They would not take up NG's "precious Time" except from the "highest necessity." They name various American officers who, they assert, would testify to the residents' willingness to supply everything their "small Settlement" can afford. Salem was "inhabitated" in 1772 and 1773 and is thus "in its Infancy." It has barely 100 adults, who owe a great part of their "Stock in Trade" and their houses "to others." Despite this, they have "never been behindhand with any Part of the County" and often find that the "whole Weight" of providing for troops falls on them. They have built a storehouse and horse sheds for the army's use and have emptied and turned over "large & small Houses" for a hospital and for quartering troops. They have done these things cheerfully, as their share of the "Calamities of the Times." Their complaint is with
the great Excesses at all Times committed by the Militia both here & at the old Town called Bethabara and within a few Days past, since the regular Troops, the Hospital & the magazine of Ammunition were gone from hence, the renewed Excess of some Georgia & South Carolina People traveling thro' here[,] the Robberies committed in our Neighbourhood, the unreasonable Treatment we just now receive of a couple of hundred militia of another County, come here under Pretence of going to join Your Excellency's Army, but far from that seeming to have much Time on their Hands, and continually exacting new Quantities of Brandy, Meat[,] Bread[,] Flower, Corn, Salt, [im]pressing of Horses or having theirs shod; with horrid Imprecations, striking the people, coining of Stories, & threatning not to leave this place before they have killed a Number of us, besides many Pretences to pick a Quarrel or invade Peoples Properties.
These Sir are The Greivances which in the Distress of our Hearts we cannot help laying before Your Excellency.[1
They ask NG to send a "few" regulars to protect them; if the British come—and they hope that will not be the case—they will do their "utmost" to prevent the regulars from being captured.[2
] Col. Anthony W. White's Continental troops had left Salem on 4 February
; the stores and the hospital were removed the next day. The robberies, which were committed in the neighboring town of Friedberg, seem to have taken place on 5 February
. A militia detachment from Wilkes County, N.C., which arrived on 7 February
, committed most of the deeds mentioned in the petition. The Moravian records contain details of the demands the militiamen made for supplies. Those demands, according to the records, were accompanied by threats, implying that the town might be plundered. Soon after the militia left town, the residents wrote this petition and sent it to NG. (Records of the Moravians, 4: 1672-75