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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Josiah Martin to George Sackville Germain, Viscount Sackville
Martin, Josiah, 1737-1786
September 15, 1777
Volume 11, Pages 765-768

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[B. P. R. O. Am: & W. Ind: Vol: 222. No. 9.]

New York, September 15th 1777.

My Lord,

I have the honor to inform your Lordship that two vessels have arrived here within these six weeks from North Carolina bringing besides Women and Children and some negroes Twenty Two of His Majesty's Refugee Subjects inhabitants of that Colony all Natives of Scotland except three. Among them all Mr Howard His Majesty's Chief Justice of North Carolina and a Member of the Council there is of first note and deserving my particular mention of him to your Lordship.

This Gentleman, my Lord, suffered a temporary ruin at Rhode Island for his avowed attachment to His Majesty's Government during the convulsions fomented there some years ago in the time of the stamp Act and his fortune is now wrecked a second time by his firm adherence to the same principles that have finally obliged him after much and long suffering and severest mortification to turn his back upon a Country where he could no longer exist but on the terms of abjuring his lawful sovereign, this he has done with honest indignation, My Lord, and is now here with his family which accompanied him from Carolina without provision of any kind and with means so scanty as not to suffice to preserve him long from absolute want, four years having now elapsed since the cessation of his salary from the Province of North Carolina and his pittance of seventy pounds a year from the Crown charged on Quit Rents being eight years in arrear.

It is due to justice, My Lord, that I represent Mr Howard to your Lordship as a Gentleman whose moral character, political principles and steadiness in the support of the King's Government during my administration in North Carolina entitle him to my best report and I hope, My Lord, such merit may excuse me from expressing my warmest wishes that your Lordship may be pleased to recommend him to a participation of the Royal Bounty which His Majesty has so graciously and munificently dispensed among his suffering servants and subjects in America.

Mr William Knight, Comptroller of the Customs at Port Roanoke in North Carolina, is also among the number of Refugees from

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that Country and has the merit of maintaining his allegiance to His Majesty while the Collector of that Port Mr James Iredell has taken an open and eager part in rebellion. He is come hither a poor man almost destitute of the means or subsistance leaving a Wife and Children behind him the rest of the number above-mentioned are Merchants or persons in that line and mechanicks who have all the great merit of unimpeached loyalty except two a Mr George Miller and a Mr Maxwell who after having borne arms in rebellion repented, forsook the cause, refused to abjure their sovereign and are come hither to throw themselves upon His Majesty's mercy. Of the whole number there is only one native of Carolina, a young man of the name of Brice of whom I had some knowledge in that Country and who is confessed on all hands to have distinguished himself by his spirit, zeal and loyalty through the whole course of the rebellion most remarkably. This merit is of so peculiar a nature, My Lord, that I think it deserves notice and I am therefore labouring with all my little might to obtain some provision for him who is come here destitute of everything but indignation at the usurpations that have undone his Country with which his honest heart is replete.

By Captain McDonald of Kingsborough made prisoner among the Loyalists who appeared in arms in North Caroiina at the beginning of the year 1776. and lately permitted by the Rebels to come hither to negotiate his exchange I learn, My Lord, that the private men taken at the time of their unfortunate dispersion were suffered by the Rebels to return to their homes on laying down their arms but the Officers are still held in captivity so that that their pay which I presume your Lordship will think them entitled to receive to the time of their release is still accumulating and I am concerned to think will amount to much more than their well intended services were worth. By the tenor of my commission, however, for raising that Body of Men no higher rank was conferred than that of Captain, the pay of which ample as it is for such persons as had that still among them, I am sorry to find has not given contentment universally, so difficult a thing is it to satisfy some men from a proneness but too common among Mankind in general to overrate their own merits and services. In my distribution of pay among those who have come within my reach I have endeavoured to do strict justice according to my engagements to them on behalf of

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Government and I have transmitted to the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty's Treasury my accounts of disbursement of Publick Money which I trust will meet with their Lordship's approbation and for the future I propose to request the favour of Sir William Howe to direct that the North Carolina Provincials who are Prisoners and shall be forthcoming from time to time may be paid by the Paymaster of Provincial Forces as it will be more in the proper train and order of things and perhaps more satisfactory to the parties and it will at the same time deliver me from infinite trouble and difficulty in the transaction of a money business with which I am much unacquainted.

It has been matter of the most heartfelt concern and mortification to me my Lord to have been here so long and still to remain an idle spectator of a scene so important as this Country exhibits and so highly interesting to the honour and dignity of my Royal Master's Crown and the national character and welfare. I hope your Lordship will think that the utmost I could do on my arrival here was to offer my humble service as an individual to the Commander in Chief of His Majesty's forces, this I could not fail to do, My Lord, but no occasion has been found to employ me. Your Lordship will discern I persuade myself that I could have no chance or opportunity to raise a Corps of Provincials while the levies set on foot under the auspices of the Governor of this Province exerting the utmost zeal, application and address have filled much slower than reasonable expectation I therefore flatter myself that I shall stand acquitted before His Majesty and your Lordship of being idle through my own supineness or neglect.

Mr Stuart who will have the honour to deliver this dispatch to your Lordship is Collector of His Majesty's Customs at the Port of New London in Connecticut where he remained some time, long indeed after the usurpations of rebellion had rendered it impracticable to discharge the duties of his office, from a delicate sence of the propriety of remaining in his station until he had authority to remove from it. During his stay there his thorough zeal for his Maj esty's service engaged him to apply himself with unwearied diligence to the consideration and employment of the best means for its advancement and by long residence in the Country and close observation of the turn and temper of the people he has acquired I think a perfect Knowledge of both as well as much information

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of this Region and its inhabitants in general. His aimable temper and disposition joined to a discreet and prudent address and deportment had begotten a degree of respect towards him very unusual among that uncourteous Race of people, wherefore he was able to continue longer among them than perhaps any other person could have done without impeachment of his loyalty, attachment and duty to His Sovereign when service was the sole object of his stay there under every circumstance of mortification and danger that punctually surrounded him and he quitted the ground not 'til he had the fullest conviction that he could no longer possibly further it and saw jealousies kindling against him that would soon and inevitably involve himself and his family in perdition without a prospect or even chance of advantaging in the least degree the great cause of His King and Country to which the whole man and all his faculties are devoted. I have presumed, My Lord, to dwell the longer upon this Gentleman's conduct because it appears to me to have an extraordinary merit and I beg leave to add of Mr Stuart that he is a very modest observing judicious man and of so much correctness that your Lordship I am persuaded may rely upon whatever information he may be able to give.

A Mr. James Cotton of No Carolina who went from home some time ago will probably have waited on your Lordship. I therefore think it proper to mention him in this place as a person who had according to my best information all the merit set forth in my Certificate that I presume he will have produced to your Lordship which in a man rather of vulgar life and character and more especially in a native of New England I cannot but estimate very highly.

I transmit herewith to your Lordship a Copy of the law of proscription enacted by the rebel powers of No Carolina whose vigour hath compelled many of his Majesty's good subjects to leave that Country.

I have the honour to be with the highest respect
My Lord
Your Lordships
most obedient and
most humble servant

Rec: 26th November.