Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. III (1775-1776)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL. - 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).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
TO GOVERNOR TRUMBULL.
Cambridge, 21 September, 1775.1
It gives me real concern to observe by yours of the 15th instant, that you should think it necessary to distinguish between my personal and public character, and confine your esteem to the former. Upon a reperusal of mine of the 8th instant, I cannot think the construction you have made one; and, unless it was I should have hoped that the respect I really have, and which I flattered myself I had manifested to you, would have called for the most favorable. In the disposition of the Continental troops, I have long been sensible that it would be impossible to please, not individuals merely, but particular provinces, whose partial necessities would occasionally call for assistance. I therefore thought myself happy, that the Congress had settled the point, and apprehended I should stand excused to all, for acting in the line, which not only appeared to me to be that of policy and propriety, but of express and positive duty. If, to the other fatigues and cares of my station, that is to be added of giving reasons for all orders, and explaining the grounds and principles on which they are formed, my personal trouble will perhaps be of the least concern. The public would be most affected. You may be assured, Sir, nothing was intended that might be construed into disrespect; and, at so interesting [a] period, nothing less ought to disturb the harmony so necessary for the happy success of our public operations.
The omission of acknowledging, in precise terms, the receipt of your favor of the 5th instant was purely accidental. The subject was not so new to me as to require long consideration. I had had occasion fully to deliberate upon it, in consequence of applications for troops from Cape Ann, Machias, New Hampshire, and Long Island, where the same necessity was as strongly pleaded, and, in the two last instances, the most peremptory orders were necessary to prevent the troops from being detained. I foresaw the same difficulty here. I am by no means insensible to the situation of the people on the coast. I wish I could extend protection to all; but the numerous detachments, necessary to remedy the evil, would amount to a dissolution of the army, or make the most important operations of the campaign depend upon the piratical expeditions of two or three men-of-war and transports.
The spirit and zeal of the colony of Connecticut are unquestionable; and whatever may be the hostile intentions of the men-of-war, I hope their utmost efforts can do little more than alarm the coast.
I am, with great esteem and regard for both your personal and public character, Sir, &c.1
[1 ]The British men-of-war had been menacing the coasts of Connecticut, and Governor Trumbull, in addition to the militia near the seaboard, had ordered several companies of the new levies, raised for the Continental army, to be retained in the province, and stationed at places where the greatest danger was apprehended. Of this he had given notice to Washington in a letter of the 5th, but on the 8th the General sent an express order to have all the new levies marched to the army. The Governor complied with the order, though apparently not well pleased with the manner in which it was given. In his answer, dated the 15th, he says:—
[1 ]In reply, Governor Trumbull wrote October 9th;—“I have no disposition to increase the weight of your burdens, which, in the multiplicity of your business, must be sufficiently heavy, nor inclination to disturb the harmony so necessary to the happy success of our public operations. I am persuaded no such difficulty will any more happen. It is unhappy, that jealousies should be excited, or disputes of any sort litigated, between any of the colonies, to disunite them at a time, when our liberty, our property, our all is at stake. If our enemies prevail, which our disunion may occasion, our jealousies will then appear frivolous, and all our disputed claims of no value to either side.”