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An Express is just arrived from Virginia with a packet directed to this Committee, enclosing a Letter to the honourable Council of Safety of this Province, with a Letter to the Honourable John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress at Philadelphia, and a Letter from the honourable Council of Safety of Virginia to this Committee, of which the following is a copy:
Williamsburgh, April 6, 1776.
GENTLEMEN: We could not suffer a moment to pass before we transmitted the enclosed copies of intercepted letters, addressed by the Secretary of State to the Gover-nour of your Province, which open the schemes of Administration to us in a more explicit manner than any other intelligence we have been able to procure. We wish you to transmit copies of these letters to Congress, without delay.
I am, for and by order of the Committee of Safety of Virginia, gentlemen, your most humble servant,
JOHN PAGE, Vice-President.
N. B. A certain Mr. Alexander Ross, who was refused a permission from this Committee, has been on board of Lord Dunmores ship, and was the person entrusted with the care of the enclosed letters; he has escaped from us, but, as we think him a person inimical to the American cause, he ought to be apprehended.
J. P., V. P.
Whitehall, December 23, 1775.
SIR: It was not till the 27th of November that your despatch to Lord Dartmouth, of the 27th of August, was received here, when I had the honour of laying it before the King; and I have it in command from his Majesty, to express to you his Majestys approbation for your zeal for the publick service, and of the unalterable attachment you have shown to his person and Government since the commencement of the present unhappy disputes, which have involved his Majestys faithful servants in the Colonies in difficulties and distress that are only equalled by the fortitude with which they are borne.
Your letter contains a great deal of useful information, and your confidential communication of the character of individuals, more especially of such as are come over into England, is of great advantage, and you may rest assured that every possible precaution will be used that no part of your letter shall transpire.
An armament, consisting of seven regiments, and a fleet of frigates and small ships, is now in readiness to proceed to the Southern Colonies, in order to attempt the restoration of legal government in that part of America. It will proceed, in the first place, to North-Carolina, and from thence either to South-Carolina or Virginia, as circumstances of greater or less advantage shall point out; if to the latter, it may have very important consequences to the Colony under your government, and therefore you will do well to consider of every means by which you may, in conjunction with Lord Dunmore, give facility and assistance to its operations.
I am, sir, your most obedient servant,
To Robert Eden, Esq., Deputy-Governour of Maryland.
SIR: The King being determined, in concurrence with his Parliament, to pursue the most vigorous measures for reducing his rebellious subjects in North-America to obedience, and for restoring legal Government, has given the royal assent to the enclosed act, which I am commanded by his Majesty to transmit to you, and at the same time signify to you his Majestys pleasure that you do exhort all persons upon whom the execution of the law shall depend, to pay a due attention thereto, and to use their best endeavours for carrying the provisions of it into effect; and I trust that, when his Majestys deluded subjects in the associated Colonies are better apprized of the fatal consequences of the conduct they have adopted, and see the determined spirit of the nation to maintain its constitutional rights, they will avail themselves of the means which the justice and benevolence of the Supreme Legislature have held out to them, of being restored to the Kings grace and peace, and that a happy and lasting reconciliation and union will be effected. And I have the satisfaction to acquaint you that, in order to accelerate this desirable object, the proper steps have been taken for passing a commission under the great seal, in conformity to the last section but one of that act; and that the Commissioner or Commissioners to be appointed for that purpose, will have full power to inquire into the state and condition of the Colonies, and to confer with proper persons upon such points as may be necessary for effecting a restoration of the publick tranquillity.
I am, sir, your most obedient, humble servant,
To Robert Eden, Esq., Deputy-Governour of Maryland.
The Committee maturely considered the fore-mentioned Letters, and, esteeming the information contained in them as highly interesting to American freedom,
Unanimously Resolved, That they be sent off by Express to Congress, and that Major Gist be requested to permit an officer to carry them.
Major Gist being accordingly applied to, ordered Lieutenant David Plunket on that service, and directed him to attend the Committee for their orders, who delivered to him the preceding Letters, and one to the Honourable John Hancock, Esq., of which the following is a copy, viz:
In Committee, Baltimore, April 14, 1776, 10 oclock, P. M.
HONOURABLE SIR: The enclosed copies of letters were just now received by our Committee, by express, from the Council of Safety of Virginia, with desire that they might be forwarded to you instantly; indeed, they contain matters, we think, of too much importance to have been delayed a moment. In consequence whereof, we have prevailed on our commanding officer here to appoint Mr. David Plunket, on whose prudence and industry we can depend, to wait on you with this; and if your honourable body should think it necessary to take any steps, or give any instructions to the Council of Safety, on the occasion, he will wait your commands.
We have the honour to be, with greatest respect, honourable sir, your most obedient servants.
(Signed by all the Members present.)
To the Honourable John Hancock, Esq., President of the Congress, Philadelphia.
The Committee then resumed the consideration of the Letter from the Council of Safety of Virginia, and thereon
Resolved, That Messrs. John Smith, Benjamin Nicholson, and John Sterrett, three of their Members, do wait on the Council of Safety at Annapolis, early to-morrow morning, with the packet directed to them, as they think it of too much importance to be trusted by a common express; and that they carry with them the Letters above referred to, in order to lay them before the Council of Safety, lest their packet might not contain the same intelligence; and that they take with them Mr. Jeremiah Townley Chase, one of the Committee, who is now at Annapolis.
The Committee met on Monday, April 15, 1776:
Present: William Lux, Chairman pro tempore, Andrew Buchanan, Z. McCubbin, C. Ridgely, (of William,) William Wilkinson, Thomas Harrison, Walter Tolley, Jun., William Aisquith, James Calhoun, James Gittings, Gist Vaughan, Thomas Rutter, Thomas Sollers, Thomas Gist, John Boyd, Darby Lux, Secretary, P. D.
The following Captains returned their Enrollments: John Tully Young, consisting of fifty-two persons; Captain Richard Owings, of fifty-eight persons; Captain James Gittings, consisting of eighty-three persons; and Captain John Mercer, consisting of fifty-five persons.
The following Captains were directed to disarm all Non-Associators and Non-Enrollers in their respective Hundreds: Captain John Tulley Young, in Middle River, Lower; Captain Charles Carnan, in Soldiers Delight; Captain Zachariah McCubbin, in Patapsco, Upper.
Mr. Henry Wareham was added to the Committee appointed to carry about the Association in.... Hundred.
The thanks of this Committee were ordered to be given to Captain Job Garritson, for his active zeal in the cause of liberty since the commencement of the present disputes.
William McMasters returned a Gun marked P K; also, some Powder and Ball.
GEORGE LUX, Secretary.