Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO GOVERNOR COOKE. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. III (1775-1776)
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TO GOVERNOR COOKE. - 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 GOVERNOR COOKE.
Cambridge, 6 January, 1776,
I received your favor of the 1st instant, and return you my thanks for the blankets and your promise of having more procured, as they are much wanted. I did not see Mr. Hale, who brought them, nor the account, or the money should have been transmitted to you by his return. You will be pleased to draw on the quartermaster-general, and it shall be immediately paid. I have seen General Lee since his expedition, and hope Rhode Island will derive some advantage from it.
I am told that Captain Wallace’s ships have been supplied for some time by the town of Newport, on certain conditions stipulated between him and the committee. When this truce first obtained, perhaps it was right; then there might have been hopes of an accommodation taking place; but now, when every prospect of it seems to be cut off by his Majesty’s late speech; when the throne, from which we had supplicated redress, breathes forth vengeance and indignation, and a firm determination to remain unalterable in its purposes, and to prosecute the system and plan of ruin formed by the ministry against us, should not an end be put to it, and every possible method be fallen upon to prevent their getting necessaries of any kind? We need not expect to conquer our enemies by good offices; and I know not what pernicious consequences may result from a precedent of this sort. Other places, circumstanced as Newport is, may follow the example, and by that means their whole fleet and army will be furnished with what it highly concerns us to keep from them.1
I received a letter from Governor Trumbull of the 1st instant, by which I am informed, that the Connecticut Assembly are very unanimous in the common cause; and, among others have passed an act for raising and equipping a fourth of their militia, to be immediately selected by voluntary enlistments; with such other able, effective men, as are not included in their militia rolls, who incline to enlist, to act as minute-men for their own or the defence of any of the United Colonies, and this under proper encouragements;—another act for restraining and punishing persons inimical to us, and directing proceedings therein;—no person to supply the ministerial army or navy, to give them intelligence, to enlist, or procure others to enlist, in their service, to pilot their vessels, or in any way assist them, under pain of forfeiting his estate, and an imprisonment not exceeding three years;—none to write, speak, or act against the proceedings of Congress, or their acts of Assembly, under penalty of being disarmed, and disqualified from holding any office, and be further punished by imprisonment, &c.;—for seizing and confiscating, for the use of the colony, the estates of those putting or continuing to shelter themselves under the protection of the ministerial fleet or army, or assist in carrying on their measures against us;—a resolve to provide two armed vessels, of sixteen and fourteen guns, with a spy-schooner of four, and four row-galleys;—an act exempting the polls of soldiers from taxes, for the last and ensuing campaigns;—another for encouraging the making of saltpetre and gunpowder, a considerable quantity of both Mr. Trumbull hopes to make early in the spring. He says the furnace at Middletown is smelting lead, and likely to turn out twenty or thirty tons, and that ore is plenty. They have also passed an act empowering the Commander-in-chief of the Continental army, or officers commanding a detachment, or outposts, to administer an oath and swear any person or persons to the truth of matters relative to the public service. The situation of our affairs seems to call for regulations like these, and I should think the other colonies ought to adopt similar ones, or such of them as they have not already made. Vigorous measures, and such as at another time would appear extraordinary, are now become absolutely necessary, for preserving our country against the strides of tyranny making against it.
Governor Trumbull, in his list, has not mentioned an act for impressing carriages, &c., agreeable to the recommendation of Congress. This, I hope, they have not forgotten. It is highly necessary, that such an authority should be given, under proper restrictions, or we shall be greatly embarrassed, whenever the army, or any detachment from it, may find it necessary to march from hence. I am, &c.
[1 ]Wallace had made himself very unpopular by interrupting the trade of the port, stopping and detaining vessels, and even taking possession of private property. When provisions were withheld from his vessels by the townspeople he intercepted ferries, market and fish boats, and thereby reduced Newport to a state of so great distress that the Assembly permitted it to make an arrangement with Wallace for supplying the fleet with provisions on condition that he would not interfere with the town. (October, 1775.) This arrangement was continued, and could not but call out criticism. Records of the Colony of Rhode Island, vii, 381, 389, 420, 460. The Assembly authorized a certain allowance of beef and beer to be supplied “so long as he [Wallace] shall remain peaceably within the colony, without committing any depredations upon the islands, or upon any of the lands of the colony.” Do. 439. Mr. Ward, one of the Rhode Island delegates in the Continental Congress, to which body the matter was referred, wrote: “We should not do justice to the benevolence of Congress, or to the distressed situation of the town, if we did not acquaint you, that all the gentlemen who spoke in this debate, expressed the most tender regard for the distressed people; and gave it as their opinion, that, as long as the ships of war now in our harbor, could be supplied with fresh provisions, beer and such like necessaries, merely for their own immediate support, consistently with the great principles of the general good and safety of America, the town ought to be permitted to furnish them; the greatest care being taken by government, that no more than the barely necessary supplies be furnished them from time to time, lest the common enemy in other parts of the continent, should through them obtain provisions.” In consequence of this partial endorsement the Assembly voted to continue the supplies; but as Wallace might “cannonade, and even burn the town, a discretionary power, by a private vote, which it is designed should be kept a profound secret, is given to the commander of the forces on Rhode Island, to permit supplies, in cases of imminent danger, until the next session.”—Governor Cooke to Washington, 21 January, 1776.