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At an especial meeting of the Committee on Wednesday evening, April 17, 1776:
Present: Samuel Purviance, Jun., Chairman, William Buchanan, Benjamin Nicholson, Thomas Harrison, Jeremiah T. Chase, James Calhoun, J. Sterrett, John Boyd, George Lux, Secretary.
The gentlemen of the Committee appointed to go to Annapolis, returned, and reported that they had delivered the packet to the Council of Safety, and also, as was directed, laid before them the Letters from Virginia, and that the Council of Safety had given them the following copy of their Proceedings:
In Council of Safety, Annapolis, April 17, 1776.
The Governour has given the Council satisfaction from under his hand, that he will not leave the Province till the meeting of the Convention; and that he will use his endeavours to promote the peace thereof, while he stays.
At a special meeting of the Committee on Thursday morning, April 18, 1776:
Present: Samuel Purviance, Jun., Chairman, Andrew Buchanan, William Buchanan, Benjamin Nicholson, Thomas Harrison, Jeremiah T. Chase, John Smith, John Boyd, James Calhoun, J. Sterrett, George Lux, Secretary.
Lieutenant Plunket returned from Philadelphia, and brought a Letter from the President of the Continental Congress to this Committee, of which the following is a copy:
Philadelphia, April 16, 1776.
GENTLEMEN: I received, and immediately communicated to Congress, your letter of the 14th, with the important papers enclosed. In consequence of which, the Congress has resolved that the person and papers of Governour Eden be immediately seized by the Committee of Safety, to whom I write by this opportunity. The person mentioned in the enclosed resolution (Mr. Alexander Ross ) is represented as a dangerous partisan of Administration, who has lately been with Lord Dunmore, and, it is suggested, is on his way to the Indian country to execute the execrable designs of our enemies. I make no doubt but you will use your utmost endeavours in seizing and securing him.
I am, with respect, gentlemen, your most obedient servant
JOHN HANCOCK, President.
P. S. You will please not to make publick mention of the resolution respecting Governour Eden until the Committee of Safety have executed it.
To the Honourable Committee of Baltimore.
In Congress, Philadelphia, April 15, 1776.
Resolved, That the Council of Safety of Maryland be requested to cause the person and papers of Alexander Ross to be immediately seized and secured, and that the papers be sent safely to Congress.
And, to prevent the said Alexander Ross from having any opportunity to escape, Resolved, That the like request be made to the Committees of Observation for Baltimore and Frederick Counties, in Maryland, in one of which Counties said Ross now probably is.
Extract from the Minutes:
CHARLES THOMSON, Secretary.
In Congress: Ordered to be transmitted to the Committee of Baltimore.
JOHN HANCOCK, President.
Please to convey a copy to the Committee of Frederick.
Agreeable to the intimation contained in the Resolution of Congress respecting Mr. Alexander Ross and his papers, Messrs. Thomas Harrison, Benjamin Nicholson, and John Smith, were ordered to inquire for and secure said Rosss papers; which they accordingly did, and report that Mr. Grant informed them the said papers were deposited in a closet, in his house, which he showed to them, and which these gentlemen then sealed up, without seeing or examining said papers.
A copy of said Resolution was also sent to the Committee of Frederick County, by Post.
At a special meeting of the Committee, April 20, 1776:
Present: William Lux, Chairman pro tempore, William Buchanan, Thomas Harrison, James Calhoun, Benjamin Griffith, John Smith, John Boyd, John Merryman, Jun.
The Committee being informed that certain Instructions were given by Mr. Samuel Purviance, as Chiarman, to Captain Samuel Smith, which did not appear on their Minutes, they sent for Captain Smith, and requested him to attend the Committee, with the Instructions he had received.
He accordingly attended, and produced them, and they are as follows:
April 14, 1776.
To Captain SAMUEL SMITH:
SIR: You are requested by the gentlemen of the Committee to proceed in Captain Nicholsons tender, with any officer he may send to assist you, and such a number of armed men as may be necessary, and therewith proceed, as speedily as possible, for Annapolis. Should you, before you get there, meet the Governours boat or barge, you must by all means endeavour to board her, and, in case Governour Eden, his Secretary, Mr. Smith, or Mr. Alexander Ross, are found on board, you are by all means to seize their persons and papers, and instantly return with them, under the strictest guard, to Baltimore. For doing which you may depend upon being justified and protected by the Committee, and held blameless. In case you should not meet such boat or persons, you will please to proceed immediately to Annapolis, and use every precaution to prevent alarm by obliging the men not to appear in numbers on deck, and causing the boat to lie at a distance, while you go on shore with the letter delivered you for the gentlemen of the Baltimore Committee who may be at Annapolis, whose direction you will please to follow after your arrival there. You will please to take blunderbusses, and any quantity you see necessary of arms, out of Captain Nicholsons vessel, which he will readily furnish. Please to consult, in all things, with the officer which Captain Nicholson sends with you, and let your measures be kept as secret as possible from the men, at least until it comes to the execution.
I am, on behalf of the Committee, sir, your humble servant,
SAMUEL PURVIANCE, Jun., Chairman.
The Committee then inquired of all the Members present whether either of them had concurred in said Instructions, and, on each of their declaration that they had not, they sent for Mr. Purviance, and desired he would inform them what number of the Members of the Committee were present when the said Instructions were given, and that he would give his answer in writing.
Mr.Purviance accordingly came to the Committee, and verbally declared that he had not consulted any one person of the Committee upon the occasion, but that he had given the said Instructions himself; that he exculpated the Committee from all censure on that account, and that he would give his answer in writing, to that effect, on Monday morning.
The Committee met on Monday, April 22, 1776:
Present: William Lux, Chairman, William Buchanan, Andrew Buchanan, Thomas Harrison, C. Ridgely, (of William.) John Merryman, William Wilkinson, John Moale, John Smith, John Boyd, Isaac Grist, Thomas Gist, Darby Lux, James Calhoun, Walter Tolley, Jun., John E. Howard, George Risteau, James Gittings, J. Sterrett, Abraham Britton, Thomas Sollers, John Cradock, William Aisquith, George Lux, Secretary.
Mr. Samuel Purviance appeared, and delivered in his answer in writing, agreeable to his promise of Saturday, which, being read, is as follows:
April 22, 1776.
GENTLEMEN: Agreeable to my declaration to the Committee at the last meeting, the 20th instant, that I exculpated all the members of the Committee from any concern in the orders which I gave, as Chairman of the Committee, to Captain Samuel Smith on the 14th instant, I am now to inform you of the circumstances of that affair, and the reasons on which I ventured to give these orders.
The despatches received from the Committee of Safety of Virginia, with a letter written by General Lee, and directed to me as Chairman of this Committee, I considered as sufficient reasons to justify the Committee in using their best endeavours to seize Governour Eden, his Secretary, and Mr. Alexander Ross, should they or either of them be found attempting to escape from Annapolis,a suspicion founded on the certain knowledge that Mr. Ross had gone from this town to Annapolisa few days before, and that it