Alexandria, 9th. Decem. 1775.
When ministerial Tools are employing every wicked Machination to accomplish their unjust Purposes, 'tis high time every virtuous Citizen shou'd be on the Watch guarding those Liberties, which the Tyrants have mark'd out for Destruction; Actuated by these Mo- tives, and wishing to contribute to the Protection of this Colony & the common Cause; we the Committee of Correspondence for the County of Fairfax beg leave to present you our Representatives in Genel Convention w'th: a few such Observations, as we think maybe usefull at this Period of imminent Danger.
By late accounts from the Southward it appears that Lord Dunmore is daily increasing in Force & Garrison; we hoped that the two Regiments of Regulars wou'd e'er this have circumscrib'd his Career and prevented his insulting this Colony in Proclamations & Plunder; it seems he still continues to pester us, and numbers on the Minute Establishment are call'd into actual Service. Shou'd there still be a Necessity for augmenting the Army, for the more effectual Defence of this Colony; we wou'd recommend the raising of Regulars for the Purpose; daily Experience evinces, that the Minute System is very inadequate to the Design; wherever the Colony is expos'd and vulnerable, there we wou'd recommend Regular Forces to be station'd; an Arrangement might be made so as to contribute alternately to each others Assistance on the Shortest Notice of an Attack—we wou'd likewise advise, your promoting the fitting out a few Vessells of War, to protect the Bay & Rivers, from Lord Dunmore's Pirates, we beg leave to assure you such Vessells are attainable, can be man'd & equipp'd.
We allso request that you will encourage, some effectual Plan, for supplying the Colony with Arms & Ammunition, as we do apprehend, the calling a Number of Men to the lower Parts of the Colony, unaccoutred is incurring an Expence to little purpose & exhibiting to the World the Shadow of an Army. The Ordinance for arming the Militia we think ineffectual & dependant on a Contingency, we wish not to happen, the Default of the People. The Sword is drawn, the Bayonet is allready at our Breasts, therefore some immediate Effort is necessary to ward off the meditated Blow, let the County Lieutenants be supply'd with Arms from the Armory at Fredericksburg, or have Liberty to buy them any where at the Country's Expence, and the Fines go into the common Fund—it seems that a considerable Force hath been employ'd to guard the little Money in the Treasury; let us observe that an interior Part of the Colony, seems best calculated for preserving the public Money & Military Stores, there, less liable to Depradation, consequently, an inconsiderable Guard necessary. Be pleas'd to acquaint the Convention, that there are at Winchester, fourteen Cannon, at Cressaps two, at Fort Cumberland six in good order and belonging to the Colony, these might be useful on Navigation, at their present Situation not wanted, the Committee of Safety have been wrote to on this Subject, but no answer given to the Letter.
From the present System adopted by those at the Head of Affairs, it wou'd appear that the upper parts of the Colony were to be left destitute of Defence, and totally neglected. Companies on the Minute Service call'd out of the Northern District e'er those in the Southern one, more contiguous to the Place for Action have repair'd to it. Why is this part of the Country to be left unguarded? when it appears, not only from the public Papers, but Lord Dunmore's Assignation with Conoly that Alexanderia was to be their place of rendezvous in the Month of April next, a place well known to the Officers who were out on Genl. Braddock's Expedition, a safe Harbour for Ships of War &commanding a most material part of the Colony.
If we are to be govern'd by a Council of Safety, we do recommend, that you give your Voice for a full and equitable Representation, as the only means to unite us & produce the most salutary Effects; to sum up the whole of our requests, we beg you will use your utmost Endeavours, that Men may be rais'd on the Regular Establishment, & Vessells arm'd, both to be stationed at such Places as will contribute to the Safety of the Colony at large, that you be not sparing in the raising of Money for the good of the Colony, but be cautious in the distribution of it for be the Taxes in future what they may we shall cheerfully retrench every other Luxury to secure that of being free, and are with much Regard & Esteem Gentlemen Your obt huble Serv'ts, JOHN DALTON
RC (Vi). Addressed to George Mason and Charles Broadwater, the Fairfax County delegates. Endorsed: "Retd. to Comtee. on State of the Colony." The letter was read to the Convention on 18 Dec. 1775.
The hasty call for a Dec. convention session was perhaps too fast for GM. At any rate, George Mason did not serve. (The "Mr. Mason" mentioned in the convention minutes is David Mason of Sussex County). George Mason knew of Dunmore's activities and was doubtless aware of the governor's 7 Nov. 1775 proclamation (Force, American Archives, III, 1385) which declared martial law in effect and