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viz: From John Simpson, in London, dated 23d December, 1775, to Mr. George Houstoun; from Robert Grant & Co., in London, to the same, of same date, with an extract of a Contract with the Commissioners of the Victualling-Office; from Roger Kelsall, in London, dated 5th December, 1773; and from the same, dated 22d December, to Kelsall and Spalding, at Sunbury.
Adjourned to nine oclock to-morrow.
IN SAVANNAH RIVER, March 4, 1776.
GENTLEMAN: We just this moment received yours, and are authorized to inform you that, from the circumstance of our letter of yesterday not being answered, and your firing to-day, it was believed your intention was to treat his Majestys sea and land forces in a hostile manner, notwithstanding the declaration made in our letter; but as the proposal made in your letter of this day intimates your disposition to act inof-fenceably towards his Majestys sea and land forces, if the vessels and troops are carried to Cockspur without annoying you, we are authorized to assure you that, consistently with the declarations made, the troops and vessels will be conducted to Cockspur immediately, without any act of hostility on their part, if not attacked; and an express-boat is to be sent to stop the firing below, not doubting but similar steps will be taken by you. We therefore flatter ourselves that you will pay due attention to the above, as we have pledged our words, in consequence of the above declaration, that every act of hostility will be refrained from by you.
We are, gentlemen, with regard and esteem, your most humble servants,
To Colonel McIntosh.
N. B. Captain Barkley has this moment despatched an express to the Cherokee, to stop firing. We beg the bearer may be permitted to return.
DEAR GENTLEMAN: In consequence of your letter of this evening, I have given orders that not a single shot shall be fired at the ships and troops, unless they show evident signs of hostility against the Province, as we act altogether upon the defensive. But we shall not relax in our vigilance while they are hovering around us.
To Messrs. Demere and Roberts.
ON BOARD THE HINCHINBROOK, March 6, 1776.
SIR: Your letter of the 5th March came to hand this morning, about half an hour ago; and we must observe, that the gentlemen whose release you desire were aboard ship at the time that you signified to Mr. Demeré that, if the vessels and troops were withdrawn to Cockspur, without annoying the people of the Province, these gentlemen were authorized to receive any propositions that might be made. And, in a subsequent letter, you intimated that there should be a cessation of hostilities, and not a single shot fired unless we annoyed you. On this ground we set out, and are resolved religiously to observe the conditions mentioned. We will proceed to Cockspur without offence to the Province, if we are not fired on, and are to expect the same punctual performance of your engagements. But after our arrival at Cockspur, (as we arc determined to act up to our declarations on coming here,) if you, any gentleman, or gentlemen, properly authorized, will come down and suggest a plan that can accommodate all parties, by a release of the ships now at Savannah, and their masters, we give you our word of honour that you, or them, shall be perfectly safe, and return when they please, as this method seems most likely to bring matters to the issue that you wish for. In the mean time, if hostilities commence, they must be imputed to the people of Georgia, not to us, as we are determined to act up to the proposal made to us.
As Mr. Demeré is in a ship that has fallen down the Back-River, his letter shall be conveyed to him, and his answer sent on shore. We are, sir, your most obedient, humble servants,
To Lachlan McIntosh, Esq.
SAVANNAH, March 5, 1776.
GENTLEMEN: When I authorized Messrs. Demeré and Roberts, by my letter of yesterday, to inform you that orders were given for a cessation of arms on our side, we certainly expected you would consider it as implied that those gentlemen, together with Mr. Rice, should be immediately released; for surely it must appear to every man that the detention of our fellow-citizens is, to all intents and purposes, a continuation of hostilities on your side. I am now directed to acquaint you that the people have waited with the utmost anxiety for the arrival of those gentlemen all this day; and I am induced to think, from your professions of a friendly disposition, that you will see how absolutely necessary it is to make this step the groundwork of a further negotiation. I shall wait with impatience for your answer, and hope our friends will be the messengers themselves, by ten oclock, to-morrow morning.
To Captain Barkley and Major Grant,
ON BOARD THE HINCHINBROOK, March 6, 1776.
DEAR SIR: I was this morning sent for by Captain Barkley and Major Grant, who presented me with your letter of yesterday to them: in answer to which, I must observe, that, when you authorized Mr. Roberts and myself to declare to those gentlemen that a cessation of hostilities should cease until the vessels got down to Cockspur, I did not imagine it implied that we should have liberty to return. I therefore particularly request you will do nothing till we reach Cockspur. By that time you can consider what is beet to be done; and everything in our power will be exerted to bring matters to some favourable issue. With regard to Captains Inglis and Wardell being detained, I most earnestly wish they may be included with the other masters of vessels, to have the liberty of sailing with their ships. I imagine Captain Barkley and Major Grant will expect those gentlemen are entitled to the same indulgence as the others; and as I am now very confident no hostilities are meant against the Province, the detention of those vessels may only aggravate matters, and their enlargement may be productive of something very agreeable in the event. I have just to conclude, with my usual esteem and regard, dear sir, your humble servant,
To Colonel McIntosh.
P. S. I have just had intimation of some intrenchment being thrown up at or near Mr. Bryans Plantation. If so, I sincerely wish it may be stopped, as it can answer no good purpose. I would rather suffer every inconvenience from my confinement than any further hostilities should be commenced; for I would, in that case, think myself partly the cause.
GENTLEMEN: We have been privy to several letters which have passed to and from Colonel McIntosh, Messrs. Demeré and Roberts, and yourselves; and we find by yours that you consider that we consented the merchant shipping should go down to Cockspur, with the troops; whereas the most cursory review of the letter which appertains to that matter, will at once evidently show you, that the troops and armed vessels only were meant; and we now declare to you, that none others were intended. Indeed, a moments reflection will further demonstrate this; for you and all Great Britain know, that we have made, and are yet pursuing, a commercial opposition to the acts so much complained of, and which have roused this large Continent into arms.
We abhor the idea of infidelity, and have, therefore, forborne to avail ourselves of the advantages which your situation, for several days past, put in our power, until we should have an opportunity of having the misapprehension explained. We will now forbear any virulent expressions, but we deem the detention of Messrs. Demeré and Roberts a breach of that good faith which the parent country has been so much famed for keeping inviolate.
We knew the troops were on board the merchant shipping some hours before they went, and, relying on the common faith of the civilized part of the world, expected that you would have permitted them to return, and have made what might pass between you and them the groundwork of an explanation; and by that means have prevented any hostilities.
In one of Colonel McIntoshs letters to Messrs. Demeré and Roberts, he authorized them, in case you should withdraw to Cockspur, as before we have explained, then to receive any propositions you might make; but this never can be construed into an assent on our part to your detaining them.
The merchant shipping, also, we consider as appertaining to this Province, and, of course, under our cognizance; and the attempt to take them away by force justified the opposition. The capture, also, of the vessel with goods, we conceive, cannot be justified upon any principle whatever.
From these premises, gentlemen, you will readily conclude that we expect two things: the one is, the return of our citizens, and the other the withdrawing your troops from on board the merchant shipping, and carrying them and the armed vessels down only to Cockspur.
That you may not be deceived, we now make this declaration: We expect a return of our citizens to the place from whence they were taken, by twelve oclock to-morrow, with your assurance, upon your honour, to withdraw without any attempt to land in either Province, as soon as wind and tide shall permit; and in case you shall refuse or neglect compliance, we shall consider either as a breach of the cessation you desired. And we declare further, that your treatment of our three citizens, now in your power, will be our criterion of conduct towards all those men who now are, or may be in our power.
The laws of retaliation have suggested to us the propriety and expediency of arresting and confining the Kings officers; several of whom we have accordingly taken and confined; but these men, upon the return of our friends, and not before, shall be enlarged.
By order of the Council of Safety:
WILLIAM EWEN, President.
To Captain Barkley and Major Grant.
SCARBOROUGH, COCKSPUR, March 14, 1776.
SIR: We are surprised and concerned that you and the other gentlemen with you, should be confined by the rulers of the people, now at Savannah, as you had a right to protection from the parole that had been given. It is equally unaccountable that the Captains Inglis and Wardell should be carried into confinement, and prevented from sailing with their ships and cargoes, contrary to the faith that had been plighted to them by the very powers which the people at present acknowledge-But as proposals have been made to us for the release of Messrs. Demeré, Roberts, and Rice, and that we wish to remove your distresses and those of your fellow-sufferers, we authorize you to signify to such of the people as take direction in these matters, that if you, Captain Powell, Colonel Tattnall, Colonel Mullryne, the two Mc Gillivrays, Captain Inglis, Captain Wardell, and all others that may be in confinement on this occasion, are set at liberty, and that Lachlan Mclntosh, Samuel Elbert, and Joseph Habersham, Esquires, or any others that you may conjoin with them, engage themselves upon honour, by a writing under their hands, for the future security of your persons, families, and properties, while you act a neutral part, and likewise the security of the persons, family, and property of the Governour, gentlemen of the Council, and other servants of the Crown, who may not be in confinement, and that you, any, or all of you, shall be at liberty to quit the Province when you or they think proper, and also that the Captains Inglis and Wardell, with other masters of vessels, who may incline to go to sea, shall immediately be permitted so to do with their ships and cargoes; then, and in that case, you are authorized to assure the people or their leaders, that we will release the Messrs. Demeré, Roberts, and Rice.
The conditions that only require men to be just to their own engagements