Major General Clinton’s Proclamation to North Carolina

This proclamation offering amnesty to rebels by Major General Clinton appeared in the June 19, 1776 issue of The Pennsylvania Gazette.

By Major General Clinton, Commander of his Majesty’s Forces in the southern Provinces of North America.


WHEREAS a most unprovoked and wicked rebellion hath for some time past prevailed, and doth now exist, within his Majesty’s province of North Carolina, and the inhabitants (forgetting their allegiance to their Sovereign, and denying the authority of the laws and statutes of the realm) have, in a succession of crimes, proceeded to the total subversion of all lawful authority, usurping the powers of government, and erecting a tyranny in the hands of Congress and Committees of various denominations, utterly unknown and repugnant to the spirit of the British constitution; and divers people, in avowed defiance to all legal authority, are now actually in arms, waging unnatural war against their King; and whereas all attempts to reclaim the infatuated and misguided multitude to a sense of their error have unhappy proved ineffectual:

I have it in command to proceed forthwith against all such men, or bodies of men in arms, and against all such Congresses and Committees, thus unlawfully established, as against open enemies to the state. But, considering it a duty inseparable from the principle of humanity first of all to forewarn the deluded people of the miseries ever attendant upon civil war, I do most earnestly entreat and exhort them, as they tender their own happiness, and that of their posterity, to appease the vengeance of an injured and justly incensed nation, by a return to their duty to our common Sovereign, and to the blessings of a free government, as established by law; hereby offering, in his Majesty’s name, free pardon to all such as shall lay down their arms and submit to the laws, excepting only from the benefit of such pardon Cornelius Harnett and Robert Howe.

And I do hereby require, that the Provincial Congress, and all Committees of Safety, and other unlawful associations, be dissolved, and the judges allowed to hold their Courts according to the laws and constitution of this province; of which all persons are required to take notice, as they will answer the contrary at their utmost peril.

Given on board the Pallas transport, in Cape Fear river, in the province of North Carolina, the 5th day of May, 1776, and in the sixteenth year of his Majesty’s reign.

–H. Clinton.

By command of General Clinton,
To the Magistrates of the province of North Carolina, to be by them made public.

The Pennsylvania Gazette was one of the United States’ most prominent newspapers from 1728—before the time period of the American Revolution—until 1800. Published in Philadelphia from 1728 through 1800, The Pennsylvania Gazette is considered The New York Times of the 18th century.

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