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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.
Cambridge, 4 December, 1775.
I had the honor of writing to you on the 30th. ult., inclosing inventory of the military stores, taken on board the brig Nancy, by Capt. Manly, of the armed schooner Lee. I have now to inform you that he has since sent into Beverley a ship named the Concord, James Lowrie, master, from Greenock in Scotland, bound to Boston. She has on board dry goods and coals to the value of £3606. 9. 7. sterling, shipped by Crawford, Anderson, & Co, and consigned to James Anderson, merchant in Boston. It is mentioned in the letters found on board, that this cargo was for the use of the army, but on a strict examination I find it is really the property of the shippers and the person to whom consigned. Pray what is to be done with this ship and cargo? And what with the brigantine which brought the military stores?
It was agreed in the conference last October, “that all vessels employed merely as transports and unarmed, with their crews, to be set at liberty upon giving security to return to Europe, but that this indulgence be not extended longer than till the first of April next.” In the shipper’s letter they mention: “that you must procure a certificate from the general and admiral of the Concord’s being in the government service, such as the Glasgow packet brought with her, which was of great service, procured a liberty to arm her which was refused us; also gave her a preference for some recruits that went out in her.” In another part of their letter they say: “Captain Lowrie will deliver you the contract for the coals. We gave it to him, as it perhaps might be of use as a certificate of his ship’s being employed in the government service.” Every letter on board breathes nothing but enmity to this country, and a vast number of them there are.1
It is some time since I recommended to the Congress, that they would institute a court for the trial of prizes made by the Continental armed vessels, which I hope they have ere now taken into their consideration; otherwise I should again take the liberty of urging it in the most pressing manner.
The scandalous conduct of a great number of the Connecticut troops has laid me under the necessity of calling in a body of the militia, much sooner than I apprehended there would be an occasion for such a step. I was afraid some time ago, that they would incline to go home when the time of their enlistment expired. I called upon the officers of the several regiments, to know whether they could prevail on the men to remain until the 1st of January, or till a sufficient number of other forces could be raised to supply their place. I suppose they were deceived themselves. I know they deceived me by assurances, that I need be under no apprehension on that score, for the men would not leave the lines. Last Friday showed how much they were mistaken, as the major part of the troops of that colony were going away with their arms and ammunition. We have, however, by threats, persuasions, and the activity of the people of the country, who sent back many of them, that had set out, prevailed upon the most part to stay. There are about eighty of them missing.1
I have called in three thousand men from this province; and General Sullivan, who lately returned from the province of New Hampshire, having informed me that a number of men were there ready at the shortest notice, I have demanded two thousand from that province. These two bodies, I expect, will be in by the tenth instant, to make up the deficiency of the Connecticut men, whom I have promised to dismiss on that day, as well as the numbers to whom I was obliged to grant furloughs before any would enlist. As the same defection is much to be apprehended, when the time of the Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island forces is expired, I beg the attention of Congress to this important affair.1
I am informed, that it has been the custom of these provinces in the last war, for the legislative power to order every town to provide a certain quota of men for the campaign. This, or some other mode, should be at present adopted, as I am satisfied the men cannot be had without. This the Congress will please to take into their immediate consideration. My suspicions on this head I shall also communicate to the Governors Trumbull and Cooke, also to the New Hampshire Convention.
The number enlisted in the last week is about thirteen hundred men. By this you see how slow this important work goes on. Enclosed is a letter written to me by General Putnam, recommending Colonel Babcock1 to the brigadier-generalship now vacant in this army. I know nothing of this gentleman, but I wish the vacancy was filled, as the want of one is attended with very great inconveniences. An express is just come in from General Schuyler, with letters from Colonel Arnold and General Montgomery, copies of which I have the honor to enclose. Upon the whole, I think affairs carry a pleasing aspect in that quarter. The reduction of Quebec is an object of such great importance, that I doubt not the Congress will give every assistance in their power for the accomplishing it this winter.2
By the last accounts from the armed schooners sent to the River St. Lawrence, I fear we have but little to expect from them. They were falling short of provision, and mentioned that they would be obliged to return; which at this time is particularly unfortunate, as, if they chose a proper station, all the vessels coming down that river must fall into their hands.1 The plague, trouble, and vexation I have had with the crews of all the armed vessels, are inexpressible. I do believe there is not on earth a more disorderly set. Every time they come into port, we hear of nothing but mutinous complaints. Manly’s success has lately, and but lately, quieted his people. The crews of the Washington and Harrison have actually deserted them; so that I have been under the necessity of ordering the agent to lay the latter up, and get hands for the other on the best terms he could.1
The House of Representatives and the honorable Board have sent me a vote of theirs relative to the harbor of Cape Cod, which you have herewith. I shall send an officer thither to examine what can be done for its defence, though I do not think I shall be able to give them such assistance as may be requisite; for I have at present neither men, powder, nor cannon to spare. The great want of powder is what the attention of Congress should be particularly applied to. I dare not attempt any thing offensive, let the temptation or advantage be ever so great, as I have not more of that most essential article, than will be absolutely necessary to defend our lines, should the enemy attempt to attack them.
By recent information from Boston, General Howe is going to send out a number of the inhabitants, in order, it is thought, to make more room for his expected reinforcements. There is one part of the information I can hardly give credit to. A sailor says, that a number of those coming out have been inoculated, with the design of spreading the smallpox through this country, and camp. I have communicated this to the General Court, and recommended their attention thereto. They are arming one of the transports in Boston, with which they mean to decoy some of our armed vessels. As we are apprized of their design, I hope they will be disappointed. My best respects wait on the gentlemen in Congress, and I am, Sir, your most humble, &c.
P. S. I was misinformed when I mentioned that one regiment had arrived at Boston. A few companies of the 17th and artillery were all that are yet come. Near 300 persons are landed on Point Shirley from Boston.1
[1 ]“I am credibly informed that James Anderson, the consignee and part owner of the ship Concord and cargo, is not only unfriendly to American liberty, but actually in arms against us, being captain of the Scotch company at Boston. Whether your being acquainted with this circumstance will operate against the vessel and cargo, I will not take upon me to say; but there are many articles on board, so absolutely necessary for the army, that whether she is made a prize or not, we must have them.”—Washington to the President of Congress, 7 December, 1775.
[1 ]“I have by command of his Excellency General Washington, to inform you, that the Connecticut forces (deaf to the entreaties of their own as well as all other officers, and regardless of the contempt with which their own government threatens to treat them upon their return), have absolutely refused to tarry till the 1st. day of January, but will quit the lines on the 6th. of December. They have deceived us and their officers, by pretending there would be no difficulty with them, till they have got so near the close of their term, and now to their eternal infamy, demand a bounty to induce them to tarry only three weeks. This is such an insult to every American, that we are determined to release them, at the expiration of their term, at all hazards, and find ourselves obliged immediately to supply their place with troops from New Hampshire and Massachusetts Bay.”—General Sullivan to the New Hampshire Committee of Safety, 30 November, 1775.
[1 ]Mr. Lynch, who had been one of the committee of conference in camp, wrote to General Washington, after returning to Congress, in regard to the state of the army here described;—
[1 ]Henry Babcock. “He has this day been very serviceable in assisting me in quelling a mutiny and bringing back a number of deserters.”—Putnam to Washington, 1 December, 1775.
[2 ]General Howe wrote to Lord Dartmouth, on the 3d of December, communicating intelligence of the loss of St. John’s and Montreal, and the retreat of General Carleton to Quebec, and expressing apprehensions that the entire province would fall into the hands of the invaders, as there was little reason to believe the capital would be able to withstand the expected attack. He added, also, that, supposing it possible the Americans might be encouraged by their successes in Canada, and the arms recently taken in the brigantine Nancy, and think of a project against Halifax, he should immediately send a reinforcement to that place. As the recovery of Canada was a primary object, he recommended that the army for effecting it should consist of not less than twelve thousand fighting men, representing at the same time the inexpediency of abandoning the plan heretofore suggested of taking possession of Rhode Island and New York, since the enemy would be more distressed by an attack on this vulnerable side, than by any successes against them in Canada.—M.S. Letter.
[1 ]“I believe I told you that Broughton and Sellman were returned; they never entered the river St. Lawrence.”—Moylan to Reed, 2 January, 1776.
[1 ]“Manly is truly our hero of the sea; poor — [probably Martindale, commander of the Washington] is gone to England; his vessel was not at all calculated for the service; she was fitted out at an enormous expense, did nothing, and struck without firing a gun. Coit I look upon to be a mere blubber, and — — are indolent and inactive souls. Their time was out yesterday, and from frequent rubs they got from me (under the General’s wings) they feel sore, and decline serving longer.”—Moylan to Reed, 2 January, 1776.
[1 ]Received and read in Congress, 13 December, 1775.