Difference between revisions of "George Washington to John Hancock, referred to Wythe & Committee, 30 January 1776"

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[[Wikipedia: George Washington| George Washington]] says that having success in Canada will be important for America to show its capability in fighting the Revolutionary War, so it should be a priority to quickly send troops to Canada.  In June 1775, [[Wikipedia: James Lovell (Continental Congress)| James Lovell]] had been taken prisoner by [[Wikipedia: William Howe, 5th Viscount Howe| General Howe]] after the [[Wikipedia: Battle of Bunker Hill| Battle of Bunker Hill]] and when Howe evacuated Boston in March 1776, Lovell was taken with the British fleet to Halifax, Nova Scotia.  In obedience of an order of Congress, Washington suggests that [[Wikipedia: Philip Skene| Governor Skene]], a British officer that was under arrest in Connecticut, be exchanged for Lovell.  Washington goes on to discuss what he knows about rankings of officers and says that he will be appointing officers to go to Canada.  He tells Congress that around fifteen tons of powder have been destroyed in heavy rains because the insufficient tents lead to unavoidable damage.  Because of this, he asks for more powder to be manufactured and sent especially since the King's troops always have enough ammunition for each soldier and an encounter with them without sufficient ammunition would be detrimental.  Washington suggests several generals to go serve in Canada, but [[Wikipedia: Philip Schuyler| General Schuyler]] is his top pick to be sent.  Washington concludes his letter by suggesting that Congress send some people to investigate Halifax, Nova Scotia to keep track of the number of British troops stationed there.
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[[File:WashingtontoWytheetal30Jan1776p1.jpg|right|thumb|300px|<p>"George Washington to the President of Congress, 30 January 1776, pg 1." Image from ''The Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789.''</p>]]
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==Letter text==
 
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[[File:WashingtontoWytheetal30Jan1776p1.jpg|right|thumb|200px|<p>"George Washington to the President of Congress, 30 January 1776, pg 1." Image from ''The Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789.''</p>]]
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<blockquote>
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Cambridge Jany 30. 1776<br />
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Cambridge Jany 30. 1776
Sir, <br />
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&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Your favour of the 6th & 20th Instant, I received yesterday with the Several resolves of Congress alluded to, for which I return you my thanks.  <br />
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Sir,  
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Knowing the great Importance Canada will be of to us in the present Interesting contest, and the relief our Friends those stand in need of, I should be happy, were It in my power to detach a Batallion from this Camp, But It cannot be doneOn the 19 Inst. I had the Honor to write you, which will fully Convey the Resolutions of a Council of War & the Sentiments of the General Officers have as to the propriety and expediency of sending Troops from these Lands, for the defense of which we have been, & now are, Obliged to call in the Militia, to which I beg have to refer youYou may rest assured, that my endeavours & exertions shall not be wanting to Stimulate the Governments of Connecticut & New Hampshire to raise & forward reinforcements as fast as possible, nor in any other instance that will promote the expectation.  <br />
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&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;I shall in Obedience to the Order of Congress, the Interdicted by General Howe, propose an Exchange of Governor Sheene for Mr. Lovell & family & shall be happy to have an Opportunity of putting this deserving man (who has distinguished his fidelity & regard to his Country to be too great for prosecution & cruelty to overcome) in any post agreeable to his wishes & inclination.  <br />
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Your favours of the 6th & 20th Instant, I received yesterday with the Several resolves of Congress alluded to, for which I return you my thanks.   
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;I do not know that there is any particular rank annexed to the Office of Aid, de Camp. Generally they are Captains and Rank as suchBut higher rank is officer given on account of particular account, & particular circumstances. Aids to the King have the Rank of ColonelsWhether any distinction should be made between those of your Commander in Chief, & the other Generals I really know not I think these ought. <br />
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&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;You may rely that Conolly had Instructions concealed in his SaddleMr. Justice who was once of Ld. Dunmore’s family, & another Gentleman who wishes his name not to be mentioned, saw them cased in Ten, put in the Tree & covered over. He probably has enchanged his Saddle, or withdrew the papers when It was mended as you Conjectured.  Those that have been discovered are sufficiently bad, but I doubt not of the others being worse<br />
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Knowing the great Importance Canada will be of to us in the present Interesting contest, and the relief our Friends those stand in need of, I should be happy, were It in my power to detach a Batallion from this Camp, But It cannot be done &mdash; On the 19 Inst. I had the Honor to write you, which will fully Convey the Resolutions of a Council of War & the Sentiments of the General Officers here, as to the propriety and expediency of sending Troops from these Lands, for the defense of which we have been, & now are, Obliged to call in the Militia, to which I beg have to refer you &mdash; You may rest assured, that my endeavours & exertions shall not be wanting to Stimulate the Governments of Connecticut & New Hampshire to raise & forward reinforcements as fast as possible, nor in any other instance that will promote the expectation.   
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I shall in Obedience to the Order of Congress, the Interdicted by General Howe, propose an Exchange of Governor Sheene for Mr. Lovell & family, & shall be happy to have an Opportunity of putting this deserving man (who has distinguished his fidelity & regard to his Country to be too great for prosecution & cruelty to overcome) in any post agreeable to his wishes & inclination.   
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I do not know that there is any particular rank annexed to the Office of Aid, de Camp &mdash; Generally they are Captains and Rank as such &mdash; But higher rank is often given on account of particular merit, & particular circumstances &mdash; Aids to the King have the Rank of Colonels &mdash; Whether any distinction should be made between those of your Commander in Chief, & the other Generals I really know not I think these ought.  
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You may rely that Conolly had Instructions concealed in his Saddle &mdash; Mr. Eustice who was once of Ld. Dunmore’s family, & another Gentleman who wishes his name not to be mentioned, saw them cased in Ten, put in the Tree & covered over. &mdash; he probably has exchanged his Saddle, or withdrew the papers when It was mended as you Conjecture — those that have been discovered are sufficiently bad, but I doubt not of the others being worse
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</blockquote>
  
 
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[[File:WashingtontoWytheetal30Jan1776p2.jpg|right|thumb|200px|<p>"George Washington to the President of Congress, 30 January 1776, pg 2." Image from ''The Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789.''</p>]]
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[[File:WashingtontoWytheetal30Jan1776p2.jpg|right|thumb|250px|<p>"George Washington to the President of Congress, 30 January 1776, pg 2." Image from ''The Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789.''</p>]]
worse & containing more diabolical & extensive plansI hope he will be taken proper care of & meet with rewards equal to his merits.  <br />
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<blockquote>
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;I shall appoint Officer in the places of those which are in Canada, as I am fully persuaded they will wish to continue there, for making our Conquest complete in that QuarterI wish their braver & valor may be attended with the smiles of Fortune.  <br />
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worse & containing more diabolical & extensive plans &mdash; I hope he will be taken proper care of & meet with rewards equal to his merits.   
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;It gives me great pleasure to hear of the endeavours Congress are taking for manufacturing powderI hope those endeavours will be Crowned with SuccessI too will know and regret the want of ItIt is scarcely possible describe the disadvantages an Army must labour under, when not provided with a sufficient supply of this necessaryIt may seem strange that after having received about 11, Tons added to about five tons which I found hard and no General Action has happened, that we should be so deficient in this Article & require moreBut you will please to consider besides Its being its natural subject to waste, & while the men lay in bad Tents was unavoidably damaged by sword & heavy cains (which could not have been prevented, unless it had been entirely withdrawn from them) and an Attack hazarded against us without ammunition in their hands that the Armed Vessels Our own occasional firings, & some small supplies I have been obliged to afford the seaport towns threatened with destruction, to which may be added the supply to the Militia, and going off of the old troops, have occasioned, and ever will, a large consumption of it, and waste, in spite of all the care in the world. The King' s troops never have less than sixty rounds a man in their possession, independent of their stores. To supply an army of twenty thousand in this manner, would take near four hundred barrels, allowing nothing for stores, artillery, &c. I have been always afraid to place more than twelve or fifteen rounds at a time in the hands of our men, lest, any accident happening to it, we should be left destitute and be undone. I have been thus particular, not only to show our poverty, but to exculpate myself from even a suspicion of unnecessary waste. <br />
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I shall inform the Paymaster-General of the resolution of Congress respecting his drafts, and the mode and amount of them. <br />
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I shall appoint Officers in the places of those which are in Canada, as I am fully persuaded they will wish to continue there, for making our Conquest complete in that Quarter; &mdash; I wish their bravery & valor may be attended with the smiles of Fortune.   
The Companies at Chelsea and Malden are, and have always been regimented. <br />
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It was not my intention to replace, with Continental troops, the independent Companies at Hingham, Weymouth, and Braintree; these places are exposed, but not more so than Cape-Ann, Beverly, Salem, Marblehead, &c., &c., &c. <br />
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It gives me great pleasure to hear of the endeavours Congress are taking for manufacturing powder &mdash; I hope their endeavours will be Crowned with Success &mdash; I too will know and regret the want of It &mdash; It is scarcely possible describe the disadvantages an Army must labour under, when not provided with a sufficient supply of this necessary &mdash; It may seem strange that after having received about 11, Tons added to about five Tons which I found here and no General Action has happened, that we should be so deficient in this Article & require more &mdash; But you will please to consider besides Its being its natural subject to waste, & whilst the men lay in bad Tents was unavoidably damaged by severe & heavy rains (which could not have been prevented, unless it had been entirely withdrawn from them, and an Attack hazarded against us without ammunition in their hands) that the Armed Vessels &mdash; Our own occasional firings, & some small Supplies I have been Obliged to afford the Sea Port Towns threatened with destruction, to which may be added the supply to the Militia, & going off of the old Troops, have occasioned & ever will a large consumption of It, & waste, in spite of all the care in the world &mdash; the King's Troops never have less than 60 rounds a man in their possession, Independent of their stores &mdash; to supply an Army of 20,000 in this manner, would take near 400 Barrells, allowing nothing for Stores, Artillery, &c. I have been always afraid to place more than 12 or 15 Rounds at a time in the hands of our men, lest any Accident happening to It, we should be left destitute & be undone &mdash; I have been thus particular, not only to show our poverty, but to exculpate myself, from even a suspicion of unnecessary waste.  
Is it the intention of Congress that the officers of the Army should pay postage? They are not exempted by the resolve of the 9th instant. <br />
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The Congress will be pleased, I have no doubt, to recollect that the five hundred thousand dollars now coming, are but little more than enough to bring us up to the first day of this month, that to-morrow will be the last of it, and by their resolves the troops are to be paid monthly. <br />
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I shall Inform the Paymaster General of the Resolution of Congress, respecting his drafts, & the mode and amount of them.  
I wish it was in my power to furnish Congress with such a General as they desire to send to Canada. Since the unhappy reverse of our affairs in that quarter, General Schuyler has informed me that though he had thoughts of declining the service before, he would now act. <br />
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My letter of the 11th, will inform them of General Lee' s being at New-York. He will be ready to obey their orders should they incline to send him; but if I am not greatly deceived, he, or some other spirited, able officer, will be wanted there in the Spring, if not sooner, as we have undoubted intelligence that General Clinton has sailed with some troops; the reports of their number are various, from between four hundred and five hundred to nineteen, companies of Grenadiers and Light Infantry. It is also imagined that the regiments which were to sail the 1st of December, are intended for that place or Virginia. General Putnam is a most valuable man and a fine executive officer, but I do not know how he would conduct in a separate department; he is a younger Major-General than Mr. Schuyler, who, as I have observed, having determined to continue in service, will, I expect, repair into Canada. A copy of my letter to him on this and other subjects, I enclose you, as it will explain my motives for not stopping the regiments from these Governments. <br />
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The Companies at Chelsea & Malden are, & have always been [regimented.]
When Captain Cochran arrives I will give him every assistance in my power, in obedience to the orders of Congress, but I fear it will be the means of laying up our own vessels, as these people will not bear the distinction; should this be the consequence, it will be highly prejudicial to us, as we <br />
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[It was not my intention to replace, with] Continental Troops, the Independent Companies at Hingham, Weymouth, & Braintree &mdash; these places are exposed, but not more so than Cape Ann, Beverly, Salem, Marblehead, &c. &c. &c.  
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Is it the intention of Congress that the Officers of the Army should pay postage? they are not exempted by the Resolve of the 9 Inst.  
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The Congress will be pleased, I have no doubt, to recollect, that the 500,000 Dollars now coming, are but little more than enough to bring us up to the first day of this Month, that tomorrow will be the last of It, and by their Resolves the Troops are to be paid Monthly.  
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I wish it was in my power to furnish Congress with such a General as they desire to send to Canada. &mdash; Since the unhappy reverse of our affairs in that Quarter, General Schuyler has Informed me, that though he had thoughts of declining the service before, he would now act. &mdash; My Letter of the 11th, will Inform them of General Lee' s being at New York, he will be ready to Obey their Orders should they Incline to send him, But If I am not greatly deceived, he or some other spirited able officer will be wanted there in the Spring, if not sooner, as we have undoubted Intelligence that General Clinton has sailed with some Troops &mdash; the reports of their Number are various, from between 400 & 500 to Nineteen, Companies of Grenadiers & Light Infantry &mdash; It is also Immagined that the Regiments which were to sail the 1st of December are Intended for that place or Virginia &mdash; General Putnam is a most valuable man, & a fine executive Officer, but I do not know how he would conduct in a separate department &mdash; he is a younger Major General than Mr. Schuyler &mdash; who as I have observed, having determined to continue in Service, will I expect repair into Canada &mdash; A Copy of my Letter to him on this & other Subjects, I inclose you, as It will explain my motives for not stopping the regiments from these Governments.  
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When Captain Cochran arrives I will give him every Assistance in my power, in obedience to the Orders of Congress &mdash; but I fear It will be the means of laying up our own Vessels, as these people will not bear the distinction &mdash; should this be be the consequence, It will be highly prejudicial to us, as we  
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</blockquote>
  
 
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[[File:WashingtontoWytheetal30Jan1776p3.jpg|right|thumb|200px|<p>"George Washington to the President of Congress, 30 January 1776, pg 3." Image from ''The Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789.''</p>]]
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[[File:WashingtontoWytheetal30Jan1776p3.jpg|right|thumb|250px|<p>"George Washington to the President of Congress, 30 January 1776, pg 3." Image from ''The Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789.''</p>]]
sometimes pick up their provision vessels, and may continue to distress them in this way. Last week Captain Manly took a ship and a brig bound to Boston, from Whitehaven, with coals, chiefly, and some potatoes for the army. I have, for his great vigilance and industry, appointed him Commodore of our little squadron, and he now hoists his flag on board the schooner Hancock. <br />
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<blockquote>
I congratulate you upon the recovery of Smith, and am exceedingly glad to hear of the measures Congress are taking for the general defence of the Continent. The clouds thicken fast; where they will burst I know not, but we should be armed at all points. <br />
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sometimes pick up their Provision Vessels, and may continue to distress them in this way &mdash; Last week Captain Manly took a Ship & a Brig bound to Boston, from White Haven with Coals chiefly, & some potatoes for the Army &mdash; I have for his great vigilance & Industry appointed him Commodore of our Little Squadron & he now hoists his Flag on board the Schooner Hancock &mdash;
I have not succeeded in my application to those Governments for arms; they have returned for answer, that they cannot furnish any. Whether I shall be more lucky in the last resource left me in this quarter, I cannot determine, not having received returns from the officers sent out to purchase from the people. I greatly fear that but very few will be procured in this way, as they are exceedingly scarce, and but a small part of what there are fit for service; when they make their report, you shall be informed. <br />
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The Quartermaster-General has just received from General Schuyler clothing for the soldiery, amounting to about one thousand seven hundred pounds, York currency It has come very seasonably, as they are in great want, and will contribute a little to their relief. <br />
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I congratulate you upon the recovery of Smith, and am exceedingly glad to hear of the measures Congress are taking for the General defence of the Continent &mdash; the Clouds thicken fast, where they will burst I know not, but we should be armed at all points.  
Since writing the above I saw Mr. Eustice, and mentioning that nothing had been found in the tree of Connolly' s saddle, he told me that there had been a mistake in the matter, that the instructions were artfully concealed in the two pieces of wood which are on the mail pillion of his portmanteau saddle; that by order of Lord Dunmore, he saw them contrived for the purpose, the papers put in, and first covered with tin, and over that with a waxed canvass cloth. He is so exceedingly pointed and clear in his information, that I have no doubt of its being true. I could wish them to be discovered, as I think they contain some curious and extraordinary plans. Here we were stripped and searched again, and examined separately before the Committee, where one of the most illiberal, inveterate, and violent Rebels, named Samuel Chase, (son of a respectable and very worthy clergyman of this Province,) a lawyer and a member of the Congress, presided. <br />
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At this place, we were not a little alarmed lest they should discover our instructions, papers, &c., as they examined every thing so strictly as to take our saddles to pieces, and take out the stuffing, and even rip open the soles of our boots, in vain, for the object of their search was not found, although they so frequently handled what contained it. However, by some neglect of Colonel Connolly' s servant, an old torn piece of papor was found in his portmanteau, which discovered some part of our design; and then Colonel Connolly, to prevent our falling immediate sacrifices to a frantick mob, acknowledged our commisions. The servant, however, who was faithful to his trust, being allowed to go at large from the first of our confinement, took care to destroy the mail pillion-sticks, containing the papers, commissions, and instructions, which we dreaded so much boing discovered, as soon as he could effect it with safety, which put an end to OUr anxiety and alarms on that account.—Smith' s Tour. leave to enclose you. I shall write General Schuyler respecting the tender of service made by the former, and not to call for their assistance unless he shall at any time want it, or be under the necessity of doing it, to prevent their taking the side of our enemies. <br />
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I have not succeeded in my applications to these Governments for Arms, they have returned for Answer, that they cannot furnish any &mdash; Whether I shall be more lucky in the last resource left me in this quarter, I cannot determine, having not received returns from the Officers sent out to purchase from the people &mdash; I greatly fear, that but very few will be procured in this way, as they are exceedingly scarce, & but a small part of what there are, fit for service &mdash; When they make their report, you shall be Informed.  
I had the honour of writing you on the 19th November, and then informed you of having engaged two persons to go to Nova-Scotia, <br />
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The Quarter Master General has just received from General Schuyler, Clothing for the Soldiery amounting to about £ 1,700 York Currency, It has come very seasonably as they are in great want, and will contribute a little to their relief.  
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Since writing the above I saw Mr. Eustice, & mentioning that Nothing had been found in the Tree of Connolly's Saddle, he told me that there had been a mistake in the matter; That the Instructions were artfully concealed in the Two pieces of Wood which are on the Mail Pilion of his Port Manteau Saddle; that by order of Ld. Dunmore he saw them contrived for the purpose, the papers put in, & first covered with Tin, & over that with a Waxed Canvass Cloth &mdash; he is so exceedingly pointed & clear in his Information, that I have no doubt of its being true. I could wish them to be discovered, as I think they contain some curious & extraordinary plans.  
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In my Letter of the 24 Inst., I mentioned the Arrival of Thirteen of our Coghnawaga Friends &mdash; they Honored me with a Talk to day, as did three, of the Tribes of the St. John's & Pasmiquaddi Indians &mdash; Copies of which I beg have to Incluse you &mdash; I shall write General Schuyler respecting the Tender of Services made by the former, and not to call for their Assistance unless he shall at any time want It, or be under the necessity of doing It, to prevent their taking the side of our Enemies.  
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I had the the honor of writing you on the 19 of November & then Informed you of having engaged Two persons to go Nova Scotia  
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</blockquote>
  
 
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[[File:WashingtontoWytheetal30Jan1776p4.jpg|right|thumb|200px|<p>"George Washington to the President of Congress, 30 January 1776, pg 4." Image from ''The Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789.''</p>]]
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[[File:WashingtontoWytheetal30Jan1776p4.jpg|right|thumb|250px|<p>"George Washington to the President of Congress, 30 January 1776, pg 4." Image from ''The Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789.''</p>]]
on the business recommended in your letter of the 10th, and, also, that the state of the Army would not then admit of a sufficient force being sent for carrying into execution the views of Congress respecling the dock-yards, &c. <br />
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<blockquote>
I would now beg leave to mention, that if the persons sent for information should report favourably of the expediency and practicability of the measure, that it will not be in my power to detach any men from these lines; the situation of our affairs will not allow it. I think it would be advisable to raise them in the eastern parts of this Government. If it is attempted, it must be by people from the country. <br />
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Nova Scotia on the business recommended in your Letter of the 10th & also that the state of the Army would not then admit of a sufficient force being sent for carrying into Execution the views of Congress respecting the Dock Yards &c. I would now beg leave to mention, that If the persons sent for Information should report favourably of the expediency and practicability of the measure, that It will not be in my power to detach any Men from these Lines, the situation of our Affairs will not allow it. &mdash; I think It would be advisable to raise them in the Eastern parts of this Government &mdash; If It is attempted, It must be by people from the Country. &mdash; A Col Thompson a Member of the General Court, from the Province of Main & who is well spoken of by the Court, & a Captain Obrien have been with me they think the men necessary may be easily engaged there, & the measure practicable; provided there are not more than 200 British Troops at Halifax &mdash; they are willing and ready to Embark in the matter upon the Terms mentioned in their plan, which I Inclose you &mdash; I would wish you to advert to the considerations Inducing them to the expedition; as I am not without apprehension should It be undertaken upon their plan, that the Innocent & Guilty will be Involved in one common Ruin &mdash; I presume they do not expect to receive more than the 5 or £ 10,000 mentioned in their Scheme & to be at every expence &mdash; If we had men to spare It might be undertaken for less than either I conceive — perhaps If Congress do not adopt their proposition, they will undertake to raise men for that particular purpose, which may be disbanded as soon as It is Effected, & upon the same Terms that are allowed the Continental Troops in General &mdash; Whatever may be the determination of Congress upon the Subject, you will please to communicate it to me Immediately, for the Season most favorable for the Enterprize is advancing fast & we may expect in the Spring that there will be more Troops there & the measure be more difficult to Execute.  
A Colonel Thompson, a member of the General Court, from the Province of Maine, and who is well spoken of by the Court, and a Captain O' Brien, have been with me; they think the men necessary may be easily engaged there, and the measure practicable, provided there are not more than two hundred British troops at Halifax. They are willing and ready to embark in the matter, upon the terms mentioned in their plan, which I enclose you. I would wish you to advert to the considerations inducing them to the expedition, as I am not without apprehension, should it be undertaken upon their plan, that the innocent and guilty will be involved in one common ruin. I presume they do not expect to receive more than five or ten thousand pounds, mentioned in their scheme, and to be at every expense. If we had men to spare, it might be undertaken for less than either, I conceive. Perhaps, if Congress do not adopt their proposition, they will undertake to raise men for that particular purpose, which may be disbanded as soon as it is effected, and upon the same terms that are allowed the Continental troops in general. <br />
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Whatever may be the determination of Congress upon the subject, you will please to communicate it to me immediately, for the season most favourable for the enterprise is advancing fast, and we may expect, in the Spring, that there will be more troops there, and the measure be more difficult to execute. <br />
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I have the Honor to be  
I have the honour to be, sir, your most humble servant, <br />
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Sir, Your Most H. Servt. <br />
GEORGE WASHINGTON. <br />
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G: Washington <br />
To the Honourable John Hancock. <br />
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To the Honble. Jo. Hancock.  
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</blockquote>
  
 
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[[File:WashingtontoWytheetal30Jan1776p5.jpg|right|thumb|200px|<p>"George Washington to the President of Congress, 30 January 1776, pg 5." Image from ''The Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789.''</p>]]
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[[File:WashingtontoWytheetal30Jan1776p5.jpg|right|thumb|250px|<p>"George Washington to the President of Congress, 30 January 1776, pg 5." Image from ''The Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789.''</p>]]
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<blockquote>
 
Letter from Gen. Washington<br />
 
Letter from Gen. Washington<br />
30 Jany. 1776<br />
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30. Jany. 1776. &mdash;
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Read 9 Feby. <br />
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&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Referred to <br />
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Read 9 Feby. <br />
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Mr. Chase<br />
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Referred to <br />
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Mr. Adams<br />
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Mr. Chase<br />
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Mr. Penn<br />
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[[John Adams|Mr. J Adams]]<br />
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Mr. Wythe<br />
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Mr. Penn<br />
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Mr. Edward Rutledge<br />
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[[George Wythe|Mr. Wythe]]<br />
Cop’d.  <br />
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Mr. Edward Rutledge<br />
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Copd.   
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</blockquote>
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==See also==
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*[[George Washington to John Hancock, referred to Wythe & Committee, 19 January 1776]]
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*[[George Washington to John Hancock, referred to Wythe & Committee, 14 February 1776]]
  
 
[[Category:Letters to Wythe]]
 
[[Category:Letters to Wythe]]
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[[Category:Letters and Papers]]

Latest revision as of 15:39, 10 March 2018

George Washington says that having success in Canada will be important for America to show its capability in fighting the Revolutionary War, so it should be a priority to quickly send troops to Canada. In June 1775, James Lovell had been taken prisoner by General Howe after the Battle of Bunker Hill and when Howe evacuated Boston in March 1776, Lovell was taken with the British fleet to Halifax, Nova Scotia. In obedience of an order of Congress, Washington suggests that Governor Skene, a British officer that was under arrest in Connecticut, be exchanged for Lovell. Washington goes on to discuss what he knows about rankings of officers and says that he will be appointing officers to go to Canada. He tells Congress that around fifteen tons of powder have been destroyed in heavy rains because the insufficient tents lead to unavoidable damage. Because of this, he asks for more powder to be manufactured and sent especially since the King's troops always have enough ammunition for each soldier and an encounter with them without sufficient ammunition would be detrimental. Washington suggests several generals to go serve in Canada, but General Schuyler is his top pick to be sent. Washington concludes his letter by suggesting that Congress send some people to investigate Halifax, Nova Scotia to keep track of the number of British troops stationed there.

"George Washington to the President of Congress, 30 January 1776, pg 1." Image from The Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789.

Letter text

Page 1

Cambridge Jany 30. 1776

Sir,

Your favours of the 6th & 20th Instant, I received yesterday with the Several resolves of Congress alluded to, for which I return you my thanks.

Knowing the great Importance Canada will be of to us in the present Interesting contest, and the relief our Friends those stand in need of, I should be happy, were It in my power to detach a Batallion from this Camp, But It cannot be done — On the 19 Inst. I had the Honor to write you, which will fully Convey the Resolutions of a Council of War & the Sentiments of the General Officers here, as to the propriety and expediency of sending Troops from these Lands, for the defense of which we have been, & now are, Obliged to call in the Militia, to which I beg have to refer you — You may rest assured, that my endeavours & exertions shall not be wanting to Stimulate the Governments of Connecticut & New Hampshire to raise & forward reinforcements as fast as possible, nor in any other instance that will promote the expectation.

I shall in Obedience to the Order of Congress, the Interdicted by General Howe, propose an Exchange of Governor Sheene for Mr. Lovell & family, & shall be happy to have an Opportunity of putting this deserving man (who has distinguished his fidelity & regard to his Country to be too great for prosecution & cruelty to overcome) in any post agreeable to his wishes & inclination.

I do not know that there is any particular rank annexed to the Office of Aid, de Camp — Generally they are Captains and Rank as such — But higher rank is often given on account of particular merit, & particular circumstances — Aids to the King have the Rank of Colonels — Whether any distinction should be made between those of your Commander in Chief, & the other Generals I really know not I think these ought.

You may rely that Conolly had Instructions concealed in his Saddle — Mr. Eustice who was once of Ld. Dunmore’s family, & another Gentleman who wishes his name not to be mentioned, saw them cased in Ten, put in the Tree & covered over. — he probably has exchanged his Saddle, or withdrew the papers when It was mended as you Conjecture — those that have been discovered are sufficiently bad, but I doubt not of the others being worse

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"George Washington to the President of Congress, 30 January 1776, pg 2." Image from The Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789.

worse & containing more diabolical & extensive plans — I hope he will be taken proper care of & meet with rewards equal to his merits.

I shall appoint Officers in the places of those which are in Canada, as I am fully persuaded they will wish to continue there, for making our Conquest complete in that Quarter; — I wish their bravery & valor may be attended with the smiles of Fortune.

It gives me great pleasure to hear of the endeavours Congress are taking for manufacturing powder — I hope their endeavours will be Crowned with Success — I too will know and regret the want of It — It is scarcely possible describe the disadvantages an Army must labour under, when not provided with a sufficient supply of this necessary — It may seem strange that after having received about 11, Tons added to about five Tons which I found here and no General Action has happened, that we should be so deficient in this Article & require more — But you will please to consider besides Its being its natural subject to waste, & whilst the men lay in bad Tents was unavoidably damaged by severe & heavy rains (which could not have been prevented, unless it had been entirely withdrawn from them, and an Attack hazarded against us without ammunition in their hands) that the Armed Vessels — Our own occasional firings, & some small Supplies I have been Obliged to afford the Sea Port Towns threatened with destruction, to which may be added the supply to the Militia, & going off of the old Troops, have occasioned & ever will a large consumption of It, & waste, in spite of all the care in the world — the King's Troops never have less than 60 rounds a man in their possession, Independent of their stores — to supply an Army of 20,000 in this manner, would take near 400 Barrells, allowing nothing for Stores, Artillery, &c. I have been always afraid to place more than 12 or 15 Rounds at a time in the hands of our men, lest any Accident happening to It, we should be left destitute & be undone — I have been thus particular, not only to show our poverty, but to exculpate myself, from even a suspicion of unnecessary waste.

I shall Inform the Paymaster General of the Resolution of Congress, respecting his drafts, & the mode and amount of them.

The Companies at Chelsea & Malden are, & have always been [regimented.]

[It was not my intention to replace, with] Continental Troops, the Independent Companies at Hingham, Weymouth, & Braintree — these places are exposed, but not more so than Cape Ann, Beverly, Salem, Marblehead, &c. &c. &c.

Is it the intention of Congress that the Officers of the Army should pay postage? they are not exempted by the Resolve of the 9 Inst.

The Congress will be pleased, I have no doubt, to recollect, that the 500,000 Dollars now coming, are but little more than enough to bring us up to the first day of this Month, that tomorrow will be the last of It, and by their Resolves the Troops are to be paid Monthly.

I wish it was in my power to furnish Congress with such a General as they desire to send to Canada. — Since the unhappy reverse of our affairs in that Quarter, General Schuyler has Informed me, that though he had thoughts of declining the service before, he would now act. — My Letter of the 11th, will Inform them of General Lee' s being at New York, he will be ready to Obey their Orders should they Incline to send him, But If I am not greatly deceived, he or some other spirited able officer will be wanted there in the Spring, if not sooner, as we have undoubted Intelligence that General Clinton has sailed with some Troops — the reports of their Number are various, from between 400 & 500 to Nineteen, Companies of Grenadiers & Light Infantry — It is also Immagined that the Regiments which were to sail the 1st of December are Intended for that place or Virginia — General Putnam is a most valuable man, & a fine executive Officer, but I do not know how he would conduct in a separate department — he is a younger Major General than Mr. Schuyler — who as I have observed, having determined to continue in Service, will I expect repair into Canada — A Copy of my Letter to him on this & other Subjects, I inclose you, as It will explain my motives for not stopping the regiments from these Governments.

When Captain Cochran arrives I will give him every Assistance in my power, in obedience to the Orders of Congress — but I fear It will be the means of laying up our own Vessels, as these people will not bear the distinction — should this be be the consequence, It will be highly prejudicial to us, as we

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"George Washington to the President of Congress, 30 January 1776, pg 3." Image from The Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789.

sometimes pick up their Provision Vessels, and may continue to distress them in this way — Last week Captain Manly took a Ship & a Brig bound to Boston, from White Haven with Coals chiefly, & some potatoes for the Army — I have for his great vigilance & Industry appointed him Commodore of our Little Squadron & he now hoists his Flag on board the Schooner Hancock —

I congratulate you upon the recovery of Smith, and am exceedingly glad to hear of the measures Congress are taking for the General defence of the Continent — the Clouds thicken fast, where they will burst I know not, but we should be armed at all points.

I have not succeeded in my applications to these Governments for Arms, they have returned for Answer, that they cannot furnish any — Whether I shall be more lucky in the last resource left me in this quarter, I cannot determine, having not received returns from the Officers sent out to purchase from the people — I greatly fear, that but very few will be procured in this way, as they are exceedingly scarce, & but a small part of what there are, fit for service — When they make their report, you shall be Informed.

The Quarter Master General has just received from General Schuyler, Clothing for the Soldiery amounting to about £ 1,700 York Currency, It has come very seasonably as they are in great want, and will contribute a little to their relief.

Since writing the above I saw Mr. Eustice, & mentioning that Nothing had been found in the Tree of Connolly's Saddle, he told me that there had been a mistake in the matter; That the Instructions were artfully concealed in the Two pieces of Wood which are on the Mail Pilion of his Port Manteau Saddle; that by order of Ld. Dunmore he saw them contrived for the purpose, the papers put in, & first covered with Tin, & over that with a Waxed Canvass Cloth — he is so exceedingly pointed & clear in his Information, that I have no doubt of its being true. I could wish them to be discovered, as I think they contain some curious & extraordinary plans.

In my Letter of the 24 Inst., I mentioned the Arrival of Thirteen of our Coghnawaga Friends — they Honored me with a Talk to day, as did three, of the Tribes of the St. John's & Pasmiquaddi Indians — Copies of which I beg have to Incluse you — I shall write General Schuyler respecting the Tender of Services made by the former, and not to call for their Assistance unless he shall at any time want It, or be under the necessity of doing It, to prevent their taking the side of our Enemies.

I had the the honor of writing you on the 19 of November & then Informed you of having engaged Two persons to go Nova Scotia

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"George Washington to the President of Congress, 30 January 1776, pg 4." Image from The Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789.

Nova Scotia on the business recommended in your Letter of the 10th & also that the state of the Army would not then admit of a sufficient force being sent for carrying into Execution the views of Congress respecting the Dock Yards &c. I would now beg leave to mention, that If the persons sent for Information should report favourably of the expediency and practicability of the measure, that It will not be in my power to detach any Men from these Lines, the situation of our Affairs will not allow it. — I think It would be advisable to raise them in the Eastern parts of this Government — If It is attempted, It must be by people from the Country. — A Col Thompson a Member of the General Court, from the Province of Main & who is well spoken of by the Court, & a Captain Obrien have been with me they think the men necessary may be easily engaged there, & the measure practicable; provided there are not more than 200 British Troops at Halifax — they are willing and ready to Embark in the matter upon the Terms mentioned in their plan, which I Inclose you — I would wish you to advert to the considerations Inducing them to the expedition; as I am not without apprehension should It be undertaken upon their plan, that the Innocent & Guilty will be Involved in one common Ruin — I presume they do not expect to receive more than the 5 or £ 10,000 mentioned in their Scheme & to be at every expence — If we had men to spare It might be undertaken for less than either I conceive — perhaps If Congress do not adopt their proposition, they will undertake to raise men for that particular purpose, which may be disbanded as soon as It is Effected, & upon the same Terms that are allowed the Continental Troops in General — Whatever may be the determination of Congress upon the Subject, you will please to communicate it to me Immediately, for the Season most favorable for the Enterprize is advancing fast & we may expect in the Spring that there will be more Troops there & the measure be more difficult to Execute.

I have the Honor to be Sir, Your Most H. Servt.
G: Washington
To the Honble. Jo. Hancock.

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"George Washington to the President of Congress, 30 January 1776, pg 5." Image from The Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789.

Letter from Gen. Washington
30. Jany. 1776. —

Read 9 Feby.
Referred to
Mr. Chase
Mr. J Adams
Mr. Penn
Mr. Wythe
Mr. Edward Rutledge
Copd.

See also