Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO GENERAL COURT OF MASSACHUSETTS BAY. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. III (1775-1776)
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TO GENERAL COURT OF MASSACHUSETTS BAY. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. III (1775-1776) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1889). Vol. III (1775-1776).
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TO GENERAL COURT OF MASSACHUSETTS BAY.
Camp atCambridge, 31 July, 1775.
I have Considerd the Application2 made me yesterday, from the General Court, with all the attention due to the situation of the People in whose Behalf it is made, & the Respect due to such a Recommendation.
Upon referring to my Instructions and Consulting with those Members of Congress who are present as well as the General Officers; they all agree that it would not be consistent with my duty to detach any Part of the Army now here on any Particular Provincial Service. It has been debated in Congress and Settled that the Militia or other Internal Strength of each Province is to be applied for Defence against those Small and Particular Depredations which were to be expected, & to which they were supposed to be Competent. This will appear the more proper, when it is Consider’d that every Town & indeed every Part of our Sea Coast which is exposed to these Depredations would have an equal Claim upon this Army: It is the misfortune of our situation which exposes us to these Ravages, against which in my Judgment no such Temporary relief would possibly secure us. The great Advantage the Enemy has of Transporting Troops by being Masters of the Sea will enable them to harrass us by Diversions of this kind; and should we be tempted to pursue them upon every Alarm, The Army must either be so weaken’d as to Expose it to Destruction or a great Part of the Coast be still left unprotected:
Nor indeed does it appear to me that such a Pursuit would be attended with the least Effect: The first notice of such an Incursion would be its actual Execution; and long before any Troops could reach the Scene of Action, the Enemy would have an Opportunity to Accomplish their Purpose & retire. It would give me great Pleasure to have it in my Power to extend Protection and Safety to every Individual, but the Wisdom of the General Court will Anticipate me in the Necessity of Conducting our Operations on a General and Impartial Scale, so as to exclude any first Cause of Complaint and Jealousy.1
I beg Sir you will do me the Honor to Communicate these Sentiments to the General Court and to Apologize for my Involuntary Delay: As we were alarm’d this Morning by the Enemy & my Time taken up with giving the Necessary Directions.
I shall be happy in every Opportunity of shewing my very great Respect and Regard for the General Court of Massachusetts Bay.2
[2 ]In House of Representatives July 29, 1775—Resolved, that Doctr Church, Mr. Woodbridge and Mr. Sewall, with such as the Honble Board shall join, be a Committee to wait on his Excellency General Washington, & inform him of the distress’d Situation of the Inhabitants of the Eastern parts of the Colony; and know of him, if he can, Consistent with his Instructions, and the General Service, order a Detachment there, to prevent the Enemy from Ravaging the Country, and plundering the Inhabitants of their Cattle, Sheep, Wood &c; to Supply—themselves.
[1 ]This letter may not have satisfied the General, Court, for the Council on August 2d, ordered Mr. Greenleaf, Mr. Winthrop and Mr. Palmer to wait upon the General, and “to request him to inform this Board of the extent of the powers delegated to him by the Honorable Continental Congress.”
[2 ]Connecticut had recently determined to send fourteen hundred additional men to the camp. These were called new levies. “As the season is now advanced and the enemy considerably reinforced, we have the utmost reason to expect any attack that may be made will not be much longer delayed. I should, therefore, think it highly necessary the new raised troops should join the army with all possible expedition.”—Washington to Governor Trumbull, July, 1775.