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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from the South Carolina Council of Safety to the North Carolina Provincial Council
South Carolina. Council of Safety
January 02, 1776
Volume 11, Pages 267-269

[Henry Laurens to Provincial Council of Wilmington.]
(From Collections of the Historical Society of South Carolina Vol. 3. pages 142 & 143. Journal of the Council of Safety.)

Charles-Town, South Carolina Jan. 2nd, 1776.


Your several letters of the 20th and 25th Nov. and 9th Dec., and one of the 5th Dec., from the Committee of Safety for the district of Wilmington, are before this board. We return our thanks for the several important advices communicated to us, and we are particularly indebted to your colony for the assistance given, by provincials and militia under several North Carolina commanders, to Col. Richardson in his expedition against the insurgents on our western frontier. Those people are, we hope, effectually subdued; many of their leaders are in jail; others have fleld the country; hundreds of the common class have surrendered their arms, and plighted their solemn promises to behave quietly for the future. The knot is broke, and we shall be watchful to prevent a reunion.

We wish it was in our power to assist you with the article of gun-powder, But as we are ordered by the continental representatives to defend Charles-town to the last extremity; and as we have undoubted intelligence that a formidable attack is very

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soon to be made on this capital—we consider our stores very scanty, even for the purpose of defence—and we trust our people will exert themselves to such effect, as to make, if we are to be overpowered, the want of ammunition the last extremity.

We have various voyages in motion for procuring that article; and if your wants continue, you may depend upon sharing in our success, if one half of our vessels return agreeable to our expectations.

The Scorpion man-of-war has been here, and sailed again about a fortnight ago, with two Burmuda sloops and a coasting schooner, together with, as we are informed, thirty or forty negroes which Capt. Tollemache was pleased to seize while he was in Rebellion Road. From the time of such seizures, we resolved to supply the men-of-war with no more provisions; nightly maraudings and robberies on our sea-coast immediately followed; but those being soon well guarded, and a descent made upon Sullivan's Island, where the house thereon was burnt, and some important prisoners taken, the Tamar and Cherokee, together with the Sandwich packet and an armed schooner, have been reduced to a very small stock; these vessels, therefore, are now to remove from out of this harbour in search of provisions, and would have gone over the bar yesterday if the wind had not failed. We are told they are bound to the river Savannah—and we fear they have more mischievous schemes afoot than merely to obtain bread and beef—probably to protect ships loading there in violation of the General Association, and to overawe the friends of liberty. Mr. John Lot Phillips, we apprehend, did not come to Charles-Town, as we never heard of him. Had he appeared, we should have cheerfully rendered the services which you desired. We have been frequently spurred on to preperations for defence, by such reports as you had received of ships and fleets on our coast. Hitherto, however, we have remained quiet from the sea board. But no doubt the day will come; the longer it is postponed the better, we shall be provided against it. We have no great powers, and, therefore, make no boast—such as we have we trust will be fully and properly exerted.

The bearer of this Capt. Alex. Wylly, is the owner of the schooner which Capt. Tollemache conducted from hence, as Mr. Wylly learns from North Carolina, in order to obtain a condemnation in admiralty.

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He is satisfied in himself, that there is no foundation for condemning the vessel, and, therefore, intends to lay a claim, and hopes for success. He has procured recommendations, from some of his friends here to merchants in your colony. We beg leave to recommend him to your countenance, and such protection as you can afford to an unfortunate man brought to poverty by our common enemy.

By order of the Council of Safety.
Provincial Council of Wilmington, N. C.

Additional Notes for Electronic Version: Internal evidence, as well as other correspondence between these two groups, indicates that this letter was addressed to the North Carolina Provincial Council, not the Provincial Council of Wilmington as written on the letter.