David Wooster to the Continental Congress, referred to Wythe & Committee, 11 February 1776

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David Wooster, an American general, wrote to Congress to ask them to look into a petition from merchants concerning their trade with the Native Americans. Benedict Arnold, who would be on the side of the Americans until 1780, had kept up the blockade of Quebec and Wooster said that he would join him as soon as it was safe to do so. General Wooster and General Schuyler had been insulting each other since they met, but it reached a point that Wooster asked Congress to step in and decide who had the "greatest reason to complain of ill treatment". He enclosed several letters between himself and Schuyler so that Congress had a way to make a decision. However, despite his personal disputes, Wooster said it would not stop him from preserving peace and doing all he could to maintain the rights and liberties of America.

"David Wooster to Congress, 11 February 1776, pg 1." Image from The Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789.

Letter text

Page 1

Montreal 11th Feby. 1776


This Letter will be delivered you by Mr. Walker and Mr. Price two Gentlemen whose Friendship and Attachment to our Cause is well known and to whom the United Colonies are under many Obligations. — As they are the best acquainted with this Province of perhaps any two Gentlemen in it and as there are many Transactions of great Importance to be determined concerning it, I have requested them to wait upon the Congress that you may know from them fully every thing necessary for your Information. —

I have permitted the Merchants in this Place Trading to the Upper Country to chuse a Committee to prefer a Petition to the Honorable the Congress concerning their Indian Trade, you will hear from them and from a Messrs. Walker and Price what can be said for and against it, and your Determinations in that and every other Matter I shall strictly attend to. — Besides the Operations of War there are so many Civil & Political Affairs that require the greatest Care and most Delicate Management that I could wish a Committee of Congress might be Sent into this Province.

eneral Arnold has in a most Surprising Manner kept up the Blockade of Quebec & that with half the Number of the Army he is now so well Reinforced that I apprehend but little Danger from a Sortie should they make one. I intend to Join him as soon as this place can be left with Safety & necessaries properly Provided for forwarding the Troops, as they arrive from the Colonies. — I fear we shall meet with Difficulty in taking the place for want of proper Artillery, Ammunition, &c but every thing possible will be done. — Unless we keep up a greater Force in this Province from the Colonies than should be brought against us in the Spring, I fear we can place no great dependence upon the Canadians & in that Case it might be attended with very unhappy if not fatal Consequences. — How great a force the Ministry will Send here is uncertain yet many Imagine they will make this Province the Seat of War. I hope we shall be

Page 2

"David Wooster to Congress, 11 February 1776, pg 2." Image from The Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789.

be able to keep the Field against them. I enclose you Copies of several Letters to General Schuyler with a couple of his to me. — He writes me that he has observed to Congress that I had wrote him with unbecoming Subacity. I think he might have pointed out to me the Exceptionable parts of my Letters before he made his Observations to Congress. It gives me Pain that I am obliged in my own Defence to trouble you with Examining & Determining which of us has the greatest reason to Complain of ill Treatment. I am Concious that my Conduct will bear the Strictest Scrutiny. I have ever Studiously avoided entering into any Altercation with him fearing that the Public Interest might Suffer by it. he began to Insult me immediately on my joining the Army as you will see by his Letter of the 23 Octo. last though I know no Reason under heaven why he should treat me thus Cavalierly but merely to Indulge his Capricious Humour which in the Course of the last Year he has dealt out very liberally upon many of the Officers who have served in this Department complaints of which have frequently been made to me. Happy would it be for him and for our Cause if he could learn to Bridle his Passions. The Letters between him and me will Speak for themselves. I shall send him a Copy of this Letter, and also Inclose with this a Copy of my Letter to him of this Date. — No Personal Ill treatment will ever prevent my steadily and Invariably continuing to preserve those Measures which Shall appear most Conducive to the Public Good and Shall think myself happy if by doing every thing in my Power I can be in the least Instrumental in maintaining and preserving the Rights and Liberties of my Country. I am with the Greatest Respect,


Your most Obed. & very Humble
Dav, Wooster
Honorable Continental Congress.

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"David Wooster to Congress, 11 February 1776, pg 3." Image from The Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789.

Letter from Gen. Wooster
Feby 11. 1776
Read 4 March —

Referred to
Mr. Ja. Deane
Mr. Wythe
Mr. Sherman