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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Minutes of the Wilmington Committee of Safety
Wilmington (N.C.). Committee of Safety
November 23, 1774 - November 26, 1774
Volume 09, Pages 1088-1091

[From MS. Records in Office of Secretary of State.]
Proceedings of the Safety Committee at Wilmington.

Wilmington, November 23, 1774.

At a meeting of the Freeholders in the Court House at Wilmington, for the purpose of choosing a Committee for said town, to carry

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more effectually into execution the Resolves of the late Congress held at Philadelphia, the following names were proposed and universally assented:

Cornelius Harnet; Jno. Quince; Fr's Clayton; William Hooper; Robert Hogg; Jno. Ancrum; Arch'd McLain; Jno. Robinson; James Walker.

The Committee then adjourned until 6 o'clock that Evening.


Wilmington, Nov. 23, 6 o'clock, P. M.

Present: Arch'd McLain; Jno. Quince; Jno. Ancrum; Fr's Clayton; James Walker.

It being then moved that Ancrum, Forster and Brice and others, having imported quantities of Teas in the brig Sally, capt. Innes, not knowing how to dispose of them, had by the interposition of capt. Forster informed the Committee thereof, in the Court House, immediately after the election craving their advice: It was Resolved—That though this application did not come properly under the cognizance of a Committee chosen to inspect the conduct of the inhabitants of this town, regarding certain Resolves entered into by the Continental Congress—yet as capt. Forster and the other gentlemen concerned, choose to walk hand in hand with their approbation, the following letter, to Mr. Hill was agreed to:

Wilmington, November 23, 1774.

Mr. Hill: Sir: This day, at a very numerous meeting of the Freeholders of this town, for the purpose of appointing a Committee, to carry more effectually into execution the Resolutions of the late Continental Congress, the subscribers to this letter were chosen and compose a majority thereof. The first article presented to our notice being a quantity of Teas imported by yourself and others in your brig Sally, capt. Innis: we inquire of you, and beg your immediate answer, whether said tea may not be regularly remitted by the vessel, and whether the Custom-house will in that case have any right to demand the duty or refuse clearing her out.

Signed by all the members present.

The Committee then adjourned to the 25th inst.


Wilmington, Nov. 23, 1774.

The Committee met according to adjournment.

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Present: Arch'd McLain; Jno. Ancrum; Robert Hogg; James Walker; Jno. Quince; Francis Clayton:

When Mr. Hill's answer being produced was read as follows:

Brunswick, November 24, 1774.

Gentlemen: I cannot take upon me to answer your inquiries concerning the tea brought into this port by the Sally. The Collector and Comptroller, I hear, will be at Wilmington to-morrow, or next day. The management of the King's duty is particularly their department, and they will determine whether the tea may regularly be remitted by the vessel, or whether the duty is to be paid; or whether they will clear it out.

The safety of the people is, or ought to be, the Supreme Law: the gentlemen of the Committee will judge whether this Law, or an Act of Parliament, should, at this particular time, operate in North Carolina. I believe every tea importer will cheerfully submit to their determination—I can answer for, gentlemen—your most obedient,


It was agreed to by a majority, after the point had been maturely reasoned, that the subject was not in the extent of the Committee's inspection, and that it ought to be recommended to those concerned to conduct themselves with discretion and for the good of the country.

The Committee then adjourned to the 26th inst.


Wilmington, Nov. 26th, 1774.

The Committee met according to adjournment.

Present: Francis Clayton, Robert Hogg; Jno. Ancrum; John Quince; James Walker, and Archibald McLain.

The Committee finding that several gentlemen intended to start horses, which they have had some time in keeping, for the Wilmington subscription purse, on Monday, the 28th inst., and the general Congress having particularly condemned horse-racing, as an expensive diversion, The committee thought proper to send the following admonitory circular letter to the several gentlemen who had kept horses for the race, to wit:

Wilmington, Nov. 26th, 1774.

Sir: The Continental Congress, lately held at Philadelphia, representing the several American colonies, from Nova Scotia to Georgia,

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associated and agreed among other things, for themselves and their constituents, to “discountenance and discourage every species of extravagance and dissipation, especially all horse-racing, and all kinds of gaming, cock-fighting, exhibitions of shows and plays and other expensive diversions and entertainments;” and we being a majority of the committee, chosen by the freeholders of Wilmington to observe the conduct of all persons touching the association of the said Congress, think it our indispensable duty to inform you that in our opinion, the avowed intention of running horses for the subscription purse near this town on the 28th inst. if carried into execution, will be subversive of the said association, and a breach of the resolves of the general Congress; and that if the gentlemen who intended to enter horses for the said purse (of whom we understand you are one) persist in running the race, we shall be under the disagreeable necessity of bearing public testimony against a proceeding which immediately strikes at the ground of the association and resolves, by disuniting the people.

You must be sensible, Sir, that the Americans have not the most distant prospect of being restored to their former rights or of succeeding in their attempts to defeat a venal and corrupt ministry and Parliament, but by an unanimous adherence to the resolutions and advice of their representatives in the late general Congress; and as a friend to your country we have no doubt but you will readily relinquish an amusement that however laudable in other respects, is certainly attended with considerable expense, and even destruction to many individuals; and may very justly be condemned at a time when frugality should be one of our leading virtues.

We shall only add that nothing will so effectually tend to convince the British Parliament that we are in earnest in our opposition to their measures, as a voluntary relinquishment of our favorite amusements. Those who will take the trouble of making observations on mankind, must soon be convinced, that the people who abandon their pleasures for the public good, are not to be biased by any other consideration. Many will cheerfully give up part of their property to secure the remainder. He only is the determined patriot who willingly sacrifices his pleasures on the altar of freedom. We are &c. Which was signed by the committee present.

The committee then adjourned to the 10th of December.