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TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. - 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 THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Camp atCambridge, 12 October, 1775
I am honored with your several favors of the 26th and 30th of September, and 5th of October, the contents of which I shall beg leave to notice in their respective order.
Previous to the direction of Congress to consult the general officers on the best mode of continuing and providing for the army during the winter, I had desired them to turn their thoughts upon these subjects, and to favor me with the result, by a particular day, in writing. In this interval, the appointment of Dr. Franklin, Mr. Lynch, and Colonel Harrison, was communicated, an event which has given me the highest satisfaction, as the subject was too weighty and complex for a discussion by letter. This appointment made any conclusion here unnecessary, as it is not probable any such arrangement would be agreed on, as would not be altered in some respects, upon a full and free conference. This good effect will arise from the step already taken, that every officer will be prepared to give his sentiments upon these important subjects.1
The estimates of the commissary and quartermaster general I have now the honor of enclosing. * * *
With respect to the reduction of the pay of the men, which may enter into the consideration of their support, it is the unanimous opinion of the general officers, that it cannot be touched with safety at present. * * *
Upon the presumption of there being a vacancy in the direction of the hospital, Lieut. Col. Hand, formerly a surgeon in the 18th Regiment, or Royal Irish, and Dr. Foster, late of Charles Town, and one of the surgeons of the hospital under Dr. Church, are candidates for that office. I do not pretend to be acquainted with their respective merits, and therefore have given them no further expectation than that they should be mentioned as candidates for the department. I therefore need only to add upon the subject that the affairs of the hospital require that the appointment should be made as soon as possible.
Before I was honored with your favor of the 5th instant, I had given orders for the equipment of some armed vessels, to intercept the enemy’s supplies of provisions and ammunition. One of them was on a cruise between Cape Ann and Cape Cod, when the express arrived. The others will be fit for the sea in a few days, under the command of officers of the Continental army, who are well recommended, as persons acquainted with the sea, and capable of such a service. Two of these will be immediately despatched on this duty, and every particular, mentioned in your favor of the 5th instant, literally complied with.1 That the honorable Congress may have a more complete idea of the plan on which these vessels are equipped, I enclose a copy of the instructions given to the captains now out.2 These, with the additional instructions directed, will be given to the captains, who go into the mouth of St. Lawrence’s River. As both officers and men most cheerfully engage in the service, on the terms mentioned in these instructions, I fear that the proposed increase will create some difficulty, by making a difference between men engaged on similar service. I have therefore not yet communicated this part of the plan, but reserved an extra bounty as a reward for extraordinary activity. There are no armed vessels in this province; and Governor Cooke informs me, the enterprise can receive no assistance from him, as one of the armed vessels of Rhode Island is on a long cruise, and the other unfit for the service. Nothing shall be omitted to secure success. A fortunate capture of an ordnance ship would give new life to the camp, and an immediate turn to the issue of this campaign.
Our last accounts from Colonel Arnold are very favorable. He was proceeding with all expedition; and I flatter myself, making all allowances, he will be at Quebec the 20th instant, where a gentleman from Canada (Mr. Price) assures me he will meet with no resistance.1 * * * From the various accounts received from Europe, there may be reason to expect troops will be landed at New York, or some other middle colony. I should be glad to know the pleasure of the Congress, whether, upon such an event, it would be expected that a part of this army should be detached, or the internal force of such colony and its neighborhood be deemed sufficient; or whether, in such case, I am to wait the particular direction of Congress.2
The fleet, mentioned in my last, has been seen standing N. N. E.; so that we apprehend it is intended for some part of this province, or New Hampshire, or possibly Quebec.
The latest and best accounts we have from the enemy are, that they are engaged in their new work across the south end of Boston, preparing their barracks, &c. for winter; that it is proposed to keep from five hundred to a thousand men on Bunker’s Hill all winter, who are to be relieved once a week; the rest to be drawn into Boston. A person,1 who has lately been a servant to Major Connolly, a tool of Lord Dunmore’s, has given an account of a scheme to distress the southern provinces, which appeared to me of sufficient consequence to be immediately transmitted. I have therefore got it attested, and do myself the honor of enclosing it.
The new levies from Connecticut have lately marched into camp, and are a body of as good troops as any we have; so that we have now the same strength, as before the detachment made under Colonel Arnold. I am, &c.2
[1 ]The members of the committee, and delegates from the four colonies above mentioned, met in convention at Cambridge on the 18th of October, and continued their sittings daily till the 22d. The persons present, besides the committee, were Griswold and Wales from Connecticut; Governor Cooke from Rhode Island; Bowdoin, Otis, Sever, and Spooner from Massachusetts; Matthew Thornton from New Hampshire. General Washington was president of the board.
[1 ]Intelligence had just been received by Congress of the sailing of two brigantines from England on the 11th of August, bound for Quebec, laden with powder and other stores, without convoy and of no force, and instructions were issued to Washington, that he should with all possible despatch fit out two armed vessels, at the Continental expense, to sail for the St. Lawrence, with the view of intercepting these brigantines. He was directed to procure the vessels from the government of Massachusetts; but, as there were no armed vessels belonging to that province, and the vessels of Rhode Island were not available, he equipped and sent off two of those, which were already employed in the public service. “These vessels [the Lynch, commanded by Nicholas Broughton, and the Franklin, commanded by Captain John Selman] were ordered to the river St. Lawrence to intercept an ammunition vessel bound to Quebec, but missing her, they took ten other vessels and Gov. Wright of St. Johns, all of which were released, as we had waged a ministerial war and not one against our most gracious sovereign.” E. Gerry to John Adams, 9 February, 1813. Journals, October 5th.
[2 ]Printed in Force, American Archives, Fourth Series, iii., 1075, 1076.
[1 ]Mr. Price was a merchant of Montreal. When that place capitulated to General Montgomery, he wrote:—“I have found Mr. Price so active and intelligent, and so warm a friend to the measures adopted by Congress, that I wish to have him mentioned in the strongest terms to Congress.” He was appointed deputy commissary-general of the army in Canada the spring following.
[2 ]“Resolved, That as the new army in Massachusetts Bay is calculated to oppose the army at Boston, it is not expected that the general should detach any part of it to New York or elsewhere, unless it appear to him necessary to do so for the common safety.” Journals, 30 November, 1775.
[1 ]William Cowley.
[2 ]Read before Congress October 21st.