Saturday, the 10th of June, 15 Geo. III. 1775.
A Meſſage from the Council by Mr Blair:
His Excellency, the Governor, hath deſired the Preſident to communicate to this Houſe his anſwer to the joint Addreſs of the Council and the Houſe of Burgeſſes, preſented Yeſterday to his Excellency; and he preſented the ſaid Anſwer at the Bar.
And then the Meſſenger withdrew.
The Governor‘s Anſwer was read, and is as followeth, viz.
Gentlemen, of the Council, Mr Speaker, and
Gentlemen of the Houſe of Burgeſſes.
In anſwer to your joint Addreſs, preſented by your deputies yeſterday, I acquaint you, that it appears to me the commotions among the People, and their menaces and threats (an enumeration of which I forbear, out of tenderneſs) have been of ſuch public notoriety, that you muſt ſuppoſe many of his Majeſty’s ſubjects in this Colony, whether they meditated or not, have at leaſt manifeſted, ſuch an inveteracy as juſtiﬁes my ſuſpicion that they would not heſitate to commit a Crime, which, horrid and atrocious as it is, I had juſt ground to apprehend. And when the diſpoſition which the Houſe of Burgeſſes have ſhown towards me, the returns they have made to the reſpect and civility which I have been forward to offer to them, the countenance they have given to the violent and diſorderly proceedings of the People, his Majeſty’s magazine having been forced and riﬂed in the preſence of ſome of the members of the Houſe of Burgeſſes, and, by the information of the Committee of the Houſe appointed to inſpect the Magazine, no other endeavours have been uſed than to prevail on the People to return the Arms taken out, but not to commit the Perſons in whoſe poſſeſſion they were found, in order that they might be brought to the puniſhment due to ſo heinous an offence, no leſs againſt the peace and good order of the Country than the dignity and authority of the King; when a body of Men aſſembled in the City of Williamſburg, not only to the knowledge, but with the approbation of every body, for the avowed purpoſe of attacking a party of the Kings forces, which, without the leaſt foundation, it was reported were marching to my protection, and which, if true, ought to have been approved and aided, not oppoſed and inſulted, by all good and loyal Subjects; when eſpecially the Houſe of Burgeſſes, or a committee of the Houſe (which is the ſame) has ventured upon a ſtep fraught with the moſt alarming conſequences, in ordering and appointing guards, without even conſulting me, to mount in the city of Williamſburg, as is pretended, to protect the Magazine, but which may well be doubted, as there then remained nothing therein which required being guarded; but if otherwiſe, this ſtep nevertheleſs ſhews a deſign to uſurp the executive power, which, if it be perſiſted in, ſubverts the conſtitution: I ſay, when theſe circumſtances duly conſidered, I may ſubmit it to your own judgment whether I could reaſonably expect any good effect from communicating the ground of my uneaſineſs to you.
But as you are pleaſed, Gentlemen, now to aſſure me, that you will cheerfully concur in any meaſure that may be propoſed proper for the ſecurity of myſelf and family, I leave to your own conſideration whether that can be effected any other wiſe than by reinſtating me in the full powers of my office, as his Majeſty’s repreſentative, by opening the Courts of Juſtice, and reſtoring the energy of the Laws, which is all the ſecurity requiſite for all parties; by diſarming all independent companies, or other bodies of Men raiſed and acting in deﬁance of lawful authority, and by obliging thoſe who have taken any of his Majeſty’s public ſtore of Arms to deliver them up immediately; and, what is not leſs eſſential than any thing by your own example, and every means in your power, aboliſhing that Spirit of perſecution, which, to the diſgrace of humanity, now reigns, and purſues with menaces and acts of oppreſſion, all perſons who differ from the multitude in political opinion, or are attached from principles and duty to the ſervice of their King and government; by which means, the deluded People never hearing but the diſﬁgured ſide of a Story, their minds are continually kept in that ferment which ſubjects them forever to be impoſed upon, and leads to the commiſſion of any deſperate Act, and endangers the general ſafety. For the more ſpeedy accompliſhment of theſe ends, and the great object and neceſſary buſineſs of the Seſſions, I ſhall have no objection to your adjourning to the Town of York, where I ſhall meet you, and remain with you till your buſineſs be ﬁniſhed.
With reſpect to your entreaty that I ſhould return to the Palace, as the moſt likely means of quieting the minds of the People, I muſt repreſent to you, that, unleſs there be among you a ſincere and active deſire to ſeize this opportunity, now offered to you by Parliament, of eſtabliſhing the freedom of your Country upon a ﬁxed and known foundation, and of uniting yourſelves with your fellow ſubjects of Great Britain in one common bond of intereſt, and mutual aſſiſtance, my return to Williamſburg would be as fruitleſs to the People, as, poſſibly, it might be dangerous to myſelf. But if your proceedings manifeſt that happy diſpoſition, which is to be deſired ardently by every good friend to this as well as the Mother Country, I aſſure you, in the warmth of my heart, that I will return, with the greateſt joy, and ſhall conſider it as the moſt fortunate event of my Life if you give me an opportunity to be an inſtrument of promoting your happineſs, and a mediator between you and the ſupreme authority, to obtain for you every explanation of your doubts, and the fulleſt conviction of the ſincerity of their deſire to conﬁrm to you the undiſturbed enjoyment of your rights and liberty; and I ſhall be well pleaſed, by bringing my family back again, that you ſhould have ſuch a pledge of my attachment to this Country, and of my wiſhes to cultivate a cloſe and laſting intimacy with the inhabitants.