COMMITTEE OF SAFETY
The British having burned a part of Falmouth [now Portland], in Maine, and it being feared that they would also attempt to destroy Portsmouth, General Sullivan was dispatched from Cambridge, in October, to take the command of the militia and defend the harbor of the Piscataqua. Thirteen soldiers were sent from Hampton; but all of them were discharged after a few days. A month later, the convention at Exeter voted that eight hundred men, offices included, divided into eight companies, should be enlisted at once for the defense of the harbor of Piscataqua and the fortress there. Capt. Henry Elkins, of Hampton, was to command one of the companies.
The royal government in New Hampshire having virtually ceased, the chief authority now acknowledged was that of the convention sitting at Exeter. In that convention were one hundred thirty-three members, representing one hundred two towns. As it would have been very inconvenient for so large a body to attend to all the details of business, they appointed, besides other committees for specific objects, a committee, styled "The Committee of Safety," to whom they gave this general instruction and authority: "To take under consideration all matters in which the welfare of the Province in the security of their rights is concerned; and to take the utmost care, that the public sustain no damage." Special instructions were also, on some occasions, given to them. They at all times exercised executive powers, and when the convention was not in session, "their orders and recommendations had the same effect as the acts and resolves of that whole body." Capt. Josiah Mouton was the only member of this committee, belonging to Hampton. He was first appointed May 24, 1775, and held the position till January 31, 1781, when he also ceased to be a member of the House of Representatives, the town having chosen another person in his place at the election in December, 1780.