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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Article from the North-Carolina Gazette concerning resistance to the Stamp Act in Wilmington and New Bern
No Author
November 20, 1765
Volume 07, Pages 123-125

[Reprinted from North Carolina Gazette, 2th November, 1765.]

(November 20.)

(Numb. 58.)

Wilmington, 20.

On Saturday the 19th of last Month, about Seven of the Clock in the Evening, near Five Hundred People assembled together in this Town, and exhibited the Effigy of a certain Honourable Gentleman; and after letting it hang by the Neck for some Time, near the Court-House, they made a large Bonfire with a Number of TarBarrels, &c. and committed it to the Flames.—The Reason assigned for the People's Dislike to that Gentleman, was, from being informed of his having several Times expressed himself much in Favour of the STAMP-DUTY.—After the Effigy was consumed, they went to every House in Town, and bro't all the Gentlemen to the Bonfire, and insisted upon their drinking, LIBERTY, PROPERTY, AND NO STAMP-DUTY, and Confusion to Lord B-TE and all his Adherents, giving three Huzzas at the Conclusion of each Toast.—They continued together until 12 of the Clock, and then dispersed, without doing any Mischief. And,

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On Thursday, 31st of the same Month, in the Evening, a great Number of People again assembled, and produced an Effigy of Liberty, which they put into a Coffin, and marched in solemn Procession with it to the Church-Yard, a Drum in Mourning beating before them, and the Town Bell, muffled, ringing a doleful Knell at the same Time:—But before they committed the Body to the Ground, they thought it adviseable to feel its Pulse; and when finding some Remains of Life, they returned back to a Bonfire ready prepared, placed the Effigy before it in a large Two-arm'd Chair, and concluded the Evening with great Rejoicings, on finding that LIBERTY had still an Existence in the Colonies.—Not the least Injury was offered to any Person.

On Saturday the 16th of this Inst. William Houston, Esq; Distributor of STAMPS for this Province, came to this Town; upon which three or four Hundred People immediately gathered together, with Drums beating and Colours flying, and repaired to the House the said Stamp-Officer put up at, and insisted upon knowing, “Whether he intended to execute his said Office, or not?” He told them, “He should be very sorry to execute any Office disagreeable to the People of the Province.” But they, not content with such a Declaration, carried him into the Court-House, where he signed a Resignation satisfactory to the Whole.

As soon as the Stamp-Officer had comply'd with their Desire, they placed him in an Arm-Chair, carried him first round the CourtHouse, giving three Huzzas at every Corner, and then proceeded with him round one of the Squares of the Town, and sat him down at the Door of his Lodgings, formed themselves in a large Circle round him, and gave him three Cheers: They then escorted him into the House, where was prepared the best Liquors to be had, and treated him very genteely. In the Evening a large Bonfire was made, and no Person appeared in the Streets without having LIBERTY, in large Capital Letters, in his Hat.—They had a large Table near the Bonfire, well furnish'd with several Sorts of Liquors, where they drank in great Form, all the favourite American Toasts, giving three Cheers at the Conclusion of each. The whole was conducted with great Decorum, and not the least Insult offered to any Person.

Immediately after the appointed Stamp-Master had comply'd with their Commands, they call'd upon Mr. A STUART, the Printer,—(who had not printed the GAZETTE for some weeks before

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the ACT took Place, it having pleased GOD to afflict him with a dangerous Fever) when he appeared, they ask'd him, if “He would continue his Business, as heretofore?—And Publish a Newspaper?” He told them, that “As he had no Stampt Paper, and as a late ACT of Parliament FORBID the Printing on any other, He could not.—He was then positively told, that “If he did not, he might expect the same Treatment of the STAMP-MEN,” and demanded a positive Answer:—Mr. Stuart then answer'd, “That rather than run the Hazard of Life, being maimed, or have his Printing-Office destroy'd, that he would comply with their Request;” but took the WHOLE for Witness, that he was compell'd thereto.

His Excellency our GOVERNOR has been for some Time past very ill of Health: but we have the pleasure to say he is now recovering.

Circular Letters were sent last Week by the Governor, to the Principal Inhabitants in this Part of the Province, requesting their Presence at his Seat at Brunswick, on Monday last; where, after Dinner, his Excellency conferr'd with them concerning the Stamp-Act: The Result of which shall be in our Next.

We hear from Newbern, that the Inhabitants of that Place, try'd, condemn'd, hang'd, and burn'd Doctor William Houston, in Effigy, during the Sitting of their Superior Court.—Mr. Houston, however, thinks that there was too much of the Star-Chamber Conduct made Use of, in condemning him unheard; especially as he had never solicited the Office: Nor had he then heard he was appointed Stamp-Officer.—At Cross-Creek, 'tis said, they hang'd his Effigy and M' Carter's together, (he who murder'd his Wife;) nor have they spar'd him even in Duplin, the County where he lives.

We are told that no Clearances will be granted out of our Port, till a Change of Affairs.

Note.—On the margin appeared the following:

Its Brow's the Title Page,

That speaks the nature of a TRAGIC Volume!—Shakes.

This is the place to affix the STAMP [Just above a ghastly skull and bones.—Editor.]