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vern is, in other cafes, ftipulated on the part of the crown. The breach of allegiance is removed from our resistance, as far as tyranny is removed from legal `go
AMERICA. [xxxvii. 667.719.] From the Minutes of the General Congress. Philadelphia, Dec. 6. 1775.
WE the delegates of the Thirteen U-vernment.
nited Colonies of North America, have taken into our most serious confideration a proclamation iffued from the court at St James's, on the 23d day of Auguft laft [xxxvii. 455.3. The name of his Majefty is used to give it a fanction and influence; and, on that account, it becomes a matter of importance to wipe off, in the name of thefe United Colonies, the afperfions which it is calculated to throw upon our caufe; and to prevent, as far as poffible, the undeferved punishments which it is defigned to prepare for our friends.
It is alledged, that "we have proceeded to an open and avowed rebellion.” In what does this rebellion confift? It is thus described :—« Arraying ourselves in hoftile manner to withstand the execution of the law, and traitorously preparing, ordering, and levying war against the King." We know of no laws binding upon us, but fuch as have been tranfmitted to us by our ancestors, and uch as have been confented to by ourselves, or our reprefentatives elected for that purpose. What laws, ftamped with thofe characters, have we withstood? We have, indeed, defended them; and we will rifk every thing, do every thing, and "fuffer every thing, in their defence. To fupport our laws, and our liberties eftablifhed by our laws, we have prepared, ordered, and levied war. But is this traitorously? or against the King? We view him as the conftitution represents him; that tells us he can do no wrong. The cruel and illegal attacks which we oppofe, have no foundation in the royal authority. We will not, on our part, lofe the diftinction between the King and his minifters. Happy it would have been for fome former princes, had it been always preferved on the part of the crown!
We are accused of "forgetting the allegiance which we owe to the power that has protected and sustained us. Why all this ambiguity and obfcurity in what ought to be fo plain and obvious, as that he who runs may read it? What allegiance is it that we forget? Allegiance to parliament! We never owed, -we never owned it. Allegiance to our King! Our words have ever avowed it, -our conduct has ever been confiftent with it. We condemn, and with arms in our hands (a resource which freemen will never part with) we oppose, the claim and exercise of unconftitutional powers, to which neither the crown or parliament were ever intitled. By the British conftitution, our beft inheritance, rights as well as duties defcend upon us; we cannot violate the latter, by defending the former; we should act in diametrical oppofition to both, if we permitted the claims of the British parliament to be established, and the measures purfued in confequence of those claims to be carried into execution among us. Our fagacious ancestors provided bounds against the inundation of tyranny and lawless power on one fide, as well as against that of faction and licentiousness on the other. On which has the breach been made? Is it objected against us by the most inveterate, or the most candid of our enemies, that we have oppofed any of the just prerogatives of the crown, or any legal exertion of those prerogatives? Why then are we accufed of forgetting our allegiance? We have performed our duty; we have refifted in those cafes in which the right to refift is ftipulated as exprefsly on our part, as the right to goVOL. XXXVIII.
Befides all this, we obferve, on this part of the proclamation, that "Rebeltion" is a term undefined and unknown in the law. It might have been expected, that a proclamation, which, by the conftitution, has no other operation than merely that of enforcing what is already law, would have had a known legal ba fis to have refted upon. A correfpondence between the inhabitants of Great Britain and their brethren in America, produced, in better times, much fatisfaction to individuals, and much advantage to the public. By what criterion fhall one who is unwilling to break off this correspondence, and is at the fame time anxious not to expofe himself to the dreadful confequences threatened in this proclamation, by what criterion shall he regulate his conduct? He is admonished not to carry on correfpondence with the perfons now in rebellion in the colonies: How fhall he ascertain who are in rebellion, and who are not? He с confults
tion will unquestionably warrant one equally fevere.
We mean not, however, by this declaration, to occafion or to multiply punifhments: our fole view is to prevent them. In this unhappy and unnatural controverfy, in which Britons fight against Britons and the defcendents of Britons, let the calamities immediately incident to a civil war suffice. We hope additions will not, from wantonnefs, be made to them on one fide: we fhall regret the neceffity, if laid under the neceffity, of making them on the other. CHARLES THOMSON, Sec.
confults the law to learn the nature of the fuppofed crime. The law is filent upon the fubject. This, in a country where it has been often faid, and formerly with juftice, that the government is regulated by law, and not by men, might make him perfectly easy. But proclamations have been fometimes dangerous engines in the hands of thofe in power. Information is commanded to be given to one of the secretaries of ftate, of all perfons whatsoever "who fhall be found carrying on correfpondence with the perfons in rebellion, in order to bring to condign punishment the authors, perpetrators, or abettors, of fuch dangerous defigns." Let us fuppofe, for a moment, that fome perfons in the colonies are in rebellion, and that thofe who carry on correfpondence with them might learn, by fome rule which Britons are bound to know, how to discriminate them; does it follow, that all correfpondence with them deferves to be punished? It might have been intended to apprise them of their danger, and to reclaim them from their crimes. By what law does a correfpondence with a criminal transfer or communicate his guilt? We know that thofe who aid and adhere to the King's enemies, and those who correfpond with them in order to enable them to carry their defigns into effect, are criminal in the eye of law. But the law goes no further, Can proclamations, according to the principles of reafon, and juftice, and the conftitution, go further than the law?
But, perhaps, the principles of reafon, and justice, and the conftitution, will not prevail. Experience fuggefts to us the doubt. If they fhould not, we muft refort to arguments drawn from a very different fource. We, therefore, in the name of the people of thefe United Colonies, and by authority, according to the pureft maxims of reprefentation derived from them, declare, That whatever punishment fhall be inHicted upon any perfons in the power of cur enemies, for favouring, aiding, or abe ting, the caufe of American liberty, fhall be retaliated in the fame kind, and the fame degree, upon thofe, in our power, who have favoured, aided, or abetted, or fhall favour, aid, or abet, the fyftem of ministerial oppreffion. The effential difference between our caufe and that of our enemies might juftify a feverer purifhment: the law of retalia
"Rhode-ifland, Nov. 13. On the 6th inftant, the general affembly here paffed an act" for the punishment of perfons who fhall be found guilty of holding a traitorous correfpondence with the miniftry of G. Britain, or any of their officers or agents; or of supplying the ministerial army or navy that now is, or may be employed in America, against the United Colonies, with provifions, cannon, arms, ammunition, or warlike or naval ftores, or of acting as pilots on board any of their fhips or veffels." Any perfon fo offending is to fuffer death, as in cafes of felony; and fhall forfeit his lands, goods, and chattels, to the colony, to be difpofed of by the general affembly as they fhall think fit, all neceffary charges of profecution, condemnation, and execution, being first deduct ed."
"Providence, Nov. 11. An act has paffed the Houfe, fequeftrating the eftates of Thomas Hutchinfon, Efq; late Governor of the Maffachufet's-bay, Gilbert Deblois, Dr Thomas Moffet, Samuel Sewall, G. Rome, Jahleel and Benjamin Brenton, and several other eftates within this colony."
"London, Jan. 22. By a private letter from Pennsylvania, we learn, that three manor eftates, called Banfellaars, Leving flone, and Phillipbourg manors, containing 570,000 acres, being equal to the counties of Middlefex and Huntingdon, as populous as moft counties in England, and the people as great vaffals as the Scotch, are to be confifcated, The people the continental congrefs have agreed to franchise; and as great inconveniencies have arisen to the public from thefe manors, which are grants of the crown, and the owners of which being apprehenfive of their being vacated,
have ever been too obedient to miniftry, particularly in the debate concerning fending delegates to the continental congrefs, when the three provinces put a negative upon that measure; for this reafon the congrefs have it under confideration to follow the example of Rhodeilland, by vacating the above grants, and confiscating them to the use of carrying on the war."
After the furrender of Chamblee and St John's [xxxvii. 651, 3], the provincials extended their conquests in Canada, by the reduction of Montreal. garrison had abandoned the town.
“New London, Dec. 1. Laft Monday night, Capt. Jeremiah Hatsey arrived exprefs, from Canada, to Gov. Turnbull, at Lebanon, with the following intelligence: That on the night of Nov. 12. Gen. Carleton, after having spiked up the cannon, and drove balls into the muzzles, robbed the merchants of what quantities of powder they were poffeffed of, thipped it and all the small arms on board the tranfports and armed veffels; and, with about 100 foldiers, and as many Canadian Tories as were inclined to go, embarked, and abandoned the city of Montreal."
Gen. Schuyler, in a letter to a gentleman at Albany, dated, Ticonderoga, (where he had been obliged to remain by ficknefs), Nov. 21. writes thus. "You will be pleafed to communicate to the committee of the city and county of Albany the further fuccefs of our arms. Gen. Montgomery poffeffed himfelf of Montreal on the 13th inftant. Col. Arnold is arrived at Quebec; fo that, in all probability, the entire province of Canada, as formerly limited, will be in our poffeffion foon, if not already: events which, I hope, will have a tendency to bring the miniftry of our fovereign to reasonable terms.-That Heaven may again, and speedily, reanite us in every bond of affection and intereft; that the British empire may become the envy and admiration of the univerfe, and flourish, until the Omnipotent Mafter thereof shall be pleased to put his Fiat on all earthly empires, is the fincere with of," &c.
After the garrifon had abandoned Montreal, the inhabitants, reprefented by the fubfcribers, duly elected for that purpose, (viz. John Porteous, Pierre Pannet, John Blake, Pierre Maziere, James Finlay, St George Dupree, James
M'Gill, Louis Carrignant, Richard Huntly, Francois Mathiot, Edw. Wm Grey, and Pierre Guy,) demanded the following terms.
Art. 1. That the citizens and inhabitants of Montreal, as well individuals, as religious orders and communities, without any exceptions, fhall be maintained in the free poffeffion and enjoyment of their rights, goods, and effects, moveable and immoveable, of what nature foever they may be.
2. That the inhabitants, French and English, fhall be maintained in the free exercife of their religion.
3. That trade in general, as well within the province, as in the upper coun tries, and parts beyond the feas, shall be carried on freely as heretofore, and passports fhall be granted for that purpose.
4. That pafsports shall also be granted to those who may want them, for the different parts of this province, or elsewhere, on their lawful affairs.
5. That the citizens and inhabitants of the town and fuburbs of Montreal fhall not be compelled, on any pretence whatfoever, to take up arms against the mother-country, nor to contribute in any manner towards carrying on war against her.
6. That the citizens and inhabitants of the town and fuburbs, or any part of the country, who have taken up arms for the defence of this province, and are taken prifoners, fhall be fet at liberty.
7. That the courts of juftice fhall be eftablished for the determination of property, and that the judges of the faid courts fhall be elected by the people.
8. That the inhabitants of the town fhall not be fubjected to lodge troops.
9. That no inhabitants of the country, or favages, fhall be permitted to enter the town, until the commandant shall have taken poffeffion, and provided for the fecurity thereof.
Montreal, Nov. 12. 1775.
This engagement is understood, and declared, to be binding on any future commanding officer of the continental troops that may fucceed me in this diftri&t. RICHARD MONTGOMERY, Brigadier-General of the Continental Army.'
A letter, dated, Camp before Quebec, near the General Hofpital, Dec. 6. runs thus."I wrote you the 21ft ult. giving you fome particulars of our march, proceedings, &c. fince which Gen. Montgomery has joined us with artillery, and about 3000 men; and yesterday we arrived here from Point aux Trembles, and are making preparations to attack the enemy; who are in clofe garrifon, but cannot hold out long, as, from the beft accounts, they are much divided among themfelves, and a prodigious panic has feized them all. Carleton, we
are told, is determined to hold out to
the very laft. All his friends, or rather
To counterbalance the advantages in
lence: they are come for the exprefs purpofe of giving liberty and fecurity: The General, therefore, engages his ho nour to maintain, in the peaceable enjoyment of their property of every kind, the individuals and religious communities of the city of Montreal.
The inhabitants, whether English, French, or others, fhall be maintained in the free exercise of their religion.
The prefent unhappy contention ber tween G. Britain and her colonies, puts it out of his power to engage for freedom of trade to the mother-country, nor can he make a general promife of paffports: As far as it may confift with the fafety of the troops, and the public good, he fhall be happy to promote commerce; and for that purpofe promifes to grant paffports for the upper
countries when required.
The General hopes to fee fuch a provincial virtuous convention assembled, as will enter with zeal into every measure that can contribute to fet the civil and religious rights of this and her fifter-coTonies on a permanent foundation. He promifes for himself, that he will not compel the inhabitants of the town to take up arms against the mother-country, or contribute towards the expence of the prefent war.
The continental army came into this province for its protection; they there fore cannot confider their oppofers as taking up arms for its defence.
It is not in the General's power to engage for the return of prifoners. Motives of humanity will induce him to ufe his intereft for their return to their families, provided it can be done without endangering the public fafety.
Speedy meafures fhall be taken for eftablishing courts of juftice, upon the moft liberal plan, conformable to the British conftitution.
The inhabitants fhall not be burthened with troops, but when neceffity requires it, of which neceffity the General must be judge.
The inhabitants of the country, and favages, fhall not enter the town till the guards are pofted.
To-morrow morning, at nine o'clock, the continental troops fhall take poffeffion of the Recollects gate; the officers muft attend, with the keys of all public ftores, upon the Quartermaftergeneral, at nine o'clock, at the RecolBeats gate.
Canada, Lord Dunmore has erected the King's ftandard in Virginia; to which great numbers have repaired, both whites and blacks; and has obtained fome adantages over the Virginians.- Previoufly to this measure, his Excellency caufed the following proclamation to be iffued.
"As I have ever entertained hopes that an accommodation might have taken place between G. Britain and this colony, without being compelled, by my duty, to this moft difagreeable, but now ablolutely neceffary ftep, rendered fo by a body of armed men, unlawfully affembled, firing on his Majefty's tenders [xxxvii. 660.], and the formation of an army, and that army now on their march to attack his Majefty's troops, and deftroy the well-difpofed fubjects of this colony: To defeat fuch treasonable purpofes; and that all fuch traitors, and their abettors, may be brought to juftice; and that the peace and good order of this colony may be again reftored, which the ordinary courfe of the civil law is unable to effect, I have thought fit to iffue this my proclamation, hereby declaring, That until the aforefaid good purposes can be obtained, I do, in virtue of the power and authority to me given by his Majety, determine to exécute martial law, and caufe the fame to be executed throughout this colony: And to the end that peace and good order may the fooner be restored, I do require every perfon capable of bearing arms, to refort to his Majefty's ftandard, or be looked upon as traitors to his Majefty's crown and government, and thereby become liable to the penalty the law inflicts upon fuch offences; fuch as, forfeiture of life, confcation of lands, &c. And I do hereby farther declare, all indented fervants, Begroes, or others, (appertaining to rebels), free, that are able and willing to bear arms, they joining his Majefty's troops, as foon as may be, for the more Speedily reducing this colony to a proper fenfe of their duty to his Majefty's crown and dignity. I do farther order, and require, all his Majefty's liege fubjects, to retain their quit-rents, or any other taxes dec, or that may become due, in their own cuftody, till fuch time as peace may be again reftored to this at prefent most unhappy country, or demanded of them, for their former falutary purpofes, by officers properly authorifed to receive the
Francis Legge, Efq; Governor of Nova Scotia, opened the affembly of that province, on Friday, Oct. 20. with the following speech.
"Gentlemen of the Council, and Houfe of Representatives,
THE particular fituation and circumftances of this province, at this alarming conjuncture of affairs in America, has made it neceffary to call you together at
From the beft information of the in
tentions of the Americans, who are now affembled in arms against his Majesty's government, I have reafon to think, they are meditating to difturb the peace and tranquillity of the inhabitants of this colony; proofs of which I fhall order to be laid before you: and as selfdefence is the firft law of nature, and the confideration of it of the higheft importance to your conftituents, I do recommend to your ferious deliberation thofe measures which will moft conduce to the fafety and protection of the province. Among other weighty affairs, the state and condition of the colony in refpect to provifion, is become alarming: and though it is our duty to contribute to the utmost of our ability to furnish the army and navy with refreshments, and every neceffary; yet I am of opinion, fome rules and regulations might be made, to prevent the enhancing the price of provifions, and its being diverted to other purpofes. As this is a matter of great importance, and is become veTy interefting to the people in general, but more particularly to the inhabitants of Halifax, I must recommend it to your deliberations, that fome measure may be adopted which will give a fatisfactory re
Your firm attachment to his facred
Majefty, and his government, and your zeal in promoting the fame fentiments a
mong the inhabitants, have given me the highest fatisfaction; the fame union and harmony in all your deliberations, will tend to the advancement of the public good; and, you may be affured, I fhall moft heartily concur in every measure that will promote the peace, fafety, and intereft, of this province."
On Monday, the 23d, Mr Speaker, and the members, waited on his Excellency with their address, viz.
May it please your Excellency, WE, his Majefty's dutiful and loyal fubjects,