FAUQUIER county, June 11, 1771.
To PEYTON RANDOLPH, Esq; Moderator.
WE, being the committee chosen by the associators of this county, agreeable to the first article of the general association, were applied to by Mr. John Turner, one of the associating merchants, he had a quantity of goods sent in to him from Great-Britain, and desired a meeting of this committee on the same. We therefore on this day met at his store, where he fairly laid before us his invoice, and on examination thereof we find an account of a quantity of goods contrary to the terms of the association, amounting to 34£. which goods, as we had no conveninecy of taking them into our own custody, we saw packed up in bales and taken out of the store into a separate house, taking Mr. Turner's word and honour not to expose any of them to sale, but to keep them safely in his custody, to be disposed of as this committee shall hereafter direct. And having the same application from Mr. Martin Pickett, another associating merchant, and one of the Committee, we then repaired to his store, and having his invoice laid before us, proceeded to examine it in the same manner as we had Mr. Turner's; and finding therein an account of goods, contrary to the association, amounting to 135£. which Mr. Pickett assured us was sent to him directly contrary to his orders, we saw them packed up in bales and taken out of the store, taking Mr. Pickett's word and honour not to expose any of them to sale, but to keep them safely in his custody, to be disposed of as this committee shall hereafter direct. From Mr. Turner's and Mr. Pickett's candid and generous behavior in this affair, we are induced to believe their engagements, on this important occasion, will be inviolably adhered to, and that they well deserve the confidence we have reposed in them.
It is with the utmost concern, Mr. Moderator, that we inform you of the conduct of our neighbouring merchants in the towns of Dumfries and Falmouth. We are well assured they have all imported goods as usual, and of goods contrary to the association more largely than ever; eager, one to get the start of another, in gleaning the spoils of an oppressed country, to which they owe their bread. These goods they publicly expose to sale in their stores, in open and shameless violation of their most sacred engagements; and in justification of themselves, they plead the general example of Fredericksburg, Port Royal, and even Williamsburg itself, where, they say, the association is paid no manner of regard to. If this is really the case, our situation is to be the lamented. It, in our opinions, clearly proved a combination of the merchants of this colony and Great-Britain against us, and justifies a strong suspicion of a premeditated scheme in them to aid the Parliament of Great-Britain in fixing the yoke of slavery on America. It appears from their subsequent conduct, that they entered into the association with that seeming cordiality, in order to betray with the more facility, and destroy that mutual confidence on which our association was founded, and which was absolutely necessary to give success to our measures. What can we think of such men? They have approved themselves enemies to this country, and as such ought to be avoided by every man of public virtue. They may, with their brethren of New-York, obtain the thanks of the Ministry, but surely must acknowledge themselves at the same time clearly intitled to the execrations of this much injured country.
As to the committees appointed in the several counties, agreeable to the first article of the association, especially those of King George and Prince William, we hope they will excuse the liberty we take in recommending it to them, seriously to consider, whether or not they have acted up to the character of men of honour, in discharging the trust reposed in them, agreeable to the tenor of the general association; and beg leave to inform them, as well as the other associators, that if it be true that the merchants in general throughout the colony are suffered to sell goods contrary to the association, without censure or interruption, that we shall hereafter look upon ourselves to be discharged from every obligation entered into by the association.
We are, with the most respectful esteem,
Sir, your very humble servants,