PETITION: CUMBERLAND COUNTY INHABITANTS TO GOV. PENN
To the Honble John Penn Esqr Lieutinant Governour and Commander in Chief of the Province of Pensylvania and Counties of New-Castle, Kent and Sussex upon Delaware.
The Adress and Remonstrance of the Inhabitants of Cumberland County
May it please your Honor.
It is with pleasure that we reflect upon the Happy consequences resulting from the prudent & vigorous execution of those salutary measures which have been concerted for the reduction of his Majesty’s enemies on this continent to terms of peace, by which means so many of our friends and fellow subjects have been delivered from all the horrors and cruelties of an Indian captivity, and our hopes raised with the pleasing prospects of a lasting peace; The wise and brave conduct of his Majesty’s forces has convinced them of their inability to subsist without a dependance upon us for the necessaries of life, every other resource being effectually cut off by the cessions of North America to the British Crown.
But permit us honorable Sir to express to you on this occasion the alarming apprehensions which we have of being again involved in another war, from the unseasonable supplies of cloathing & warlike stores which we understand are preparing in great abundance, & are already on the road to the Indians, thirty thousand pounds worth of goods as we are informed by good authors, & amongst them a large quantity of ammunition; Powder, lead & scalping knives, being already in our country; & destined for the savage, faithless & unrelenting enemy, cannot but raise in our breasts the horrible images of murdered families, captivated brethren & friends, Men, Women & children, exposed to all the cruelties & Miseries which their savage dispositions can prompt them to inflict, our houses & farms involved in flames, & our whole country in one general desolation, notwithstanding all the unnatural opposition, which the prudent measures taken to reduce our savage enemy to peace, have repeatedly met with from the attempts of a faction in this Province who tho void of compassion for the distressed people of the Frontiers long drenched in blood, were profuse & liberal in their presents to the Indians; Yet by the good providence of God our enemies are at length reduced to the lowest want & distress, & are thereby under the necessity of living in peace. But alas what does it avail us, that the French are removed out of our Country that they can no longer excite & assist the Indians, to ravage our settlements, & murder our friends, if our own fellow subjects regardless of his Majesties, of his Officers proclamations, nay of all the laws of god & man are still continuing to supply them with the means of our destruction? Have we with the broken remains of our dismember’d families escaped the unheard of cruelties of two Indian wars only to be involved in a third, by those very persons who have hitherto sufficiently testified the want of humanity & compassion for our distresses, do they so eagerly thirst after our blood that nothing will satisfie them but the utter distruction of our whole families, or are they so bent upon enriching themselves by an Indian trade that they will do it at the expense of so much blood & treasure as it must cost the Crown and the Colonies? Pardon our warmth honorable Sir upon this occasion, the cries of our brethren yet in captivity among the savages pierce our ears, & the murders, & desolations which we have so lately seen, rise fresh in view at the sight of such an enormous quantity of goods design’d for the Enemy which is sufficient to enable them to repeat all their cruelties upon us for several years to come.
Permit us honorable Sir to implore your protection against the attempts of our fellow subjects who being remote from danger, sit at ease & know not what we feel, & to beseech you to interpose your Authority to stop those goods from going to the enemy until peace be finally concluded, & our friends deliver’d from their mournful captivity’s & to find out & bring to punishment the persons who contrary to his Majesties royal proclamation & that of his officers, as well as to the laws of Great Britain are concerned in this unlawful commerce with our enemies, which has already influenced a number of people who have suffer’d greatly from the incursions of the savages to assemble in a tumultuous & lawless manner to destroy some of the goods, & which must be attended with consequences which make the whole country tremble in the immediate prospect of inevitable ruins & desolation; as we have on all occasions & do now testify our disapprobation of riotous & tumultuous practices, we beg leave to repeat our earnest request that your honor may take such measures as may to your wisdom appear most effectual to put a stop to such unlawful comerce as has already & may yet occasion such disagreeable disorders among the People.
And your petitioners in duty bound shall every pray–
[Endorsed by Bouquet] The adress of the Inhabitants of Cumberland County to the governor March 1765
The Papers of Henry Bouquet, Volume VI Selected Documents, November 1761-July 1765. Edited by Louis M. Waddell. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg 1994