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.