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Letter from Ransom Southerland to Cornelius Harnett
Southerland, Ransom
July 13, 1776
Volume 10, Pages 663-665

[From MS. Records in Office of Secretary of State.]
Letter from Ransom Southerland to the Council of Safety.


Wilmington, 13th July, 1776.

Dear Sir,

I address myself to you, as a principle member of that Honble. Body who have a Right to inquire into, and Redress any grievanee civil, or Military that may exist in this Country.

Give me leave to inform you Sir, that I have Just Reasons to believe (from the Contents of a Letter I this minute Recd from the

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young man who Transacts my business at home), That a certain David Jackson, one of those Culprits who made their escape from the guards Sent by the Congress to the Northward, & was again ordered by the Council when in this place to be retaken by Colo Folsum, is now runing at large, and is Srudely Suspected to be a principle in the most Atrocious villiany that human heart could suggest, You will remember Sir, from a recent Conversation with me that there are but few people in the Neighbourhood wherein I have Resided for a few years that are friendly to ye Common Cause. One of those unhappy men was a few days since privately Shot & mortally wounded, and of his wounds he died in a few hours. Another young man who was very Active against the Tories when they imbodied last Winter was fired at a little time after, while peaceably at his dayly labour, & narrowly Escaped his life, the ball went thro' his hat within an Inch of his Scull. This Jackson Sir, & a certain Jacob Kagle is Suspected to be the authors of this Cruel & Bloody mischief, as they are now living privately in the woods. The young man also writes me that he is obliged to keep himself closely concealed within the walls of a Neighbours house to prevent (if possible) their Sliping a Ball thro' him.

I am at a loss to know what the Council may determin on, from this information as it is not in Evidence, but I do from the Confidence I have in the Youth above mentioned, assert it as a fact, and am also as certain that the lives and properties of the few friends we have in that part of the Country cannot be Secured to them unless it be by your timely interposition. The little property they have left me, is not of value Sufficient to Justify the Council in having a Small Troop at the expence of this Country to protect it,—Nor do I ask it. But you'll excuse me Sir, when I say that it effects me very Sensibly to hear that those poor fellows who manfully stood forth to Suppress the late Tory Insurrection, should now be cut off from their famalies, and Dearest Connextions, & perhaps the little property they may have to Support and raise their Children on, will be destroy'd by those bloodthirsty Scoundrels.

I wish the Council may think with me, that it is now high time the point Should be Settled with those fellows. They will then order General Rutherford, or Colo Folsum, to march immediately with 3 or 400 men into their Settlements & put those Rascals to death on Sight, & that they lay waste the Country where the inhabitants refuse to deliver the Offendors, as I am well convinced they

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are concealed by the inhabitants. This may be thought Severe doctrine, but until Something of this kind is adopted, you may rest assured no man there dare ever Say a word in favour of America, if he does, you find he does it at the Risque of his life & fortune.

With due Respect to the members of Council I beg leave to Subscribe myself, your honors

Most Obt hble. Servt
RANSOM SOUTHERLAND.

N. B.—Capt Foster Saw the Letter I have Reference to.