Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Minutes of the Wilmington Committee of Safety
Wilmington (N.C.). Committee of Safety
January 05, 1775 - January 27, 1775
Volume 09, Pages 1108-1113

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

Thursday, January 5th, 1775.

The Committee met according to adjournment, and chose Cornelius Harnett Esq. Chairman, and Mr. Francis Clayton deputy Chairman.

Present: Cornelius Harnett, Chairman, Francis Clayton; Deputy Chairman.

-------------------- page 1109 --------------------

Sampson Moseley, John Ashe, John Quince, George Moore, William Jones, L. C., William Jones, W. T., John Ancrum, Wm. Robeson, F. Jones, Samuel Swann, Thos. Devane, John Marshall, Samuel Ashe, Wm. Hooper, Archibald M'Laine, Robt. Hogg.

Resolved, That the following notice be sent to the Merchants of Wilmington, by Mr Swann and Mr Robeson, to wit:

To the Merchants of the town of Wilmington, Masters of vessels and traders: The committees of the county of New-Hanover, and of the town of Wilmington, united and met for the important purpose of carrying into execution the resolves of the Continental Congress, earnestly request of you, as well wishers to the common cause of America, in which we are all embarked, to signify to them, by the bearers of this, if you have any gunpowder on hand, and what quantity, that this committee, may in consequence of that information, take the most prudent steps, to guard against the melancholy effects, which may result from this part of the Province, being left in a state totally deficient from the want of ammunition. It is likewise requested that you would cease to make further sales thereof, until informed by the committee.


Mr. Owen Kenan, as holder of two notes of hand, of one hundred and fifty pounds each, from Jesse Barfield, to Lechansius Dekeyser, and from the said Dekeyser, to the said Barfield, and of two other notes of hand, for one hundred pounds, Virginia currency, each, from Alexander Outlaw, William Robeson and Wm. Jones, to John Lawson, and from the said Lawson and John Ashe, to Alexander Outlaw, for two races to be run between the several parties, was summoned to appear, and compelled to deliver up the said notes and the agreements made for running the said races, and the committee unanimously resolved to indemnify the said Owen Kenan for all damages he may hereafter sustain by the delivery of the said notes and agreement.

Mr. Swann, and Mr. Robeson, returned an account of the gunpowder, in Wilmington, 143lbs. in the hands of the several merchants applied to.1

-------------------- page 1110 --------------------

Mr. Thomas Craike, was requested by the committee, to act as Secretary, which he readily agreed to.

The committee sent the papers of the following tenor, to the persons within named by Mr. Swann, and Mr. Robeson.

Mr. John Burgwin, John Robeson, McTier, Ancrum, Foster and Brice, Thomas Orr, George and Thomas Hooper, Hogg and Campbell, George Doherty, and Charles Jecokes.

The King's proclamation prohibiting the further exportation of gunpowder from Great Britain, renders it highly necessary, that some expedient should be adopted to prevent the melancholy consequence which to a province in respect to its inhabitants, circumstanced as this is, may in future arise from a total want of that article, We, therefore gentlemen, assure ourselves, that you, animated with the same liberal sentiments that we feel, will contribute what at present falls to your particular department for the promotion of the public good.

The quantity of Gunpowder which is at present in the town is very inconsiderable, and it is absolutely necessary, that what there is should be reserved for any future emergencies, that we may be prepared for every the worst contingencies.

We therefore, gentlemen, entreat you by the ties of honor and virtue, and love for your country, as you prize the regard of your fellow-citizens, as you wish to avoid the censure of this committee, and those whom they represent, that you would not within thirty days from this time, remove out of this town, or make sale of any of the gunpowder which you have reported to this committee, as the stock you have upon hand before the expiration of which time, this committee will endeavor to collect by subscription, and they doubt not of success, a sum sufficient to purchase and pay you for the whole of it at the reasonable price of three shillings per pound, which some of your well disposed brethren have consented to take. And as it is intended, to be made use of as much for your security as of the rest of the inhabitants of this part of the province, we address you with a certainty of succeeding in this application, which should it appear to you to carry with it any thing uncommon, will find an ample vindication in the present critical circumstances of this province.

-------------------- page 1111 --------------------

Mr. Swann and Mr. Robeson, made report to the committee, that all the persons applied to had complied to the request of the committee, excepting Mr. Burgwin, whose answers appeared to be evasive, as he neither specified the quantity of powder he could spare nor absolutely fixed the price he would take for it. Therefore,

Resolved, unanimously, that Mr. Burgwin's answer is unsatisfactory, and deserves the censure of this committee, and that he have notice thereof.

The committee then adjourned until 9 o'clock the next day.


Friday, January 6th, 9 o'clock.

The Committee met according to adjournment.

Present: Cornelius Harnett, Chairman, Francis Clayton, Deputy Chairman.

Wm. Hooper, Saml Ashe, George Merrick, James Moore, Bishop Dudley, Alexander Lillington, Thos. Devane, Samuel Marshall, Wm. Jones, L. C., Wm. Jones, W. T., Frederick Jones, James Walker, Archibald M'Laine, Wm. Robeson, Saml Swann, John Robeson.

Mr. Burgwin's letter to the Chairman, was produced and read, and ordered to be copied as follows:

Friday Morning.

Dear Sir: By what I hear passed in the Committee last evening, I imagine some misapprehension has taken place, as surely it cannot be supposed, I intended any insult to a set of Gentlemen, for whom individually, I have a high respect.

I was quite unacquainted with the quantity of powder we had on hand, and I told the gentlemen, who came to me, that my powder cost seven shillings per hundred more than any in town, being made by a particular sample I had sent home for the purpose, and I thought we ought to have two shillings a pound more for it; however we should not disagree about trifles—and that I would give orders, none of it should be sold, but reserved as requested.

On the second application of Mr. Swann and Mr. Robeson, I think I told them with respect to two half barrels of Mrs. W's., as it was her property, should she send for it, I must deliver it to her order—but that I had no doubt of her acceptance of the price, and that I should write to her by the first opportunity.

Thus far, I have repeated if not the very words, the substance of what passed on this subject, and should be extremely sorry to act in any respect contrary to the true interest of my country, or give

-------------------- page 1112 --------------------
offence to any individual in it. Had I reflected a moment, I should have referred the Gentlemen, to Mr. Graham, who is empowered to transact Mrs. Waddel's business, and could have answered for her at once—and to whom I now beg it to be referred.

Dear sir, your most obd't servant,

The committee on hearing the above letter read, ordered the following answer to be sent him by the Chairman.

Sir: Your letter to me, respecting the messages sent to you about your gunpowder, has been read to the committee, and they have desired me to acquaint you, that they are satisfied with it.

I am sir, Yours &c.

The committee requested of Mr. Ancrum and Mr. Quince, that they would inspect the Custom-House books at Brunswick, and report accordingly, which they agreed to do on Monday next.

The committee then adjourned until the 20th inst.


Friday, January 20th.

Present: Cornelius Harnett, Chairman, Francis Clayton, Deputy Chairman.

Samuel Swann, Timothy Bloodwoth, John Quince, John Ancrum, Archibald M'Laine, Samuel Ashe, Wm. Jones, L. C., James Walker, Wm. Hooper.

Mr. Quince, and Mr. Ancrum, reported to the committee, their return of the vessels entered at the Custom-House since the 5th day of November 1774, to the 4th January 1775, which was ordered to be filed.

James Grant, was appointed messenger to the committee, who agreed to act in that capacity.

The committee then adjourned until 10 o'clock the next day.


10 o'clock, Saturday, Jan. 21st., 1775.

The committee met according to adjournment.

Present: Cornelius Harnett, Chairman, Francis Clayton, Deputy Chairman.

Samuel Ashe, Timothy Bloodworth, Wm. Jones, L. C., Sampson Moseley, John Quince, John Robeson, John Ancrum, John Ashe, Joel Parish, Wm. Hooper, Samuel Swann.

-------------------- page 1113 --------------------

Messrs. George and Thomas Hooper, H. Blackmore, Arthur Mabson and Peter Mallett, reported sundry negroes, imported by them since the 1st day of December last.

Resolved, That notice be sent to Messrs. George and Thomas Hooper, Hinall Blackmore, Arthur Mabson, and Peter Mallett, to re-ship, by the first opportunity, the sundry negroes they have imported since the first day of December last. It being the opinion of this Committee that such importations are contrary to the resolves of the Continental Congress, and a particular resolve of this committee.

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this committee, a meeting of the merchants and traders of the town are necessary, in order to agree about the rates of goods, they have for sale to prevent, as far as possible, any advantage being taken from the present situation of this province, with America in General, rating goods higher than they were formerly sold at.

The committee then adjourned until 3 o'clock.


Friday Morning. [January 27th 1775.]

The committee met according to adjournment, and entered into the following resolves.

Present: Cornelius Harnett, Chairman, Francis Clayton, Deputy Chairman.

William Hooper, John Ancrum, Samuel Ashe, John Quince, John Robeson, James Walker, Samuel Swann, Samuel Marshall, Robert Hogg, Timothy Bloodworth, Wm. Jones, L. C.

Resolved, That any quantity of Salt, not exceeding 5 bushels, be sold, at not more than three shillings and sixpence, and any other quantity not higher than three shillings and fourpence, per bushel.

Resolved, That Dry Goods for ready pay, be sold not higher than two shillings and 2d, for one on the sterling cost, excepting small articles, that are perishable, and not exceeding seven shillings and sixpence profit, to be sold as usual, and all dry goods sold on credit at the same rate as they have been sold at for 12 months past.

Resolved, That the permission of Billiard Tables, in this town, is repugnant to the resolves of the General Congress, and that the proprietors of them have notice thereof. They were accordingly served with such notice, and appeared at the committee, and declared their acquiesence in the resolves.

The committee then adjourned until the 28th January next.


1 Note.—The following was appended in a small slip, pinned on to the manuscript page, and probably alluded to the quantity of powder in the town of Wilmington, at the periods designated: January 4, 1775, 100lbs. Gunpowder. December 14, 1774, 50lbs. Gunpowder.