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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Description of Hugh Williamson's actions as an American spy
Johnson, Joseph, 1776-1862
Volume 15, Page 172

[From Johnson's Traditions of the Revolution, Page 3.]

Dr. Williamson, the historian of North Carolina, was the gentleman who obtained for Dr. Franklin the original Letters of Governor Hutchinson, of Massachusetts, and of Oliver, the Lieut. Governor, to the British ministry, advising hostilities against the people of America. He was then in London, engaged in scientific investigations, and had observed a chamber or office in which colonial papers were kept for future reference. Concluding that the reported letters were probably there, he went, in the character of a messenger from the head of one of the departments, and called for the letters last received from Hutchinson and Oliver. They were handed to him, without suspicion, and immediately put by him into the hands of Dr. Franklin. Early the next morning Dr. Williamson was the bearer of these dispatches, and at sea, crossed over to Holland, on his way to America. This transaction gave rise to the violent philippic of Mr. Wedderburn (afterwards Lord Loughborough) against Dr. Franklin, which has always been considered one of the most finished specimens of declamation in the English language.