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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Joseph Hewes to Samuel Johnston
Hewes, Joseph, 1730-1779
January 06, 1776
Volume 22, Pages 515-517


Philadelphia, 6th Jan’y, 1776.

Dear Sir:

I wrote to you two days ago by the Ministers of the Gospel who are sent by order of Congress to the Western parts of North Carolina where some of the inhabitants we are told are pursuing measures hostile to the friends of America. They are endeavoring to prevail on those people by reason & argument, to become active in support of those rights & privileges which belong to them in common with the rest of America. I hope their well meant endeavors will be useful to our province.

In your favor of the 5th of Nov., the only one I have rec’d from you, I observe the plan you adopted to get arms & ammunition and your wish that the general association had not been infringed. I have often wished the same thing. The Congress having adopted and pursued a similar mode and on a much larger scale, however, altho’ we have not yet reaped much advantage from it, I have altered my mind on that subject and am now perfectly reconciled to it, from a conviction that our utmost efforts in every way will barely furnish us with sufficient quantities of those necessary articles.

Some of the zealous City Politicians, are alarmed at the arrival of a Lord Drummond, who came to town a few days ago. It seems he is the son of the Earl of Perth, has lived several years in New York Government, is possessed of a landed estate in New Jersey, went to England in Nov., 1774, came out in a Man of War to Boston in Aug. last, from thence on the same conveyance soon after to New York, had he left the title of Lord behind him, he might have walked the streets of this City a long time unnoticed, now the eyes of all are upon him, and consider him a suspicious character. In private company

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I am told he says he was several months in London and frequently in Co. with Lord North, that the Ministry are heartily tired of the controversy between Great Brittain and the Colonies, but the pride of the people of England will not suffer them relax, he thinks the matter might be easily settled if America would consent to give a very small sum annually, so as to save appearances, England would repeal all the obnoxious Acts, and give up more than we ask. He says Lord North was astonished at the union and strength of the Colonies; declared he did not think it was possible for such things to be done and that he had no idea of such resistance.

Some people think this Lord is employed to make overtures to the Congress, others imagine he is only to sound some of the leading members and endeavor to find out the whole scope, designs and views of the Congress, certain it is he has had private conferences with several characters of the first distinction among us, I don’t find he has yet closeted any of the Wise Men of the East, however, I am not certain of it. My indisposition has kept me from Congress two days past, in which time I have seen very few members.

A report this day prevails in town that by some late advices rec’d to the Eastward from England the Ministry are determined to send a large army to America early in the Spring and land them in this province, in order to subdue it at all events, considering it the most active in the present Rebellion. This like many other reports, the talk of the day, wants confirmation, tho’ all accounts agree, except what comes from the Lord above mentioned that administration will make one grand effort in the Spring to subdue the Colonies, therefore it becomes necessary for us to provide for the event. Our establishment at present stands thus:

1 Regiment now raising in Georgia,
3 “ “ “ “ South Carolina,
2 “ “ “ “ North Caro., already raised,
6 “ “ “ “ Virginia,
1 “ “ “ “ Delaware Counties,
7 “ “ “ “ Pennsylvania, including 1 Reg. of Riflemen, now at Cambridge.
2 “ “ “ “ New Jersey,
4 “ “ “ “ New York,
26 “ “ “ “ Eastern Government at Boston,
1 “ “ “ of Canadians.
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Some of these are already in Canada and more must be sent.

To this strength you may add twice the number of Regiments of well regulated Militia.

Dr. Sir, Your most obedient Ser.,
Sam. Johnston, Esqr.