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DOCTOR MORGAN TO A COMMITTEE OF THE MASSACHUSETTS ASSEMBLY.
Cambridge, April 11, 1776.
GENTLEMEN: It gives me much concern to hear that the intention of General Washington, and his orders to me to take possession of the shop, medicines, and utensils, &c., belonging to Sylvester Gardner and William Perkins, late of Boston, for the use of the Continental Army, and the resolves of the honourable House of Representatives and Council of this Province, should seem to interfere with your commands. I would willingly hope that, before any step is taken to counteract the orders of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, and the resolves of the Legislature of this Colony at large, I may be favoured with a conference with youand I shall gladly meet with you when and wherever you are pleased to appointto explain to you the Generals intention with respect to Doctor Gardners shop, and the reasons on which his orders are founded. I imagine it will be no difficult matter to convince gentlemen of your weight, character, and integrity, as well as importance in the community, of the propriety of so general an order. As his Excellency General Washington ever made it the rule of his conduct to support the civil authority, and not to infringe it in a single instance, I flatter myself you will be very tender how you offer any insult to his orders, by explaining away the spirit and intention of them, which proceeded solely from what he esteemed the essential interests of the Army. Under his authority I now act. It is by his direction I have taken charge of the shops of Messrs. Gardner and Perkins, which he intended I should possess myself of. I mean to leave an approved list in your hands of what I take; and to obligate myself for the payment of every article I take into my custody, whenever I am called upon authoritatively so to do; but it is by no means my intention to relinquish a single article comprehended within my orders, that I think will be of service to the Army. If I leave any particulars behind, which are found in Doctor Gardners or Doctor Perkinss shops, (as I, doubtless, shall many,) it will be from a consideration of their not being wanted for the use of the Army. But I flatter myself the gentlemen of the Committee, acting on a liberal plan, will not take on themselves (but leave it to one appointed for the purpose) to judge of this matter; and whilst they keep in view that the cause in which the Army is employed, is not merely a Provincial concern, but comprehends the interests of the United Colonies, and consider the recent benefits which the inhabitants of Boston have derived from the good order and discipline of the Army, and their being well supplied with everything necessary to them, as such, (in what relates to the sick is no inconsiderable part,) I am confident they will not suffer the misrepresentations of individuals (perhaps interested in the advice they give) to deprive the Army of all the advantages that may accrue from being furnished with the most ample provision of hospital stores, and which they must have, from whatever quarter they can be got, be the expense whatever it may. I doubt not, on being favoured with a conference with you on this head, every misapprehension will be effectually cleared up to our mutual satisfaction. If not, I have only to acquaint you that I must remain here till I receive fresh orders from the General, whether to recede from his instructions or not.
I remain, with the utmost deference and respect, gentlemen, your most obedient and very humble servant,
To the Committee of the General Court, now sitting at Boston.
INDEPENDENCE IN NORTH-CAROLINA.
In Congress, North-Carolina, April 12, 1776.
The Select Committee, to take into consideration the usurpations and violences attempted and committed by the King and Parliament of Britain against America, and the further measures to be taken for frustrating the same, and for the better defence of this Province, reported as follows, to wit:
It appears to your Committee that, pursuant to the plan concerted by the British Ministry for subjugating America, the King and Parliament of Great Britain have usurped a power over the persons and properties of the People, unlimited and uncontrolled; and, disregarding their humble petitions for peace, liberty, and safety, have made divers legislative acts denouncing war, famine, and every species of calamity against the Continent in general.
That British Fleets and Armies have been, and still are, daily employed in destroying the people, and committing the most horrid devastations on the country.
That Governours in different Colonies have declared protection to slaves who should imbrue their hands in the blood of their masters.
That the ships belonging to America are declared prizes of war, and many of them have been violently seized and confiscated.
In consequence of all which, multitudes of the people have been destroyed, or from easy circumstances reduced to the most lamentable distress.
And whereas the moderation hitherto manifested by the United Colonies, and their sincere desire to be reconciled to the mother country on constitutional principles, have procured no mitigation of the aforesaid wrongs and usurpations, and no hopes remain of obtaining redress by those means alone which have been hitherto tried, your Committee are of opinion that the House should enter into the following resolve:
Resolved, That the Delegates for this Colony in the Continental Congress be empowered to concur with the Delegates of the other Colonies in declaring Independency, and forming foreign alliances, reserving to this Colony the sole and exclusive right of forming a Constitution and Laws for this Colony, and of appointing Delegates, from time to time, (under the direction of a general representation thereof,) to meet the Delegates of the other Colonies for such purposes as shall be hereafter pointed out.
The Congress, taking the same into consideration, unanimously concurred therewith.
TO MR. ALEXANDER PURDIE.
Williamsburgh, Virginia, April 12, 1776.
The independence of the Colonies daily becomes more and more a topick of very anxious disquisition. The subject appears, in general, to lie under the difficulties of being misrepresented by our enemies, and misunderstood by some amongst ourselves. Without flattering myself that the following remarks will remove either, I shall be obliged by your inserting them.
It may, with certainty, be affirmed, that, among the ends which the Colonies (from South-Carolina to New-York, inclusively) had in view when they began the present contest, independence held no place; and that the New-England Governments, if they had it in view at all, considered it as a remote and contingent object. The terrours of immediate oppression engrossed our minds too fully to leave much room for ambition. Admitting this fact with regard to New-England, (of which, however, I know no proof,) it was not the effect of a seditious character in the people, but of a consciousness that, by their union and populousness, they approached more nearly than any single Colony to that period of power, when independence would have become a natural event, and dependance a political absurdity. That the Colonies were proceeding pretty rapidly to such a period of power, seems to be a point acknowledged by all dispassionate reasoners on both sides. The Kings Ministers, indeed, have induced him to believe, and to tell his Parliament, that our professions of attachment and loyalty were meant only to amuse, while we were meditating a general revolt. The heart of an American tells him that the charge is erroneous, and the single external evidence of our having begun the war with so scanty a provision for its support, will prove it so to all the unprejudiced world. In truth, these professions were founded in such deep-rooted attachments, that even now, when our lives and properties are the sport and prey of every tenders motley crew that can catch them, many of our brethren shudder at the name of Independence.
The use of words, without settling their determinate meaning, often occasions disputes with men whose sentiments in reality exactly correspond. This appears to be particularly the case in the present question.
In many, the name of Independence is accompanied with the terrifying ideas of an everlasting separation from Great