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very much tired with their march from South-River, and down again. They are now under arms a little below Fishing-Creek, and will continue so till they are gone below Patuxent.

Captain Makalls Company are ten miles below, and the alarm is all through Calvert that they are on their way down. They weighed about twelve o’clock, and came to again about four in the afternoon, as the wind was directly ahead.

I am, gentlemen, your obedient, humble servant,


To the Honourable the Council of Safety of Maryland.


[No. 53.] Annapolis, March 10, 1776.

GENTLEMEN: We received intelligence by our pilot-boats on Tuesday evening, that a ship-of-war and two tenders were under sail, on their way up the bay; and immediately issued our orders for their reception, which were observed with amazing expedition and punctuality. We are much indebted to the spirited, active, and good conduct of the regular officers and troops. The Militia moved with astonishing despatch; and as soon as the vessels hove in sight, our coast was lined with men. At Baltimore, the celerity of their movements exceeded description, and had very nearly proved more advantageous than they really have, for it was expected by the vessels, (the Otter of sixteen guns, a tender of six guns, and the other with swivels only,) that the ship Defence was altogether unprepared; which led them to conceive themselves in a state of security, which had like to have been attended with consequences very disagreeable to them.

The residue of our guns for the ship arrived only on Wednesday night, and on Thursday morning were mounted. On Friday night she was towed a little way down the river, and manned with a parcel of buckskin heroes, and other brave fellows. Several small vessels were crowded with men to assist in case of an engagement; which would have been dreadful, as we understand Captain Nicholson intended to grapple at once. She got under way very early in the morning, resolved to retake Hudson’s ship, and engage the Otter, (which was four or five miles below,) if she moved to her relief. Hudson’s vessel was guarded by the tenders. The morning was thick and hazy, and the Defence got nearer to them before she was discovered than was agreeable to them. They were much alarmed, (not having any idea our ship was in readiness to venture out,) and pushed off with the utmost expedition, leaving the ship and four or five small vessels, which had fallen into their hands. The tenders would probably have been taken, if the Otter, receiving a single gun, had not sent off men to double man their oars. The Defence stretched backward and forward below her prizes, and at length, seeing the Otter get under way, came to close by Hudson’s vessel, and prepared for battle, expecting she was coming up to her; but, to the amazement of our brave countrymen, she bore away and anchored in the afternoon off Annapolis. Nicholson continued his station, thinking it imprudent to risk an action, as he had such a valuable prize under his care.

In the evening a flag was sent in. The gentlemen behaved very politely, and on some subjects were free and communicative. They know everything which is transacted here and to the northward. The flag brought a letter to the Governour, from Captain Squire, commander of the Otter, desiring provision for the sloop, and that a tender might be permitted, unmolested, to take a New-England sloop, loaded with bread and flour, which we had sent up the Severn. The Governour laid that letter before us. We refused a supply of provisions, and took no notice of that part of the letter which related to the New-England vessel, thinking it rather an insult; but ordered a guard of about fifty men to be immediately put over her.

We received two other flags in the morning—one of them for our answer, and the other with prisoners; who say they were treated with the greatest humanity and tenderness. The Otter and her tenders, with some prize vessels, sailed down the bay yesterday. But we expect they will return again soon, reinforced; as, from what we can collect, they are bent upon taking or destroying the Defence. Five thousand seven hundred and eighty-two pounds of powder is arrived in the Potomack, and safely landed at Bladensburgh. You shall have a full state of facts relative to our late interesting situation, by the next post. This we give you in a hurry.

We are, &c.

To the Deputies for Maryland in Congress.


I beg leave to lay before you such objects as, if properly attended to, will enable you to secure that to your offspring, for which you at present contend, and put it out of the power of any set of men, however cunning and ambitious, to rise into power and importance at your expense. The subject which I propose to discuss, however ill qualified, is of very great consequence to America; it being impossible to make the best of our present advantages, unless old prejudices are effectually removed.

I wish it to be examined with care, and received with impartiality; as truth is my object, and the happiness of mankind, without regard to sect, party, province, or district, the end of my labour.

Pure Monarchy is that form of Government which is framed for the exaltation of the Prince alone, and his interest and grandeur are of primary consideration; the people are only of consequence so far as their welfare is involved in his. The grand monarch is the only being known to the Constitution; who, like the Divinity, (pardon the comparison,) derives every power from himself; from whom the other members of the community derive every privilege they possess, and on whose will they depend for their continuance. Aristocracy divides all the privileges of the State among the grandees of the nation; and constituting them the sole legislators and executors, lodges all power in their hands; Oligarchy distributes the powers of Government into a few hands, who are generally the leaders of so many factions, which exist in the State. In all these forms the people are but of small, if of any consideration; and the farther they diverge from pure Monarchy, the more intolerable they become. Popular Government—sometimes termed Democracy, Republick, or Commonwealth—is the plan of civil society wherein the community at large takes the care of its own welfare, and manages its concerns by representatives elected by the people out of their own body.

Seeing the happiness of the people is the true end of Government; and it appearing by the definition, that the popular form is the only one which has this for its object; it may be worth inquiring into the causes which have prevented its success in the world. In this inquiry it would ill become us to sit down contented with the accounts given by Royal ambassadors, or men of ambition, who can never arrive to the height they aspire to in a Republick. With such men, it is impossible for a Commonwealth to confer happiness on its members. Were they honestly to investigate the subject, perhaps they would alter their opinions. The necessity of mutual defence first gave rise to social connections, which were, consequently, of the military kind. Thus very great distinctions between the members of the same community were incorporated into the very Constitution of the State, and formed an insuperable obstacle to a perfect Republick. Every nation which has hitherto attempted to set up a Republick, entered on the measure too late. They were the convulsed remains of some Government erected upon military principles; and finding it hard to content those with the simple rights of freemen who were once possessed of all power, they too easily gave way to claims of a superior nature, whereby they admitted an interest separate and distinct from, and inconsistent with, the general welfare of the people. This interest forever clashing with that of the community, produced continual confusions, until the people, wearied out with the struggle, gave up to the aristocratical party, or blindly following some popular leader, in confidence of his attachment to their interest, gave all power into his hands, which generally ended in tyranny.

The inexperience of mankind was another cause of the decay of popular Governments. Being unacquainted with legislative representation, established on the principles of a free, uninfluenced, and general election, they met in large, and, consequently, tumultuous assemblies. This gave ambitious

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