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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Correspondence between James Moore and Donald MacDonald [as printed in the New-England Chronicle]
MacDonald, Donald, b. 1712; Moore, James, 1737-1777
February 19, 1776 - February 20, 1776
Volume 11, Pages 276-279

From the New-England Chronicle, Boston, Thursday April 25, 1776.

The following letters passed between General Moore, and the Tory General M'Donald, before the battle of Moore's Creek.

A letter from Donald M'Donald, Esq; lately elected Brigadier General in the Tory Army by Governor Martin, to Brigadier General Moore.


I herewith send the bearer, Donald Morrison, by advice of the Commissioners appointed by his Excellency Josiah Martin, and in behalf of the army now under my command, to propose terms to you as friends and countrymen. I must suppose you unacquainted with the Governor's proclamation, commanding all his Majesty's loyal subjects to repair to the King's royal standard, else I should have imagined you would ere this have joined the King's army now engaged in his Majesty's service. I have therefore thought it proper to intimate to you, that in case you do not, by 12 o'clock tomorrow, join the royal standard, I must consider you as enemies, and take the necessary steps for the support of legal authority.

I beg leave to remind you of his Majesty's speech to his Parliament, wherein he offers to receive the misled with tenderness and mercy, from motives of humanity. I again beg of you to accept the proffered clemency. I make no doubt, but you will shew the gentlemen sent on this message every possible civility; and you

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may depend in return, that all your officers and men, which may fall into our hands shall be treated with an equal degree of respect. I have the honor to be, in behalf of the army, Sir, Your most obedient humble servant.


Head Quarters, Feb. 19, 1776,

His Excellency's Proclamation is herewith enclosed.

Brigadier General Moore's Answer.


Yours of this day I have received, in answer to which, I must inform you that the terms which you are pleased to say, in behalf of the army under your command, are offered to us as friends and countrymen, are such as neither my duty or inclination will permit me to accept, and which I must presume you too much of an officer to accept of me. You were very right when you supposed me unacquainted with the Governor's proclamation, but as the terms therein proposed are such as I hold incompatible with the freedom of Americans, it can be no rule of conduct for me. However, should I not hear farther from you before twelve o'clock tomorrow by which time I shall have an opportunity of consulting my officers here, and perhaps Col. Martin, who is in the neighborhood of Cross Creek, you may expect a more particular answer: meantime you may be assured that the feelings of humanity will induce me to shew that civility to such of your people as may fall into our hands, as I am desirous should be observed towards those of ours, who may be unfortunate enough to fall into your's. I am, Sir, your most obedient and very humble servant,


Camp at Rockfish, Feb. 19, 1776.


From Brigadier General Moore to Brigadier General M'Donald:


Agreeable to my promise of yesterday, I have consulted the officers under my command respecting your letter, and am happy in finding them unanimous in opinion with me. We consider ourselves engaged in a cause the most glorious and honourable in the world, the defense of the liberties of mankind, in support of which we are determined to hazard everything dear and valuable and in

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tenderness to the deluded people under your command, permit me, Sir, through you to inform them, before it is too late, of the dangerous and destructive precipice on which they stand, and to remind them of the ungrateful return they are about to make for their favourable reception in this country. If this is not sufficient to recall them to the duty which they owe themselves and their posterity inform them that they are engaged in a cause in which they cannot succeed as not only the whole force of this country, but that of our neighboring provinces, is exerting and now actually in motion to suppress them, and which must end in their utter destruction. Desirous, however, of avoiding the effusion of human blood, I have thought proper to send you a test recommended by the Continental Congress, which if they will yet subscribe we are willing to receive them as friends and countrymen. Should this offer be rejected, I shall consider them as enemies to the constitutional liberties of America, and treat them accordingly.

I cannot conclude without reminding you, Sir, of the oath which you and some of your officers took at Newbern, on your arrival to this country, which I imagine you will find is difficult to reconcile to your present conduct. I have no doubt that the bearer, Capt. James Walker, will be treated with proper civility and respect in your camp.

I am Sir, your most obedient and very humble servant,

Camp at Rockfish, Feb. 20, 1776.


From Brigadier General M'Donald to Brigadier General Moore.


I received your favor by Captain James Walker, and observed your declared sentiments of revolt, hostility and rebellion to the King, and to what I understand to be the constitution of the country. If I am mistaken future consequences must determine; but while I continue in my present sentiment, I shall consider myself embarked in a cause which must, in its consequences, extricate this country from anarchy and licentiousness. I cannot conceive that the Scotch emigrants, to whom I imagine you allude, can be under greater obligations to this country than to the King, under

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whose gracious and merciful government they alone could have been enabled to visit this western region: And I trust, Sir, it is in the womb of time to say, that they are not that deluded and ungrateful people which you would represent them to be. As a soldier in his Majesty's service, I must inform you, if you are to learn, that it is my duty to conquer, if I cannot reclaim, all those who may be hardy enough to take up arms against the best of masters, as of Kings. I have the honor to be, in behalf of the army under my command,

Sir, Your most obedient servant,
To the Commanding Officer at Rockfish.