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Ministry, stimulated with an expectation of recommending themselves by showing their zealousness for the prerogative, prompts on the Governour to some proclamations laying certain restraints on the people. Then, joining in associations, offering their lives and fortunes in the defence of the supremacy of the Parliament; and then, to complete the matter, advise the Governour to call the Assembly together at a time when the small-pox was raging at a great degree. Many of the country members could not attend on account of the distemper. A bill was passed for raising a regiment by ballot; and another for raising a tax to support them. The preamble to the latter was such, that, in my view, it carried the greatest implication of a declaration of war against the Colonies. This flagrant proof of the intention of these miscreants roused a spirit among the people, and publick declarations were made which before were not heard. Some were immediately for applying to your Excellency. Business was entirely stagnated. Nothing to be heard but warthis County in particular. The inhabitants being called to appear by the Commanding Officer of Militia, they complied with the order; and, when met, they all, to a man, charged the officers, on their peril, to draw a person. The inhabitants then agreed that an Address, Remonstrance, and Petition, be sent to the Governour, praying his suspending the execution of said acts, and to dissolve the House of Assembly, and call a new one to meet immediately. The Governour gave no other answer than ordering the officers of Militia and tax-gatherers to desist, for the present, the putting the acts into execution. On the receipt of this, the County of Cumberland again met, and resolved, almost unanimously, that it was no way satisfactory, and that it was only to delay time till a number of troops could be distributed through the different parts, as we had sufficient reason to imagine so by the preparation and other intelligences at Halifax. We have, therefore, again petitioned, pressing his Excellency the Governour to answer our former request, by dissolving the Assembly, and, for the first time, hinting to him our feeling for the commotions in the British Empire, &c. In this time some recruiting parties came among us, as also a person whom we have found to be a spy. These, with others who live among us whose principles are actuated by private prejudices, besides their enthusiasm for arbitrary authority, are making strong solicitations to have troops sent among us, the fear of which has occasioned much disorder and discontent among us. Many are afraid of speaking. There are, also, among us several families which lately came from England. They, in general, speak something in favour of Parliament, and are willing to submit to little taxes, as they have been accustomed to pay such heavy ones in their own country. These encourage the minions of Government. We can have no certainty how matters are passing. News is constantly propagated to the disadvantage of the Americans, and of the intentions and success of the other side, and that almost every foreign power intends assisting Britain. Sometimes we have a flying report that the Americans have allies to help them; but this is generally stifled. All these things keep us in a flutter. The straggling manner in which people have settled this new country makes it very difficult, and, in a manner, almost impossible for them to act either offensively or defensively. The people, in general, have great families, which will occasion a lamentable scene should British Troops arrive here before any succour comes from your Excellency. We would greatly rejoice could we be able to join with the other Colonies; but we must have other assistance before we can act publickly. I would observe to your Excellency, concerning the Acadians, I have dwelt among them near six-and-twenty years. I am well acquainted with their manners and ways. I have taken great pains in conversing with them concerning their commotions. They are, to a man, wholly inclined to the cause of America. I have often pitied them in their situation, and the manner of proceedings against them from time to time. I have made proposals to them, and promised, if ever in my power, to do my utmost for their relief, and to lay the state of their matter before the honourable the Continental Congress, not doubting but they would be relieved. By this opportunity, I have sent a young man belonging to themselves; he may be able to answer any questions your Excellency may want to know.
A Committee was chosen lately by the inhabitants to fall upon such methods as might be thought conducive for the publick safety. On their meeting two or three times, suspicion arose that they intended sending to the Continent; the news of which was sent immediately to Halifax. The Committee, perceiving these things, found they could not continue, as they subjected themselves to be made prisoners. They therefore agreed to lay aside the sending to New-England as a Committee; but if any should choose to do anything of themselves, they might. The bearer, Captain Jonathan Eddy, declared that he would immediately set off by land, and lay our situation before your Excellency. A number drew up a small incorrect address, to recommend him to your Excellency. He will, no doubt, fully prove that he is capable for the undertaking. I have also, at the same time, sent two Frenchmen, to return immediately from Machias, in order to know what we are to expect.
Your Excellency may see by this, with the other information you may receive, our situation. You have, no doubt, an unlimited power to help the distressed in this critical time. I trust and rely that this, joined with your own humane disposition, will excite your Excellency to give us assistance. Should your Excellency incline helping us, it would be necessary to take care how any troops come. My grand view in this is, to prevent the effusion of blood; for should it be known when they come, I imagine that a force would be sent to oppose. The present situation of the Province respecting force is very trifling; and the fear our great men are in concerning an invasion makes it more so. They have but about two hundred regular troops in Halifax, including a number of raw recruits from Newfoundland and other places. The Twenty-Seventh Regiment, lately arrived, is stationed in the naval yard, and there endeavouring to fortify round the town; but I think it is but trifling. We have this comfort, that, should no other troops arrive, they may not send up to molest us. Had we, at this present time, two or three hundred men, it would secure all that part of the Province between this and Halifax, and am convinced that that number would prevent five thousand from coming through the woods. Captain Eddy will make known to your Excellency the most suitable manner how to introduce troops. I am, it may be said, more particular in this, in order to serve some friends. One of my brothers is an officer in the regiment at Halifax. Galling as this is to me, and the feeling of anguish for this calamity, will nowise deter me in my pursuit for the welfare of the publick. Determined I am to prosecute the matter, if God should spare me, to establish those rights and privileges in this Province which should, by right, be enjoyed by every human being. But should your Excellency, with the honourable the Continental Congress, determine not to give any assistance, it must occasion the most direful and horrible consequences. Let me beseech your Excellency to help us. Give us an opportunity of joining with the other Colonies. It all depends upon your bounty.
I must once more plead for your forgiveness for this liberty I have taken, as, also, excuse the incorrectness of my writing. I have not time to copy. And further, must earnestly request your keeping this from the publick. Much other information could be given: but the hurry of departure of the bearer prevents my saying more. I refer to him. Any assistance I can give your Excellency, either by intelligence or otherwise, I shall esteem it an honour and duty to peform.
My best wishes for the success of your arms. May the Supreme Ruler of the Universe protect you. May the civil and religious liberties of America stand firm and unshaken to the latest posterity, is my earnest prayer.
I am, with profound respect, your Excellencys most devoted, most obedient, and very humble servant.
To His Excellency George Washington.
His Excellency GEORGE WASHINGTON, Esq., General issimo of the Army of the Twelve United Colonies of AMERICA.
May it please your Excellency:
The liberty we take in addressing a person of so exalted a rank will, we presume, be fully pardoned when you perceive the occasion of it.The inhabitants of Nova-Scotia, and in particular those of the County of Cumberland, have been under the greatest