Special Collections, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

The Virginia Gazette, or, The Norfolk Intelligencer Number 47, Thursday, April 17, 1775


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The Virginia Gazette, or, The Norfolk Intelligencer Number 47, Thursday, April 17, 1775



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ON Saturday last the 21st instant, the
rebel Pugatcheff and four of his ac-
complices were executed according to
their sentences. Pugatcheff and his principal
associate named Persilieffe were beheaded, and
three others were hanged; eighteen were beheaded and
knouted and sent to Siberia. Pugatcheff’s
head is fixed to an iron spike over a wheel on
which his body and Persilieff’s are placed: and
his limbs are exposed in four different parts of
the town, where they are to remain till to-
morrow; when, it is said all the bodies are to
be burnt together with the scaffold.


LORD North presented the AMERICAN RE-
STRAINING BILL; his Lordship declar-
ed that as the Americans had refused to trade
with this kingdom, it was but just, that we
should not suffer them to trade with any other
nation. That the restraints of the act of navi-
gation, were their charter; and that the seve-
ral relaxations of that law, were so many acts
of grace and favour; which when the colonies
ceased to merit, it was but reasonable that the
British legislature should recal. In particular
he said, that the fishery on the banks of New-
foundland and the other banks, and all the
others in America, was the undoubted right
of Great Britain. Therefore we might dispose
of them as we pleased.

That although the two Houses had not de-
clared all Massachusetts’s Bay in rebellion, they
had declared, that there is a rebellion in that
province. It was just therefore to deprive that
province of its fisheries.

That in the province of New-Hampshire,
there was still a governor and a government;
but government was weak in that colony, and
a quantity of powder had been taken out of a
fort there by an armed mob. Besides the vi-
cinity of that province to Massachusetts’s Bay
was such, that if it were not added, the pur-
pose of the act would be defeated.

Rhode-Island he stated not to be in a much
better situation than Massachusett’s-Bay; that
several pieces of cannon had been taken up there,
and carried up in to the country; and that they
were arraying their militia, in order to march
into any other colony in case it should be at
tacked; and this could, in the present circum-
stances, be for no good purpose.

That from Connecticut had marched a large
body of men in to the Massachusetts’s, on a re-
port, that the soldiery had killed some people
in Boston; and thought this body had returned
on finding the falsity of that report, an ill dis-
position had been shown, and that this colony
was in a state of great disorder and confusion.

To this, he added, that the river Connecti-
cut afforded the inhabitants of that colony an
opportunity of carrying on the fishery. The
same might be said of the port of Rhode-Island:
and as the same argument of vicinity might
be applied to both those province as well as to
New-Hampshire; in order to prevent the de-
feating of the act, they also ought to be in-
cluded in the prohibition to fish and trade.

His Lordship having laid open the rigorous
part of the plan, declared that he was not
averse to admitting such alleviations of the act
as would not prove destructive of its great

1st. Therefore, he would move it only as
temporary, to the end of this year and to the
next session of parliament.

2dly. He would permit particular persons
to be excepted, on certificates from the go-
vernor of their good behaviour; or upon their
taking a rest of acknowledgement of the rights
of parliament.

The bill was opposed with great spirit by

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Governor Johnstone, Sir George Saville,
Lord J. Cavendish, Mr. John Johnstone, Mr.
Tho. Townsend, Mr. Burke, and several other

Governor Johnstone said, that the proposi-
tion was absurd and cruel; absurd, because
it took away tradesmen from our colonies now,
which, those who understood trade must
know, we should not be able to transfer to
ourselves, when it was taken from them.
That God and nature had given that fishery to
New, and not to Old England. That when
it was once destroyed, we should not be able
it to those from whom it was thus
violently taken; because the little capital,
the vessels and implements of fishermen (many of
them poor) were only kept up by constant re-
turns of profit: When the profits failed, the
capital and implements would not be restored.
That France, who was sufficiently alert at
taking advantages, would come in for a part
at least of the benefits of which we thus
thought proper to deprive our own people.

It was cruel, he said, in the highest degree
and beyond the example of hostile rigor.
That a maritime people always drew a consi
derable part of their immediate sustenance from
the sea. This bill therefore would be inhu-
manly to starve a whole people, except such
as a governor should think it proper to favor.
That this partial permission must give rise to
unjust preference, monopoly, and all sorts of
jobbs. He said he had served in the navy the
whole of the last war. he had in his eye se-
veral captains, who had cruised off the ememies
coasts during the whole war, and he appealed
to them for the truth of what he asserted, that
it was a constant rule in the service to spare the
fishing craft, thinking it savage and barbarous
to deprive poor wretches of their little means
of livelihood, and the miserable village-inha-
bitants of a sea coast of their daily food.

Sir George Saville, with great pleasantry,
happily exposed the idea of depriving a whole
province of its subsistence, because a rebellion
we know not where, nor by whom, is lurking
in it; and then punishing a second province,
because it is next door to rebellion; a third,
because it would be doing nothing if you let
them escape; and a fourth, because otherwise
ministry could not square their plan. He then
took it up in a serious light, and said, that
he had heard with pleasure many young mem-
bers speak with much ability on this occasion.
They all had apologized for their want of ex-
perience in this business. That he was obliged
to consider and apologize for himself, as a
very YOUNG member of parliament, “This
”will appear (said he) very strange to those
”who know I have sat a great many years
”in this House. it is true I have carried
”through may turnpike bills, several drain-
”ing bills, a multitude of navigations, and
”inclosures without number; but I am now
”come quite a novice to the ways and
”means for the ruin of trade and com-
”merce, and the dismemberment of a great
”empire.” He then entered, at large, and
with great precision, into the general argu-

Sir W. Meredith spoke next, and expressed
great sorrow and surprise, that the Honor-
able Gentlemen should call the rebellion in
American a justifiable rebellion, since it was
the laws which they resisted; and he (Sir
George) had consented to the declaratory act,
which asserts a right in Parliament to make
laws to bind America in all cases whatsoever
The power of God himself was bounded with-
in the limits of strict justice; a power to bind,
in all cases whatsoever, had never been claim-
ed by the greatest tyrant upon earth, nor by
any earthly power, before the declaratory act.
He thought therefore the Hon. Gentleman
should move a repeal of the declaratory act,
and of every act that he thought injurious to

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the freedom of America, before he exhorted
the Americans to bring on themselves, their
families, and their country, all the horrid
consequences of a rebellion. That three times
in the space of a few years, the Americans
had thrown the whole trade of Great-Britain
into confusion; that it had better be given up
than preserved on their conditions. Life itself
was not worth keeping in a state of uncertain-
ty and fear. Things were now brought to a
crisis. The conflict must be borne, and he
hoped would never end, but in relinquishing
our connections with America, or fixing them
on a sure and lasting basis. As to the propo-
sal of stopping the fisheries, whatever distress
it might bring on the Americans, they had no
reason to complain. It was no more than they
had begun to practice themselves. They had
taken a resolution, as far in them lay, to ruin
our merchants, impoverish our manufacturers,
and starve all the West-India islands.

To them therefore it can only be said,

_______Non Lex hac justior ulla,

Quam necis artifices arte perire sua.

The bill was read a first time and ordered
to be read a second time on Thursday.

Feb. 21. We hear the following resolution
was carried in the Committee on American
papers last night, by a majority of 274 to 88.

That it is the opinion of this Committee
that when the Governor, Council, and Assem-
bly, or General Court, or any of his Majesty’s
provinces or Colonies in America, shall pro-
pose to make provision, according to the con-
dition, circumstances and situation of such pro-
vince or colony, for contributing their propor-
tion to the common defence (such proportion
to be raised under the authority of the General
Court or general Assembly of such Province
or Colony, and disposeable by Parliament) and
shall engage to make provision also for the sup-
port of the civil government and the admini
sStration of justice in such Province or Colony,
it will be proper, if such proposal be approved
by his Majesty and the two Houses of Parlia-
ment, or for so long as such provision shall be
made accordingly, to forbear, in respect of
such Province or Colony, to levy any duty, tax,
or assessment, or to impose any further duty,
tax, or assessment, except only such duties as
it may be expedient to continue to levy or to
impose for the regulation of commerce, the
neat produce of the duties last mentioned to be
carried to the account of such Province or
Colony respectively.

Lord N_____grounded the expediency of a
motion of this kind, on certain articles of news
from America, to which he gave the appella
tion of proposals; and said he could not but
listen to proposals which might so infallibly
direct the operations of distributive justice. It
had been objected, as the extreme of cruelty,
to blend the innocent with the guilty in the ap-
portioning of necessary punishment; by giving
therefore, the well affected provinces an op-
portunity of testifying their loyalty, the parent
state might shew indulgence, yet not relax one
tittle from her asserted rights of sovereignty;
this was to act with firmness, though with pru-
dential caution also; it was to unit the wisdom
of deliberation with that attention to conse-
quences so highly necessary at this important
epoch of political events. Nor was lenity dis
regarded by the minister. The house was
given to understand, that although when the
dignity of government required a spirited and
a determined exertion, he would go every
length in support of that dignity, yet when
healing measures were at all compatible with
the public welfare, no man int hat august as-
sembly could wish more fervently for the adop-
tion of such measures. A suspension of the
American acts would afford a convincing proof
of such a disposition in those who participated
of the government of this country; a suspen-
sion on the terms proposed by demonstrating

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the lenity of Great-Britain, might work a
change of mind in the most refractory; or if
they continued obstinate in error, and harden-
ed in contumacy, then would government be
entirely acquitted in the eye of every unpreju-
diced person, let the consequences prove ever
so calamitous.____The troops however to re-
main till the final result of the colonies be
known, and all military and naval perpara-
tions at this side of the water in the mean
time to be suspended.


At a very numerous meeting of independent merchants
and traders of the city of London, yesterday at the Lon-
don Tavern, it was unanimously agreed to contribute to
the relief of the Americans; a subscription was opened,
and in less than half an hour 1 [illegible, creased], oool. was subscribed.

In the letter from Lord D--more, Governor of Virgi-
nia, brought into the H-of L---s on Tuesday last, by
Lord D---mouth, there is the following paragraph,
which created no small amusement, at least among the
minority L---s:

”That he (Lord D—more) was much obliged to Lord
D---mouth for his repeated assurances of government,
but he was afraid it would avail him nothing, as the very
name of government was held in the greatest contempt,
and the greater part of them (the Virginians) would
accept of no protection of that kind.”

The intelligence which is said to have arrived on Tues-
day last from Boston, but more particularly that received
from Lord Dunmore, Governor of Virginia, has thrown
the ministry into the greatest consternation: and they are
now said, to be more at a loss to know what measures to
take than ever.

A scene of greater confusion, misrule, and injustice,
cannot be conceived, than is described in a letter of Lord
Dunmore’s dated December 24, as now prevailing in the
province of Virginia:____Committees are appointed in
every county to enforce what they call the laws of the
Congress, and exercising higher powers in visiting private
houses, and calling persons before them, than were ever
practiced by any legal government in Europe. Armed
companies are raised in every country there, to enforce
the orders of these committees, and in some places the
men are sworn in, directly in defence of the legal prero-
gative of the Crown. The courts of justice are shut,
merely because a bill for settling the fees happened to be
lost with other bills, when their assembly was dissolved
last summer. But it is fairly to be supposed, that the
true reason is, to aggravate and inflame the clamour at
home, by preventing the legal demands of creditors here
from being determined in their courts. Lord Dunmore
apprehends that such violences may spread themselves, by
the general disorder which they must occasion. It is to
be wished, adds our correspondent, that the parliament
would order this most remarkable letter to be printed, as
it will convince every order of men in this country what
part they are to take, when such iniquitous proceedings
prevail in every part of the dominions of the Crown of
Great-Britain. Let it be observed, that Virginia has no
reason to complain; their charter has not been touched;
they have paid no duty on tea, and yet they have been
amongst the foremost in throwing off their constitutional
dependence on this country, without provocation, and at
the risk of involving their own province in riots and con-

Part of Lord North’s speech on American affairs.

Parliament cannot divest itself of the right of taxation
in every part of the empire, because it may become
necessary to demand assistance and supply from every
corner of it. The colonies complain that parliament is
ignorant of their true state; but this is only a specious
pretence: let them first tax themselves, and then it will
be seen whether suspension of taxation accompanies their
contribution. The proposition I have now the honour of
offering to the committee, is no dishonorable concession,
because, in the present condition of things, the mother
country, in the moment of victory over them, would de-
mand no more: we are not treating with enemies, nor
wishing to take any advantage of them; but only to set-
tle a dispute between subject and subject, on a lasting
foundation. it may likewise be objected, that America
pays enough already; but I beg leave to remind the com-
mittee, that the subjects of Britain now pay 1,800,000 l.
yearly, to discharge the interest on the debt contracted
last war, our conquest in which, left the colonies in a
state of ease and security. Again it may be said, will
you treat with rebels? I am not inclined to suspend our mili-
tary operations by sea and land, until they submit to the
laws. Whether any colony will come into these terms I
know not; but I am sure it is both just and humane to
give them the option. If one of them consents, a link
of the great chain is broken. If not, which possibly may
be the case, and that they shall make no offer whatever
or none that we can with any propriety accept, this con-
duct of theirs, must convince men of justice and huma-
nity at home, that our dispute with America is not
about modes of taxation, but that they have deeper views,
and mean to throw off all dependence upon this country,
and to get rid of every control of the legislature, I hope
at least this will not lessen our unanimity at home, though
I never expect to see that unanimity so much to be wished
for, on a matter of this importance.

Every impartial person will admit, that the minister,
by making the parliament take such contradictory reso-
lutions that might occasion them, hath let down the dig-
nity of parliament to the lowest degree, and rendered the
legal authority of the nation ridiculous. Hath not the
minister shewn thereby, to the whole kingdom, that he
is absolute master of the parliament, and can make the
members of it jump backwards and forwards, like a par-
cel of spaniels over a stick, just as he pleases? What a
contemptible idea must the people of England, from such
inconsistent proceedings, entertain of their legislators? Is
this a proper method of inducing the people to pay respect
and obedience to legal authority: Is it not the ready
way of rendering parliaments the scorn, contempt and
derision of the people? It hath been long known that the
ministers or the crown, by its unconstitutional influence

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in parliaments have directed all the measures of it; but
then they took care to preserve some shew of parliamen-
tary decency in their proceedings, and never did till now
total throw off the mask, and expose the corrupt sub
serviency of the house to the ridicule of the kingdom.

The motion made by Lord North on Monday, makes
great speculation; it is held forth by the friends of ad-
ministration as an act of grace, or great condescention,
on the side of government, while those in the opposition
laugh at it as the offspring of folly and weakness: Reports
say, the motion originated between the premier and a
great law lord, who are afraid of impeachment, in case
matters are pushed to extremity. The friends of Ame-
rica imagine all that is meant, is, by hanging out the false
colours, to divide the provinces: people of no party wish
for a reconciliation between the mother country and
America, on fair and equitable terms for both, as it must
be acknowledged there have been faults committed on both
sides; and the sooner matters are made up, the better,
as an American war will be fatal to both, even if other
powers were to take no advantage from this civil war:
but the present plan is too ambiguous and equivocal to
expect any benefit from it.

Lord N----has now deserted the cause he so warmly
espoused; for what reason it is difficult to say; however
his conduct is much censured. Britain may now give up
all hopes of retaining the colonies under any subjection.
The Americans will, it is now supposed, now, when their
rebellious acts have succeeded so well, soon shake off the
yoke altogether: Then farewel to the glory and happi-
ness of Great-Britain.

The blustering of the minister and his friends hath
ended in smoak, and the mountain has brought forth a
mouse. The ruinous and ill digested system of American
politics has at length given place to the dictates of com-
mon sense and of sound policy. Last week the Ameri
cans were rebels and were to be treated as such. This
week it is found out that it is cruel to make the innocent
suffer with the guilty, although thousands of innocent
people have been ruined for the acts of an unknown mob
at Boston. About a fortnight ago Lord Chatham’s plan
for a reconciliation with America, was treated with the
greatest contempt by the friends of the ministry, and not
suffered so much as to lie on the table.____only because it
was Lord Chatham’s. Now Lord North has in effect
brought in the same plan which is declared to be the best
of all possible plans---because it is Lord North’s. The
noble Lord gave out in the house that he was still as firm
and resolute as ever, but that he was now to temper his
firmness and resolution with prudence and moderation. It
is amazing to see with what facility the well trained
troops obeyed the command of their general, next week
if their leader shal think proper to return to his old sys-
tem, with him [llegible, creased] Proteus like they will again change
and nothing will be heard amongst them but delenda est
America. How this great salvation has been brought about
many are the conjectures. Some allege that Lord Dun-
more, who is not courtier enough, like the other gover-
nors, to feed the ministry with vain hopes and delusions,
had represented the state of Virginia in its true colours,
which opened the eyes of the people in power. Lord
Camden was sent for to court last week, where he had
not been for some years, and closeted with the ____for
three hours. It is supposed he had represented those
facts, which it is too often the aim of courtiers to disguise
and conceal. What figure think you will these disputes
make in history? for my part I am of opinion that suc-
ceeding ages will look upon them and the conduct of par-
liament as fiction and romance.

Feb. 21. Yesterday about a quarter past
four o’clock, in the House of Commons, the
Lord Mayor got up in his place, and moved
that the proceedings of that house of the 17th
February, 1769, might be read, which being
done, some other extracts which his Lordship
called for, were likewise read. He then made
an excellent speech upon what he called pro-
ceedings unjustifiable, illegal, and unwarrant-
able; and moved, that the resolution of the
17th February, 1769. which declares, “that
John Wilkes, Esq; having been in this present
session of parliament expelled this house, was,
and is incapable of being elected a member to
serve in this parliament” be expunged from the
journals of this house, as subversive of the
rights of the whole body of electors of this
kingdom. Mr. Serjeant Glynn seconded the
motion, and then a general debate ensues, in
which Lord North, the honourable Charles
Fox, Colonel Fitzroy, Sir George Saville,
the Attorney and Solicitor General, Colonel
Barre, Mr. Burke, Mr. Wallace, the two Mr.
Grenvilles, Mr. Onflow, Mr. Adair, Captain
Luttrell, and several others, were speakers.
The arguments were warm, and to the point.
Most of the speakers were in favour of the
motion, and plainly proved that the book of
numbers does not prove that those who divide
with the majority always think with them.
Several who spoke, rose more than once. The
question was repeatedly attempted to be put,
but was as often prevented by new speakers
rising. A little after twelve, however, “the
question, the question,” was so far the pre-
vailing call, that it was put, and the house di-
vided, when the numbers were

For the motion, 171.
Against it 239.

The house was remarkably full by three
o’clock, and no strangers were admitted; even
peers sons were excluded; the Lord Mahon in
particular waited at the door in vain near two

Feb. 23. This day Lord North’s very un-
expected motion for conciliating the differences

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with America, by giving up the long contested
point about the right of taxation, and allowing
the Americans to tax themselves, to what ex-
tent they should think proper, was reported to
the House of Commons, and agreed to. Last
week the dignity of parliament required that
the Americans should be declared rebels and
traitors: now that very same parliament hum-
bly begs that these rebels will grant them a
subsidy. What is more extraordinary still, no
reason has been given, either in or out of the
House, for this inconsistent conduct.

On Friday evening, in the stable yard at a certain
house, there was a private meeting of the Lords Bute,
North, Mansfield, -G----d, &c. to consult about such
measures as might put things on a better footing, as they
were much divided in opinion the day before, in the
Privy Council, on the bill of attainder, and the majority
was against it. Every court engine is set to work to
silence the city, and to prevent an address; but such is
the honest spirit of the citizens that nothing can damp
their zeal and truth, when embarked in a good cause.
The intentions of the manufacturing people to come up
give the town much uneasiness, for many are actually on
the march towards St. James’s to remonstrate viva voce.

Sir James Lowther and his friends have deserted the
Ministry. This is a desertion of such a nature as greatly

Some days ago, in the Warren of Woolwich, there was
a call of men, to try who would voluntarily offer ther
services in America; only one man offered, and he upon
conditional terms, viz. that he should be pardoned an
offence which he had committed. Also, out of 250 of
Burgoyne’s light horse but 15 offered to serve in Ame9
rica; they also murmured and said, “they would not go
to America to fight.”

On Saturday evening the select committee finished the
inquiry into the merits of the Bristol petition, and deter-
mined the election to be in favour of Edmund Burke and
Henry Cruger, Esquires. The report will be made this


Last Thursday night Capt. Collins, with a party of
men, belonging to the Magdalen armed schooner, buy
command of Lord Dunmore, came to this city, form
Burwell’s ferry, and privately removed out of the maga-
zine, and carried on board said schooner, about twenty
barrels of gunpowder belonging to this colony. The in-
habitants were alarmed with the intelligence early yester-
day morning, the Common Hall assembled, and the fol-
lowing address was presented to the Governor.

To his Excellency the Right Hon. JOHN Earl of DUN-
MORE his Majesty’s Lieutenant Governor General,
and Commander in Chief of the colony and dominion
The humble ADDRESS of the Mayor, Recorder, Alder-
men, and Common Council of the city of Williamsburg.

My Lord,
WE his Majesty’s dutiful and loyal subject, the May-
or, Recorder, Aldermen, and Common Council,
of the city of Williamsburg, in Common Hall assembled,
humbly beg leave to represent to your Excellency, that
the inhabitants of this city were this morning exceeding-
ly alarmed by a report that a large quantity of gunpow-
der was in the preceding night, while they were sleeping
in their beds, removed from the public magazine in this
city, and conveyed, under an escort of marines, on board
one of his Majesty’s armed vessels lying at a ferry on
James river.

We beg leave to represent to our Excellency, that as
this magazine was erected at the public expence of this
colony, and appropriated to the sale keeping of such mu-
nition as should be there lodged from time to time, for
the protection and security of the country by arming
thereout such of the militia as might be necessary in cases
of invasions and isurrections, they humbly conceive it
to be the only proper repository to eb resorted to in times
of imminent danger.

We further beg leave to inform you Excellency, that,
from various reports at present prevailing in different part
of the country, we have too much reason to believe that
some wicked and designing persons have instilled the most
diabolical notions into the minds of our slaves, and that
therefore the utmost attention to our internal security is
become the more necessary.

The circumstances of this city, my Lord, we consider as
peculiar and critical. The inhabitants, from the situa-
tion of the magazine, in the midst of their city, have, for
a long tract of time, been exposed to all those dangers
which have happened in many countries from explosions,
and other accidents. They have form time to time,
thought it incumbent on them to guard the magazine
For their security they have, for some time past, judged
it necessary to keep strong patriots on foot; in their pre=
circmstances, then, to have the chief and necessary
means of their defence removed, cannot but be extreme-
ly alarming. Considering ourselves guardians of the
city, we therefor humbly desire to ne informed by your
Excellency, upon what motives, and for what particular
purpose, the powder has been carried off in such a man-
ner; and we earnestly entreat your Excellency to order
it to be immediately returned to the magazine.

To which his EXCELLENCY returned this verbal answer:
THAT, hearing of an insurrection in a neighboring
county, he had removed the powder from the ma-
gazine, where he did not think it secure, to a place of
perfect security; and that, upon his word and honour,
whenever it was wanted on any insurrection, it should be
delivered in half an hour; that he had removed it in the
night time to prevent any alarm, and that Capt. Collins
had his express commands for the part he had acted; he
was surprised to hear the people were under arms on this
occasion, and that he should not think it prudent to put
powder into their hands in such a situation.

To the merchants, and masters of vessles.

Last Thursday th schooner Endeavor, Michael Dyer
commander, was tried and condemned in the Court of
Admiralty, for having taken on board Indian corn with-
out having previously given a non-enumeration bond;

Original Format

Ink on paper




John H. Holt & Co., “The Virginia Gazette, or, The Norfolk Intelligencer Number 47, Thursday, April 17, 1775,” Special Collections, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, accessed June 20, 2024, https://cwfjdrlsc.omeka.net/items/show/516.