On June 28, 1776 Joseph Hewes wrote to his friend James Iredell, who would later be appointed by George Washington as one of the first justices of the Supreme Court, stating his confidence that the coming vote for independence would pass with an overwhelming majority. The vote for a Declaration of Independence from Great Britain, which took place on the following Monday, July 2nd, passed with a unanimous vote of the members present. The letter also discusses a plot to kill General Washington that was uncovered in New York and the activities of Continental troops in various places.
Philada. 28th June 1776
I have to thank you for two Letters, and believe me I do it most heartily; you are almost the only Correspondent I have in No. Carolina, but more of this next oppertunity, at present I confine my self to news. Burgoyne with a large force is arived in Canada. Genl Sullivan sent 2000 Men under Genl. Thompson to engage a party of the Kings Troops that were about forty Miles below head quarters towards Quebec but unluckily the evening before Thompson came up with them they had been reinforced by Burgoyne with several regiments just arrived. Notwithstanding the superiour force Thompson engaged them, was repulsed with the loss of 150 men killed & taken prisoners. In the retreat Thompson & five or Six officers were taken prisoners by a party of Canadians who tho they were supposed to be our friends found this a lucky time to make their peace with the strongest party. Our whole army are retreated to the Isle a Noix a little on this side St. Johns, 1500 of them have the Small Pox, out of three Regiments not more than fifty able to bear Arms, we hope to keep possession of the Lakes. A damnable Plott has been discovered in New York, there hellish Tories had concerted a plan to Murder General Washington & Several other Generals, Blow up the Magazine & Spike up all the cannon, they waited only for the Arival of the Kings Troops when this plan was to have been executed. The General has not yet got to the Bottom of this affair. Many persons are taken up and imprisoned, some persons of Note among them, the Mayor of the City, the famous Major Rogers &c. &c., it is said Govr. Tryon is concerned, but he is safe on board a Kings Ship at Sandy Hook, so much for the dark side. Things go a little better in another Quarter, our Continental Vessels of war & some Privateers have taken lately at different times & places Six large Transport Ships from Scotland having in all near 600 of Frasiers Regiment of highlanders on board with their Baggage, Arms provisions &c. An express that came half an hour ago informs that he saw upwards of 200 of these march out of Boston in order to be confined in the Jails in the Country. He says they are fine Men, have all New regimentals, Scarlet faced with blue, he came out he says with them and heard Many of them curse most bitterly both King & Parliament for deceiving them. They had been told not a Rebel would be found on the Sea Coast, that they had all fled fifty or sixty miles back in the Country and that they were sent here to enjoy the Lands which the Rebells had forsaken, they did not expect any thing else, & had brought their Wives in order to set down quiet
&c. Governor Franklyn is taken into custody and sent Prisoner to Connecticut.
On Monday the great question of Independancy and Total Seperation from all political intercourse with Great Britain will come on, it will be carried I expect by a great Majority and then I suppose we shall take upon us a New Name. My Complimts. to Mr Johnston, I recd. a line from him from Halifax by the return Waggons, also one from Edenton by Williams who is the bearer of this. I have not [time] to write him now, shall do it by Post on Tuesday, he must consider this as written to him also, my Compliments to the Ladies.
I am Dr Sir, Your mo. Obed hum Ser.