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Letter to General Gage

On Wednesday, December 14, 1774, Governor Wentworth wrote to
Governor Gage as follows:

PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE,

Dec. 14, 1774.
SIR.--I have the honor to receive your Excellency's letter of the
19th inst. with the letter from the Secretary of State, which
were both delivered to me on Monday evening last by Mr. Whiting.
     It is with the utmost concern I am called upon by my duty to
the King to communicate to your Excellency a most unhappy affair
perpetrated here this day.
     Yesterday in the afternoon, Paul Revere arrived in this
town, express from the committee in Boston to another committee
in this town, and delivered his dispatch to Mr. Samuel Cutts,
merchant in this town, who immediately convened the committee of
which he was one, and as I learn, laid it before them. This day
before any suspicions could be had of their intentions, about
four hundred men were collected together, and immediately
proceeded to his Majesty's Castle, William and Mary, at the
entrance of this harbour, and forcibly took possession thereof;
notwithstanding the best defence that could be made by Captain
Cochran (whose conduct has been extremely laudable, as your
Excellency will see by the enclosed letter from him), and by
violence carried away upwards of one hundred barrels of powder
belonging to the King, deposited in the castle.  I am informed
that expresses have been circulated through the neighboring
towns, to collect a number of people to-morrow, or as soon as
possible, to carry away all the cannon and arms belonging to the
castle which they will undoubtedly effect, unless some assistance
should arrive from Boston in time to prevent it.  This event too
plainlv proves the imbecility of this government to carry into
execution his Majesty's order in Council, for seizing and
detaining arms and ammunition imported into this Province,
without some strong ships of war in this harbor.  Neither is the
Province or custom house treasury in any degree safe, if it
should come into the mind of the popular leaders to seize upon
them.
     The principal persons who took the lead in this enormity are
well known. Upon the best information I can obtain, this mischief
originates from the publishing of the Secretary of State's
letter, and the King's order in Council at Rhode Island,
prohibiting the exportation of military stores from Great
Britain, and the proceedings in that Colony, in consequence of
it, which have been published here by the forementioned Mr.
Revere; and the dispatch brought, before which all was perfectly
quiet and peaceable here. I am etc.
(Signed)                     J. WENTWORTH

From: American Archives, Vol. I, p. 1042; Appendix Belknap’s History of New Hampshire (1812), Vol. III, p. 328; and N.H. Provincial Papers, Vol. VII, p. 420.