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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from John Penn to Thomas Person
Penn, John, 1740 or 1-1788
February 14, 1776
Volume 10, Pages 455-456

[From MS. Records in Office of Secretary of State.]
Letter from John Penn, Delegate in the Continental Congress, to Thomas Person.

Philadelphia, Feby 14th, 1776.

Dear Sir,

From a newspaper published in Ireland which arrived here today I find that the Parliament there have agreed that 4,000 Troops there should be employed against America, and to receive the like number of Hanovarians in their room. It also appears that Lord North had moved to bring in a bill to repeal the Boston Port Act, their Fishery, and the restraining act which prevents the trade of the Colonies, but to license his Majesty's armed vessels to seize the American ships wherever bound and to make prizes of them and their cargoes. There were 190 odd for the motion, 60 against it. It appears that the King and his ministers are determined if possible to subjugate us to the control of a British Parliament. All accounts mention that they intend to send a large Force against the Spring. It is said seven Battalions are alloted for No Carolina. Have we any way of opposing them and keeping those under that are inimical to us? The Virginians I make no doubt will be ready and willing to assist you upon every occasion, but may you not suffer before their Troops could get to you? I have the pleasure to assure you that our Province stands high in the opinion of Congress. The readiness with which you marched to Virginia and South Carolina hath done you great credit. It will be necessary to keep up a certain number of Battalions in the Southern Colonies, to be ready to prevent our enemies from landing and penetrating into the Country. Those that are not raised in our Province, will be in Virginia, So Carolina or Georgia. From our situation it is thought they could easier and sooner assist their Brethren than from any other part. I suspect we shall not be able to do much in the trading way when we open our ports as the British minister has been soliciting all the Powers in Europe to refuse to supply us with arms and ammunition or to trade with us at all. They have succeeded in several places so that our ships were obliged to return empty. In such a condition would it not be prudent for you to employ as many of your People at the expense of the Colonies in general as you can? Will it not be a means of providing for a number who might otherwise suffer,

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and at the same time making them good soldiers, the better able to defend their country when necessarily called upon? Could you raise four or five Battalions in the whole? If you can and approve of the measure let us know immediately, but in this matter exercise your own prudence; you are better judges than I can be. Our dispute with Britain grows serious indeed. Matters are drawing to a crisis. They seem determined to persevere and are forming alliances agt us. Must we not do something of the like nature? Can we hope to carry on a war without having trade or commerce some where? Can we ever pay any taxes without it? Will not our paper money depreciate if we go on emitting? These are serious things and require your consideration. The consequence of making alliances is perhaps a total separation with Britain and without something of that sort we may not be able to provide what is necessary for our defence. My first wish is that America may be free; the second that we may be restored to peace and harmony with Britain upon Just and proper terms. If you find it necessary that the convention should meet sooner than May let us know of it as I wish to return at that time. I have been very sick for two or three days but am getting well again. I beg you will remember me to my Friends and am

Dear sir, Your mo: obt servant,

I send you a pamphlet called “Common Sense,” published here abt a month ago.