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equal importance in my second letter, I will proceed in the succeeding ones to inquire into the justice of such complaints as have been made against the Assembly. In some instances, probably, these complaints may appear to be well founded. Where they are so, I shall be ready to confess it; and as perfection is not to be expected in the first hasty essays of any publick bodies, providing for new and unprecedented cases, I doubt not they will readily make such amendments as may appear necessary to themselves, or be suggested by reasonable men. In some instances, I shall show that they deserve publick thanks, for refusing to comply with some requisitions formerly made; and that others are now made, which they cannot assent to, without a manifest violation of our Constitution; such as blending the military and civil power, and giving Field-Officers, who may hold their places for life, the power of determining appeals, and discharging assessments, which is now safely lodged in the constitutional way, with Commissioners chosen by the People.
INHABITANTS OF WESTMORELAND (PENNSYLVANIA) TO PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
[Read March 12, 1776.Ordered to lie on the table.]
Westmoreland, March 8, 1776.
SIR: The inhabitants of this town being sensible of the blessings of liberty, and desirous of taking a share in defence thereof, by risking their lives and fortunes in the service of the honourable Continental Congress; it seems they could think of no better way of testifying their attachment to the common cause than by meeting together this day, and making choice of us as their officers; desiring, at the same time, we should apply immediately to the honourable Continental Congress for commissions, that we may be in readiness to march if your Honours call for us, at the shortest notice. If your Honours please to honour us with commissions, as the people were pleased to choose us their officers, we will use our utmost skill and ability, in conjunction with the other troops in the Continental service, to subdue the enemies of American liberty. We have, therefore, despatched Mr. William Stewart, with copies of the instrument to which we have subscribed, and bound ourselves by, with a list of the names of those who made choice of us, and by whom the honourable Congress will please to send such commissions, and instructions how to draw sustenance, money, clothes, and arms and ammunition for the men.
We are, sir, with due regard to truth, your Honours obliged humble servants,
To the Honourable John Hancock, Esq.
We certify that a company of men met together in Kingston District, in the Town of Westmoreland, on Susquehannah River, and in the Colony of Connecticut, and there chose Lieutenant Lazarus Steivart their Captain, Messrs. Timothy Smith, First Lieutenant, Dethick Heivit, Second Lieutenant, and Phineas Peirce, Ensign; and they have obliged themselves by an instrument in writing, to which they have signed their names, with the men who chose them officers, to march at the shortest notice, to any part that your Honours or honourable Assembly of the Colony of Connecticut, to which they belong, may direct, to defend the liberties and privileges of America; and do think them suitable persons to officiate in that station in which they have been chosen, and do accordingly recommend them to your Honours.
Given under our hands, this 8th day of March, 1776.
To the Honourable Continental Congress, at Philadelphia.
Westmoreland, March 6, 1776.
Whereas the inhabitants of this town have of late been invaded by a large number of Tories, which, by the blessing of God, we have repulsed, but, notwithstanding, are threatened with another invasion; and as we are also a frontier town, and liable to be attacked by the Indians, if a war should commence between them and us, we do think that it is our duty to be in readiness at an hours warning, if an invasion should happen, to engage our enemies, invaders, or intruders; and we, the undersigners, do freely and with cheerfulness engage in the common cause as soldiers in the defence of liberty, under the direction of the honourable Continental Congress, or Colony to which we belong; and do freely and of ourselves inlist to go with Timothy Smith and Lieutenant Lazarus Stewart, as officers over us; and we will submit ourselves to be ruled, governed, and ordered by them as officers, when they shall receive commissions for that purpose, either from our Governour, or the honourable Continental Congress; and we receive such bounties and moneys, clothes, &c., as shall be allowed to us as soldiers.
A DIALOGUE BETWEEN THE GHOST OF GENERAL MONTGOMERY AND A DELEGATE, IN A WOOD NEAR PHILADELPHIA.
DELEGATE. Welcome to this retreat, my good friend. If I mistake not, I see the ghost of the brave General Montgomery.
General MONTGOMERY. I am glad to see you. I still love liberty and America; and the contemplation of the fu-ture greatness of this Continent now forms a large share of my present happiness. I am sent here upon an important errand, to warn you against listening to terms of accommodation from the Court of Britain.
DELEGATE. I shall be happy in receiving instruction from you in the present trying exigency of our publick affairs; but suppose the terms you speak of should be just and honourable.
Gen. MONTGOMERY. HOW can you expect these, after the King has proclaimed you Rebels from the Throne, and after both Houses of Parliament have resolved to support him in carrying on a war against you? No; I see no offers from Great Britain, but of pardon. The, very word is an insult upon our cause. To whom is pardon offered? To virtuous freemen. For what? For flying to arms in defence of the rights of humanity. And from whom do these offers come? From a Royal criminal. You have furnished me with a new reason for triumphing in my death; for I had rather have it said that I died by his vengeance, than that I lived by his mercy.
DELEGATE. But you think nothing of the destructive-ness of war; how many cities must be reduced to ashes, and how many families must be ruined, and how many widows and orphans must be made, should the present war be continued any longer with Great Britain.
Gen. MONTGOMERY. I think of nothing but the destructive consequences of slavery. The calamities of war are transitory, and confined in their effects; but the calamities of slavery are extensive, and lasting in their operations. I love mankind as well as you, and I would never restrain a tear when my love of justice has obliged me to shed the blood of a fellow creature. It is my humanity that makes me urge you against a reconciliation with Great Britain; for if this takes place, nothing can prevent the American Colonies from being the seat of war, as often as the King of Great Britain renews his quarrels with any of his Colonies, or with any of the belligerent powers of Europe.