Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from William Howe to William Legge, Earl of Dartmouth
Howe, William Howe, Viscount, 1729-1814
January 22, 1776
Volume 10, Pages 420-421

[Reprinted from the American Archives. Vol. 4. Page 812.]
Letter from Major-General William Howe to the Earl of Dartmouth.

Boston, January 22nd, 1776.

My Lord:

I have the honour to inform your Lordship that His Majesty's ship, Centurion, arrived the 18th instant, and that she spoke three weeks ago with the Argo, transport, having three companies of the Forty-Sixth Regiment on board, in good health at that time.

Major-General Clinton sailed the 20th, in the morning, in the Mercury, (frigate), the Falcon (sloop), being before sent directly to Cape Fear to wait the arrival of the transports. A copy of your Lordship's dispatch of the 22nd October, is given as the principal guidance of his conduct, while local circumstances, and good intelligence, determine him in pursuing the main objects of his expedition. He has blank commissions for his officers, in case it should be found at any time advisable to embody Provincials for the service; and I have sent commissions to three gentlemen who have

-------------------- page 421 --------------------
been long in North Carolina, to secure the attachment of the Highlanders settled in that Colony, on a promise from General Gage, that they should have appointments in the Second Battalion of Royal Highland Emigrants, to be formed as soon as the first was known to be completed, which it has been for some time, as appears by collecting all the returns received in their dispersed situation.

In prosecution of General Gage's intentions, I have likewise issued commissions to two Captains in this corps, who have actually raised their companies in Nova-Scotia, and to two others who have been employed on the regiments duty, and whose complement of men appears, also, to be raised. However, I shall proceed no further in forming the Second Battalion, until more certain accounts of their success in recruiting are received; and as I am furnished with no particular instructions concerning this corps, I could wish to be honoured with His Majesty's commands relative thereto.

Robberies, and house breaking in particular, had got to such a height in this town, that some examples had become necessary to suppress it. Two soldiers, late of the Fifty Ninth Regiment of Foot, have been tried, convicted, and sentenced to suffer death, for breaking into and robbing the store-house of Messrs. Nathaniel and William Coffin; one of them has suffered; the other, Thomas Owen as a young offender, and having other circumstances to plead in his favour, I have thought proper to reprieve, conforming to the power expressed in my commission, as follows: “We giving you power to reprieve any person under sentence until our pleasure be known.” And I humbly entreat your Lordship to recommend the said Thomas Owen for His Majesty's Royal pardon.

I am &c.