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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Robert Howe to Edmund Pendleton
Howe, Robert, 1732-1786
December 25, 1775
Volume 10, Page 365

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[Reprinted from American Archives. Vol. 4. Page 452.]
Letter from Col. Howe to the President of the Virginia Convention.

Norfolk, December 25th, 1775.

Yesterday, by a flag of truce, I received a letter from Captain Bellew, copy of which I have the honour to transmit you, with a copy of those I have written to him, Though Colonel Woodford and myself were sensible it was our duty to withhold from him, as much as in our power lay, those supplies he wished to obtain, Yet the moderate conduct he has pursued, and the sentiments of humanity by which he seems to be actuated, induced us to delay an answer till to-day, and to couch it in terms which cannot but show him, that occasion, not inclination, had influence upon our conduct. Captain Bellew's letter was brought us by one of his Lieutenants; he expressed for himself and every officer on board, the reluctance they should feel, if compelled by necessity, they should be obliged, by marauding parties, to snatch from the indigent farmers of this Colony those provisions they were so willing to purchase. I thought proper Sir, to give you this information; and through you, Colonel Woodford and myself beg leave to submit it to the consideration of your honourable Board, whether we are to show any indulgence to those people, and, if we are, to what bounds we are to extend it.

Major Ruffin, and about one hundred and eighty Minute-Men, arrived last night; it was a seasonable relief to our Soldiers, almost worn out with duty this very bad weather.

I was honoured with your letter yesterday, and are made happy to find our proceedings are approved of. The order it conveys, and all others which we may receive, we shall endeavour to execute with the greatest punctuality.