1775.026: Proclamation of November 7, 1775.

Published: 1775

Full Title: By His Excellency the Right Honourable John Earl of Dunmore, His Majesty's lieutenant and governour-general of the colony and dominion of Virginia, and vice admiral of the same: a proclamation. As I have ever entertained hopes that an accommodation might have taken place between Great Britain and this colony ... I do, in virtue of the power and authority to me given, by His Majesty, determine to execute martial law ... Given under my hand, on board the ship William, off Norfolk, the 7th day of November, in the 16th year of His Majesty's reign.

Author: Dunmore, John Murray, Earl of (1732-1809), governor.

Place Issued: Norfolk

Issuing Press: Lord Dunmore

Description: 1 sheet [1 pg.]; 41 cm. x 26 cm. (broadside).


Dunmore's proclamation declared a state of rebellion in Virginia; it required all loyal British subjects in the colony to rally to the King's standard and support his efforts to suppress the rebellion; most controversially, it offered emancipation for all enslaved Africans there if they joined the King's military forces in suppressing the rebellion. As this proclamation effectively ended the fiction of Dunmore's gubernatorial tenure in Virginia, it can also be considered the last official government imprint of the colonial era. Evans mistakenly ascribed this broadside to the Norfolk press of John Hunter Holt. However, Dunmore had seized that patriot press on September 30th, angered over commentaries in Holt's newspaper, and removed it to the merchant-ship William off Norfolk. In doing so, he also acquired the labor of loyal Scottish printers Alexander Cameron and Donald McDonald who printed this title for Dunmore, as well as his short-lived official Virginia Gazette; the two printers left Virginia with Dunmore the following summer and were employed as the official printers to British forces in North America at New York.

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