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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
November 07, 1775
Volume 10, Pages 306-308

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

Whitehall 7th Novr 1775.


Since my Letter to you of the 27th of last month inclosing Copy of my Dispatch to Major General Howe, of the 22nd of that month, the plan and object of the intended Expedition to the Southward to which that Dispatch refers, have been very naturally [maturely] considered.

It has been found upon full Examination that the Entrance and Navigation of Cape Fear River are at least very hazardous if not impracticable to Vessels of a large Draught of water, and consequently that Troops disembarked within that River could receive no protection in their landing from Ships of War. It is thought advisable however, that they should proceed according to their original destination from a hope, that although it may be impracticable for the fleet to cover and assist the landing of so large a Body as seven Regiments yet the disembarkation of a small part may be affected, in case you shall be of opinion that they will not be opposed, and that they will be joined by any considerable

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number of well disposed persons, so as to accomplish the restoration of Government, but if such landing either of the whole or of any part, cannot be effected, without hazard of opposition, and there is not a certainty that they would be immediately joined by such a number of the well disposed Inhabitants, as would when once assembled under the countenance of the King's Troops be able to maintain themselves and support the King's Government, no possible advantage could attend any Effort in North Carolina and in that case the General who commands the Expedition, and who will probably be arrived off Cape Fear River by the time this Letter reaches you will be instructed to proceed with the whole Body of the Forces under his Command to Charles Town, in order to try what may be effected there towards restoring Government in South Carolina, for it is necessary I should again state to you that this enterprize is entirely formed upon the assurances given by yourself and the rest of His Majesty's Governors in the Southern Provinces, that even upon the appearance of a Force, much inferior to what is now sent, the Friends of Government would show themselves, and the Rebellion be crushed and subdued.

If we are deceived in this expectation and these Assurances, or if the Friends of Government when collected in Arms, shall not find themselves strong enough to support that Government without the assistance of regular Troops, the Expedition will be of little avail and all that will be left to the King's General to do, will be to place the Army under his Command in some secure situation until the season of the year will admit of their going with safety to join General Howe, which juncture will most probably be effected with greater facility and much earlier than it could be done from hence.

It the General who is to have the Command of these Troops, should be at Cape Fear when you receive this, or before the Troops arrive, you will communicate this letter to him, apprising him at the same time that he will receive full Instructions from me, by the Commanding officer of the Regiments that are sent out.

If you should be of opinion after all that I have stated of the difficulty in respect to landing Troops in North Carolina, that a part of the Force sent out may be employed there to effect, and the General should concur in that opinion, the utmost activity in Preparation will be necessary, and you should loose no time in sending Emissaries amongst the Inhabitants of the well-disposed Counties with Authority and Commission to the principal persons of Trust

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and Confidence for raising and embodying as many men as can be procured, and informing them of His Majesties Intentions of supplying them with Arms and giving them the same pay as the Regular Troops, as soon as they come down, which they should be encouraged to do, as soon as they hear of the arrival of the Troops upon the Coast, bringing down with them Horses and Waggons for the use of the Army, for which they will be very liberally paid and rewarded.

These Emissaries should also be instructed to assure the Men so raised, that they will not be obliged to serve out of the Province, without their Consent, nor any longer than the present troubles continue. And it may not be improper to engage for a remission of all arrears of Quit Rents and for Grants of Land to such as shall enter into this Service, in proportion to their Rank and Merit, with an exemption from the payment of any Quit Rents for twenty years from the date of the Grants.

I am etc.,