Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO JOSEPH REED. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. III (1775-1776)
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TO JOSEPH REED. - 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 JOSEPH REED.
Cambridge, 15 December, 1775.
Since my last, I have had the pleasure of receiving your favors of the 28th ultimo, and the 2d instant. I must again express my gratitude for the attention shown Mrs. Washington at Philadelphia. It cannot but be pleasing, although it did, in some measure, impede the progress of her journey on the road.1 I am much obliged to you for the hints contained in both of the above letters, respecting the jealousies which you say are gone abroad.1 I have studiously avoided in all letters intended for the public eye, I mean for that of the Congress, every expression that could give pain or uneasiness; and I shall observe the same rule with respect to private letters, further than appears absolutely necessary for the elucidation of facts. I cannot charge myself with incivility, or, what in my opinion is tantamount, ceremonious civility, to the gentlemen of this colony; but if such my conduct appears, I will endeavor at a reformation, as I can assure you, my dear Reed, that I wish to walk in such a line as will give most general satisfaction. You know, that it was my wish at first to invite a certain number of gentlemen of this colony every day to dinner, but unintentionally I believe by anybody we some how or other missed it. If this has given rise to the jealousy, I can only say that I am sorry for it; at the same time I add, that it was rather owing to inattention, or, more properly, too much attention to other matters, which caused me to neglect it. The extracts of letters from this camp, which so frequently appear in the Pennsylvania papers, are not only written without my knowledge, but without my approbation, as I have always thought they must have a disagreeable tendency; but there is no restraining men’s tongues, or pens, when charged with a little vanity, as in the accounts given of, or rather by, the riflemen.
With respect to what you have said of yourself, and your situation, to what I have before said on this subject I can only add, that whilst you leave the door open to my expectation of your return, I shall not think of supplying your place. If ultimately you resolve against coming, I should be glad to know it, as soon as you have determined upon it. The Congress have resolved well in respect to the pay of and advance to the men; but if they cannot get the money-signers to despatch their business, it is of very little avail; for we have not at this time money enough in camp to answer the commissary’s and quarter-master’s accounts, much more to pay the troops. Strange conduct this!
The account, which you have given of the sentiments of the people respecting my conduct, is extremely flattering. Pray God, that I may continue to deserve them, in the perplexed and intricate situation I stand in. Our enlistment goes on slowly. By the returns last Monday, only five thousand nine hundred and seventeen men are engaged for the ensuing campaign; and yet we are told, that we shall get the number wanted, as they are only playing off to see what advantages are to be made, and whether a bounty cannot be extorted from the public at large, or individuals, in case of a draft. Time only can discover this. I doubt the measure exceedingly. The fortunate capture of the store-ship has supplied us with flints, and many other articles we stood in need of; but we still have our wants. We are securing our approach to Letchmore’s Point, unable upon any principle whatever to account for their silence, unless it be to lull us into a fatal security to favor some attempt they may have in view about the time of the great change they expect will take place the last of this month. If this be the drift, they deceive themselves, for if possible, it has increased my vigilance, and induced me to fortify all the avenues to our camps, to guard against any approaches upon the ice.
If the Virginians are wise, that arch-traitor to the rights of humanity, Lord Dunmore, should be instantly crushed, if it takes the force of the whole colony to do it; otherwise, like a snow ball, in rolling, his army will get size, some through fear some through promises, and some from inclination joining his standard. But that which renders the measure indispensably necessary is the negroes. For if he gets formidable, numbers will be tempted to join, who will be afraid to do it without.1 I am exceeding happy to find that that villain Connolly is seized; I hope if there is any thing to convict him, that he will meet with the punishment due to his demerit and treachery.
We impatiently wait for accounts from Arnold. Would to God we may hear he is in Quebec, and that all Canada is in our possession. My best respects to Mrs. Reed. I am, &c.
P. S. The smallpox is in every part of Boston. The soldiers there who have never had it, are, we are told, under innoculation, and considered as a security against any attempt of ours. A third shipload of people is come out to Point Shirley. If we escape the smallpox in this camp, and the country around about, it will be miraculous. Every precaution that can be is taken, to guard against this evil, both by the General Court and myself.
[1 ]“Philadelphia, Nov. 22. Yesterday the Lady of his Excellency General Washington arrived here, upon her way to New England. She was met at the Lower Ferry by the officers of the different battalions, the troop of light horse, and the light infantry of the second battalion, who escorted her into the city.”—Penn. Gazette, 22 November, 1775.
[1 ]These jealousies were undoubtedly those exhibited between the Southern and New England delegates, of which some mention has already been made. Circumstances had tended to increase rather than diminish these jealousies, and as a result had seriously obstructed the action of Congress. The New Englanders were opposed to General Schuyler, while their democratic ideas were very displeasing to the South. When Harrison and Lynch visited the camp in October, what they heard not a little surprised them. “You ought, my friend to be a little more upon your guard in declaring your Republican sentiments to the Southern people. Virginians and Carolinians are not yet prepared for such doctrines. . . . They seem to me without exception to be exactly in the whimsical state of the prince of Liliput, hobbling with one high shoe and one low one—homines qui nec totam servitatem pati possunt, nec totam libertatem. . . . Poor Gates, who is as mad an enthusiast as Colonel Rumbold himself has frightened ’em out of their wits.”—Charles Lee to Benjamin Rush, 10 and 20 October, 1775. The prejudice was often personal. “One of our members of Congress [John Adams] sets out today for New England. Whether his intents be wicked or not, I doubt much; he should be watched.”—Lynch to Washington, 8 December, 1775. The decision to pay the troops by calendar months appears to have been a measure supported by the Southern colonies, as the New England colonies had already decided to pay by the lunar month; so also the opposition to a bounty came from the South. “You entreat the general officers to recommend to the Congress the giving of a bounty. But his Excellency, General Washington, has often assured us that the Congress would not give a bounty, and before they would give a bounty they would give up the dispute. The cement between the Northern and Southern colonies is not very strong, if forty thousand lawful, will induce the Congress to give us up. Although I do not imagine that the necessity of allowing a bounty would have broken the Union, yet it was a sufficient intimation that the bare mention was disagreeable. . . . Most of the generals belong to the Northern governments; if the Congress refuse to hear their delegates, I apprehend they would the generals also.”—General Greene to Samuel Ward, 31 December, 1775. Also John Adams to Joseph Hawley, 25 November, 1775. The trade policy of Congress was regarded as bearing unequally on the different colonies, and was a subject of debate often and hotly. Behind all this was the contest between those who still hoped for a reconciliation with Britain, and those who were urging Congress to cut away all connection with the mother country. “It is almost impossible to move any thing [in Congress], but you instantly see private friendships and enmities, and provincial views and prejudices intermingle in the consultation.”—John Adams, II, 448. See also General Greene to Samuel Ward, 31 December, 1775.
[1 ]On November 7 Dunmore had issued a proclamation declaring the colony to be under martial law and summoning every person capable of bearing arms to resort to his Majesty’s standard, or be looked upon as traitors to his Majesty’s crown and government. But the part that gave the most offense to the colonists was the promise of freedom to all indented servants, negroes and others “appertaining to rebels” who should join his troops. Congress interpreted this proclamation as one “tearing up the foundations of civil authority and government” within the colony of Virginia, and advised that such a form of government should be established as should best produce the happiness of the people and most effectually secure peace and good order in the colony during the continuance of the dispute with Britain. Journals, 4 December, 1775. A month before the proclamation was issued Dunmore had sworn “by the living God, that if any injury or insult was offered to himself, he would declare freedom to the slaves.” See John Adams, ii., 458.