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Clymer, George (1739-1813) to Committee of Correspondence of the County of Berks

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00496.022 Author/Creator: Clymer, George (1739-1813) Place Written: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Type: Manuscript letter signed Date: 18 April 1775 Pagination: 3 p. : address ; 32 x 20 cm.

Summary of Content: Also signed by Joseph Reed, John Cadwalader, Thomas Mifflin, Jonathan B. Smith, John Benezet, James Mease, John Nixon, and Samuel Meredith. Circular to the committees of Pennsylvania encouraging the formation of military associations in each county; this letter was sent to Berks County. This is an answer to the letter of Berks County of 15 April 1775. Says now that "Ministerial violence" - meaning attacks by British troops under Parliament's orders - has occurred they need to act and not deliberate. Says their "despotic" intentions are "beyond doubt." Says word came that the Houses of Parliament were passing bills to deprive Massachusetts of its fisheries and to stop all trade in the colonies except New York, Carolina, and Quebec. Claims a body of troops and a fleet of men at war are on their way to America. Says a moment cannot be lost in forming military associations. Starting to stockpile gunpowder, lead, flint and brass field pieces. Describes precautions taken with regard to ammunition and supplies. Says if a convention was called they would be doing what is already being doing. Says the Continental Congress will know under what spirit they operated. Tells them to use the remaining time to prepare for war.

Background Information: Signer of the U.S. Constitution.

Clymer was a Pennsylvania delegate to the Continental Congress 1776-1777; 1780-1782, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. John Nixon read the Declaration ...of Independence publicly for the first time from the Pennsylvania State House steps.See More

Full Transcript: Philadelphia April 18th 1775
We are directed by the general Committees to answer your letter of 15 Instant The very important subject of it has been under our Consideration at two ...different meetings, the result of which is that it is not expedient at this time to assemble the Convention, some Inconveniences and difficulties, we forsee will arise from it, but our principal reason for declining it is that Ministerial violence has now made it more proper to Act, than to deliberate. Amused with a variety of Accounts from England for the last two weeks indicated a great distraction of Councils that those we received yesterday put beyond doubt the despotic and Sanguinary Intentions of our Enemies - The substance of these accounts are that Bills were passing through both Houses of Parliament to deprive the People of the Masachusets Bay of their Fishery, to put an entire stop to the whole Trade of the Colonies with an Exception as to that of New York (the reward of Perfidy and Desertion in its Assembly) of No Carolina, (from whence the Nation obtains its Naval Stores,) and of Quebec,…that a Numerous Body of Troops in prepairing [sic] to embark for America accompanied with a Fleet of Ships of War. Resolutions that too plainly are meant to intimidate and to hold the sword at our Throats, while dishonourable and inglorious, Terms of Peace are offered for our Acceptance
This is the exigency of affairs that requirs not a moment should be lost, in forming military associations throughout this Province. This we most earnestly recommend to you and every County, and shall try to set on foot in this City [2] In the mean time, we have taken measures to secure all the Powder and Lead in Town, and a Necessary Quantity of Flouts which will be lodged in some distant Magazine, out of the reach of surprize, and are prepairing Carriages for some Brass Field Pieces, and shall continue the utmost vigilence and Industry in providing every necessary for defence -
We Conceive the only use of a Convention wou'd be to direct such preperations as we have been speaking of, which from the Zeal of our Countrymen, we hope will take place without that loss of time so unavoidable, were they to wait the assembling and Deliberations of a general Convention -
We are of opinion that going immediately into this measure will have this very important Effect, that the Continental Congress will in proportion to our Exertions have an earlier opportunity of knowing by what spirit we are moved, and how far they may rely upon the Efforts of Pennsylvania, in an approaching struggle when arms shall be made necessary to avoid Tribute and Vassalage. -
We earnestly beg that the best use be made of the Time that may be left for preperation, that your People wou[ld] provide themselves with Firelocks, and if Possible with Swor[ds] that every Artisan among you be set at work for these purp[ose] and that, they proceed to the appointment of Officers -
What plan of association will be most proper, we are at a loss to know, that of Virginia, seems to be the result of mature Reflection, We shall however endeavour to furnish you with the best printed Directions for acquiring a Complea[t] [3] skill in the military art
We shall only Conclude with this Caution to you, by no means to expend the little Powder among you, in any unnecessary Purpose. -
We are gentlemen
your Friend and hble servts
Jos: Reed
John Cadwalader
Geo Clymer
Tho Mifflin
Jon: B: Smith
John Benezet
John Nixon
James Mease
Saml Meredith

[address leaf]
The Committee of Correspondence
of the County of

The Committee of Berks are requested to forward
the letters & books inclosed with this to the
several Counties.
See More

People: Reed, Joseph, 1741-1785
Cadwalader, John, 1742-1786
Clymer, George, 1739-1813
Mifflin, Thomas, 1744-1800
Smith, Jonathan Bayard, 1720-1806
Nixon, John, 1733-1808
Meredith, Samuel, 1741-1817
Benezet, John, fl. 1775

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: Military HistoryRevolutionary WarGovernment and CivicsGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyMilitiaLawCommerceMerchants and TradeNavyWeaponryAmmunitionArtilleryContinental Congress

Sub Era: The War for Independence

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