard Corbin, Esq˙, laid before the Committee of Safety a Letter he received from Lord Dunmore, in the words following:

"Ship Dunmore, Elizabeth River, January 22, 1776.

"SIR: Notwithstanding the many cruel and false invectives thrown out against me, as an enemy to this Colony; conscious to myself, however, of my firm attachment to this country, in general, and this Colony in particular, I am well convinced, (though the present rulers may have thought


it requisite, in support of their late adopted measures,) to represent me in the very opposite light to what they were pleased to do but a few months before: yet there is not one amongst them that ever viewed my conduct with an impartial eye, but is sensible that every transaction of my administration proceeded from a heart that never yet entertained a thought which was not meant for the real happiness and well-being of this Colony. This ever having been my first object, the very moment I received my despatches, last year, I called the Assembly, to lay before them the resolves of the House of Parliament, not doubting then but they would have been received, by every well-wisher to his country, with transports of joy. Now, having received His Majesty' s most gracious speech, I catch at it with the greatest pleasure. The last sentence it contains, wherein he says: ' It may be also proper to authorize persons so commissioned to restore such Province or Colony, so returning to its allegiance, to the free exercise of its trade and commerce, and to the same protection and security as if such Province or Colony had never revolted,' — I say, I catch, with the greatest avidity, at this generous, this humane, this truly noble sentiment, again to offer every exertion of my poor abilities to procure, by any means that shall be thought most advisable and honourable, permanent, speedy, and happy reconciliation between this Colony and its parent state. I wish to God they may reflect before they draw upon them the wrath of that powerful though merciful people, and by that means involve this once most happy land in all the horrors of a most destructive civil war; wherein, were they as successful as the most sanguine amongst them could wish, could only end in their inevitable destruction. What, then, have they to hope for, and what have they not to fear, by a perseverance in this most ruinous and unnatural contest? Should the rulers of the people prove as well disposed to return to their duty, as I know the bulk of the Colony are, they will embrace the favourable opportunity that now offers. But should they be so infatuated as to mean totally to throw off all allegiance to the best of sovereigns, and connections with the state that has fostered them with the most paternal care, their memories will be handed down to the latest posterities as most undutiful and ungrateful.

"Sir, a thorough conviction of your warm attachment to this your native land, and your admiration of that truly excellent Constitution and Government under which you have so long and happily lived, as well as your love for our most benign Sovereign, induces me to trouble you with the above tender of my services to this Colony. And I beg you will assure whomsoever you shall think proper to lay this before, of my willingness to undergo any fatigue or difficulty for the accomplishment of its happiness.

"I have now only to entreat, that my sincere endeavours to effect a reconciliation between this and the parent state may be enforced by every exertion of your best advice and assistance; and that both may succeed, is the ardent wish of, sir, your most obedient, humble servant,