Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. III (1775-1776)
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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, 18 December, 1775.
Captain Manly, of the Lee armed schooner, took and sent into Beverly the sloop Betsey, A. Atkinson master. She is an armed vessel, despatched by Lord Dunmore, with Indian corn, potatoes, and oats, for the army in Boston. The packets of letters found on board, I have the honor to send you with this by Captain James Chambers, they being of so much importance, that I do not think it would be prudent to trust them by a common express. As Lord Dunmore’s schemes are fully laid open in these letters, I need not point out to the Congress the necessity there is of a vigorous exertion being adopted by them, to dispossess his Lordship of the stronghold he has got in Virginia. I do not mean to dictate, but I am sure they will pardon me for giving them freely my opinion, which is, that the fate of America a good deal depends on his being obliged to evacuate Norfolk this winter or not.
I have Kirkland1 well secured, and think I will send him to you for examination. By most of the letters relative to him, he is a dangerous fellow. John Steuart’s letters and papers are of a very interesting nature. Governor Tonyn’s and many other letters from St. Augustine show the weakness of the place; at the same time, of what vast consequence it would be for us to possess ourselves of it, and the great quantity of ammunition contained in the fort.2 Indeed these papers are of so great consequence, that I think this but little inferior to any prize our famous Manly has taken.
We now work at our ease on Lechmere’s Hill. On discovering our party there yesterday morning, the ship which lay opposite began a cannonade, to which Mount Horam1 added some shells. One of our men was wounded. We fired a few shot from two eighteen pounders, which are placed on Cobble Hill, and soon obliged the ship to shift her station. She now lies in the ferry-way; and, except a few shells from the mount in Boston, (which do no execution,) we have no interruption in prosecuting our works, which will in a very short time be completed. When that is done, when we have powder to sport with, I think, if the Congress resolves on the execution of the proposal made relative to the town of Boston, that it can be done.
I have sent a letter this day to General Howe, of which a copy goes herewith. My reason for pointing out Brigadier-General Prescott as the object, who is to suffer Mr. Allen’s fate, is, that, by letters from General Schuyler, and copies of letters from General Montgomery to Schuyler, I am given to understand that Prescott is the cause of Allen’s sufferings. I thought it best to be decisive on the occasion, as did the generals whom I consulted thereon.
The returns of men enlisted since my last amount to about eighteen hundred, making in the whole seven thousand one hundred and forty. The militia that are come in, both from this province and New Hampshire, are very fine-looking men, and go through their duty with great alacrity. The despatch made, both by the people in marching and by the legislative powers in complying with my requisition, has given me infinite satisfaction. Your letter of the 8th instant, with the explanatory resolve respecting my calling forth the militia and minute-men, is come to hand; to which I shall pay all due attention. You have removed all the difficulties, which I labored under, about the two battalions of marines. I shall obey the orders of Congress in looking out for proper officers to command that corps.1 I make no doubt but, when the money arrives to pay off the arrears and the month’s advance, that it will be a great encouragement for the men to enlist.
Enclosed is a letter I lately received from Mr. James Lovell. His case is truly pitiable. I wish some mode could be fallen upon to relieve him from the cruel situation he is now in. I am sensible of the impropriety of exchanging a soldier for a citizen; but there is something so cruelly distressing in regard to this gentleman, that I dare say you will take it under your consideration.2 I am, with great respect, &c.3
[1 ]Colonel Kirkland was described by Lord Dunmore as an American “truly well-disposed to his Majesty’s service,” a man of “real worth and spirit.”
[2 ]See Journals of Congress, January, 1776. In the printed edition of these Journals two of the resolutions are omitted. I take them from MS. Journal. “Resolved, That the seizing and securing the barracks and castle of St. Augustine will greatly contribute to the safety of these Colonies, therefore, it is earnestly recommended to the Colonies of South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia to undertake the reduction of St. Augustine, if it be thought practicable.
[1 ]A hill on the west side of Boston.
[1 ]By the first resolve of Congress respecting these two battalions of marines, they were to be raised out of the army. Upon the representation of General Washington, that this would cause an interference with his arrangements, it was voted that the marines should be raised in addition to the proposed army. Congress had also empowered the Commander-in-chief to call out the militia in the New England colonies whenever he should find it necessary, and requested those colonies severally to afford him all the assistance in their power to effect this object.
[2 ]Journals of Congress, 5 January, 1776.
[3 ]Received by Congress, December 30. Referred to Lynch, Hooper, Wythe, Deane and J. Adams.