« ZurückWeiter »
On the 21 of June they passed the following resolve unanimously. “ Thoroughly convinced, that under our present distressed circumstances, we shall be justified before God and man, in resisting force by force, we do unite ourselves under every tie of religion, and honor, and associate as a band in the defence of our injured country, against every foe; hereby solemnly egaging that whenever our continental or provincial councils shall decree it necessary, we will go forth, and be ready to sacrifice our lives, and fortunes to secure her defence, and safety. This obligation to continue in full force until a reconciliation shall take place between Great-Britain and America, upon constitutional principles; an event which we most heartily desire. And we will hold all those persons inim: ical to the liberty of the colonies, who shall refuse to subscribe this association."
This resolve was cordially supported by the people. On the 5th this congress proceeded to raise two regiments of foot, and one regiment of rangers for the defence of the colony; and the language of the day was, “We will freely give up one half, or even the whole of our property, to secure our liberties.”
This congress assumed the reins of government for the colony ; issued an emission of bills of credit; received the resignation of the officers of the militia under the governors ; issued new ones, or made new appointments, as circumstances might require; and thus took the sword and the purse of the colony into their own hands.
During the session, the governor, Lord William Campbell, arrived, and was cordially received.
On the 21st congress waited upon the governor to explain the causes that had led to the measures they had adopted, and at the same time assured his excellency, “that no love of innovation, no desire to alter the constitution of government, no lust of independence had the least influ. ence on their counsels ; but that they had been impelled
to associate and take up arms, solely for the preservation, and in defence of their lives, liberties, and properties. They intreated his excellency to make such representation of the state of the colony and of their true motives, as to assure his majesty that he had no subjects who more sincerely desired to testify their loyalty and affection, or would more willingly devote their lives and fortunes to his real service.” His lordship received their assurances, and replied like a courtier, prudently declining to censure what he could not controul.
They next delegated their authority to the council of safety and general committee, and having recommended to them to give the covenant a very general circulation through the colony, and to notice particularly all who should refuse to subscribe*-they adjourned.
These spirited resolutions were entered into by SouthCarolina, when the whole colony could not muster 3000 pounds of powder. This did not abate, but rather in. creased their energies. The council of safety authorised an expedition to East-Florida in quest of powder, consisting of twelve adventurers, who sailed from Charlestown, and proceeded to St. Augustine, where they boarded a vessel defended by her crew, and twelve British grenadiers of the 14th regiment, took out 15,000 lbs. of powder, and returned in safety. This was an act worthy of the sons of liberty in South Carolina.
The spirits of the patriotic sons of liberty in North Carolina, took fire also at the tidings of the conflict at Lexington ; rallied round the standard of their bleeding country, and proceeded to organize their militia after the manner of the southern colony, to make a stand against the opposition of the adherents of Britain. 'Alarmed for the safety of his person and government, Governor Martin began to fortify his palace at Newbern, and to rally troops to the contest. This alarmed the committee of safety, and they assembled a force; scized the palace guns, and gave such an alarm to the governor, that he fled to Fort Johnston, on Cape Fear river; but being pursued by the sons of liberty under the command of Colonel Asbe, and again alarmed for his safety, the governor fled and took refuge on board the king's sloop of war, the Cruiser.
* Alloon-subscribers were publicly interdicted from all social intercourse with the subscribers. Several were confined to their own houses or plantations, as dangerous to society. I
Colonel Ashe followed up bis victory over the governor, and at dead of night entered the fort, set fire to the buildings, demolished its works, and razed it to its foundations, that it might never more become a refuge, or a strong hold for the minions of Britain. * The committee of Newbern still followed up the blow; denounced him as an enemy to the liberties of the country, and resolved “ that no person, or persons whatsoever, bave any intercourse, or correspondence with him, on pain of being deemed enemies to the liberties of America, and being treated accordingly.” This, at that day, was one of the severest punishments that men could be made to endure.
The same farce was acted over in Virginia ; the alarm given to Lord Dunmore, by Capt. Henry and his volunteers, when at Williamsburgh, led his Lordship to fortify his palace, with artillery, and put himself into garrison, from whence he denounced Capt. Henry by proclamation, and his followers, as rebels, and disturbers of the public peace. The Virginians, in their turn, in county meeting applauded Capt. Henry, and denounced the governor, as the disturber of the public peace; declared the purity, as well as loyalty of their motives ; their attachment to the king, and the constitution, &c. and in this state of things, dispatches arrived from England, designed to procure the approbation of the colony, for the conciliatory plan of Lord North, which has been noticed in its place.
The governor assembled the house of Burgesses to take into consideration the despatches; but the house met the governor by passing an act of censure upon his conduct, in attempting to secure the magazine, and appointed a committee to take that property into their special protection, and safe keeping ; which after much difficulty they effected.
The next day an alarm was spread at Williamsburgh, that Captain Collins of the Magdalen, was about to land a body of troops, and take possession of the city. The patriots assembled in arms, and were ready to defend their fires, and their altars; but when they learnt the situation, as well as disposition of his lordship, they retired peace. ably on board their ship.
The governor thus saw himself, as he supposed, deserted by both parties ; abandoned his palace, and retired with his lady and family on board the Fowey man of war, then lying at York Town ; and left a message, for the house of Burgesses, acquainting that honourable body, with the motives of personal safety that had compelled him to retire ; pressed them to proceed to business as usual; and assured them that he should continue to attend to the duties of his office, &c. This opened a correspondence between the parties, in which the house attempted to persuade his lordship to return to the palace, and pledged their honors for his personal safety ; but his lordship declined the pledge; all further correspondence ceased, and the house adjourned to October.
The people next proceeded to take the government into their own hands, by appointing a convention of delegates, who possessed the unlimited confidence of the people. This body when convened, resolved themselves into a committee of safety; and then proceeded to resolve that an armed force be raised immediately, and
embodied, suflicient for the defence and protection of the province.
Delaware still continued firm to the cause of liberty. Maryland met in convention at Annapolis, and resolved as follows:
“ We do unite in one band, and solemnly pledge our selves to each other, and to America, that we will, to the utmost of our power, support the present opposition carrying on, as well by arms, as by the continental as-, sociation, restraining our commerce. .
56 Resolved, That there be forty companies of minute men enrolled as soon as may be ; and that every able bodied effective freeman within this provionce, between 16 and 50, (clergymen of all denominations, practising physicians, the household of the governor, minute and artillery-men, and persons who from their religious principles cannot bear arms in any case, excepted,) as soon as may be, and at furtherest before the 15th of Septem-ber next, shall enroll himself in some company of mili. tia.”
They next resolved, that committees of observation and correspondence be chosen, and bills of credit be issued to the amount of 266,666 dollars, forthwith, for the use of the colony.
Pennsylvania, true to herself, and her country, ordered troops to be raised, armed, and clothed for the public service, throughout the colony, and even the Quakers united in the general preparation, for a vigorous defence of liberty and the laws.
The citizens of Philadelphia became seriously in earnest in guarding their city against an attack from the enemy, by obstructing the channel of their river by such chevauxde frise as will effectually resist the passage of large ships ; and by the construction of yun-boats, carrying one heavy.