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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from William Legge, Earl of Dartmouth to Josiah Martin
Dartmouth, William Legge, Earl of, 1731 - 1801
May 03, 1775
Volume 09, Pages 1240-1242

[B. P. R. O. Am. & W. Ind.: No. Carolina. No. 222.]
Circular from Lord Dartmouth to Governor Martin.

Whitehall May 3rd 1775.


Your letters of the 26th of January and 10th of March No 27 and 28, the latter of which I received only yesterday contain matter of very great importance.

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The Addresses from the four counties of Guilford, Dobbs, Rowan and Surry breathe a spirit of loyalty to the King and Attachment to the Authority of Great Britain which cannot be too much encouraged and it will be necessary that you lose no time in acquainting the Inhabitants of those counties that these testimonies of their duty and affection have been most graciously received by his Majesty, that his Majesty will not fail to afford them those marks of his Royal favor which such a meritorious conduct appears to deserve and that as soon as the necessary Forms will admit his Majesty's clemency towards the Insurgents in 1770 will be extended in a Proclamation of general pardon to all except Harmon Husbands. In the mean time it is his Majesty's Pleasure that you do pursue every step that may improve so favorable a symptom in the present state of general frenzy and perhaps you will not find it difficult through the channel of some respectable persons in those counties to procure proper Associations of the People in support of Government, such a measure cannot fail to cast a damper upon the machinations of Faction and disconcert any desperate measures they may have in contemplation. I hope we may yet avoid the necessity of drawing the Sword, but it is prudent to provide as far as we are able against every possible mischief and therefore you will do well to consider in time whether it may not be practicable in such an event to embody and lead forth in support of Government such of the Men in those counties as are able to bear Arms. If matters should come to this issue it is the King's pleasure that you do hold out to Gentlemen of Interest and leading amongst them assurances of his Majesty's Favor in granting them such Commissions as shall be suitable to their Rank and station and every other encouragement and advantage allowed to any other Troops in his Majesty's service as far as is consistent with the established Rules of the Army.

I confess to you, Sir, that this appears to me to be a matter of so much importance that I cannot too earnestly recommend it to your attention and that no time may be lost in case of absolute necessity I have received his Majesty's commands to write to General Gage to apprize him of this favorable circumstance and to instruct him that he do upon application from you send some able and discreet Officer to you in order to concert the measures for carrying so essential a service into effect and if necessary to lead the people forth against any rebellious attempts to disturb the public peace.

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There are several other matters in your letters which will require consideration and Instruction, but as the Mail for Charles Town will be made up to night I can only for the present add that

I am &c.,