Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. III (1775-1776)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
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).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
Cambridge, 19 January, 1776.
Taking it for granted, that General Schuyler has not only informed you of the fall of the brave and much-to-be-lamented General Montgomery, but of the situation of our affairs in Canada, (as related by General Wooster, Colonel Arnold, Colonel Campbell, and others,) I shall not take up much more of your time on this subject, than is necessary to enclose you a copy of his letter to me, with the result thereon, as appears by the council of war, which I immediately summoned on the occasion, and at which Mr. Adams, by my particular desire, was good enough to attend.
It may appear strange, Sir, as I had not men to spare from these lines, that I should presume, without first sending to Congress, and obtaining an express direction, to recommend to the governments of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire, to raise each a regiment, on the Continental account, for this service. I wish most ardently, that the urgency of the case would have admitted of the delay. I wish, also, that the purport of General Schuyler’s letter had not, unavoidably as it were, laid me under an indispensable obligation to do it; for, having informed you in his letter, (a copy of which he enclosed me,) of his dependence on this quarter for men, I thought you might also have some reliance on my exertions. This consideration, added to my fears of the fatal consequences of delay, to an information of your having designed three thousand men for Canada, to a belief, founded chiefly on General Schuyler’s letters, that few or none of them were raised, and to my apprehensions for New York, which led me to think, that no troops could be spared from that quarter, induced me to lose not a moment’s time in throwing in a force there; being well assured, that General Carleton will improve to the utmost the advantages gained, leaving no artifices untried to fix the Canadians and Indians, (who, we find, are too well disposed to take part with the strongest,) in his interest.
If these reasons are not sufficient to justifie my conduct in the opinion of Congress, if the measure contravenes any resolution of theirs, they will please to countermand the levying and marching of the regiments as soon as possible, and do me the justice to believe, that my intentions were good, if my judgment has erred.1
The Congress will please also to observe, that the measure of supporting our posts in Canada appeared of such exceeding great importance, that the general officers, (agreeing with me in sentiment, and unwilling to lay any burden which can possibly be avoided, although it may turn out an ill-timed piece of parsimony,) have resolved, that the three regiments for Canada shall be part of the thirteen militia regiments, which were requested to reinforce this army, as appears by the minutes of another council of war, held on the 16th instant.1 I shall, being much hurried and fatigued, add no more in this letter, than my duty to Congress, and that I have the honor to be, &c. P. S. I enclose you a copy of my letter to the governments of Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire, also a copy of a resolution of this colony in answer to an application of mine for arms.
Since writing the above I have been informed by a message from the General Court of Massachusetts that they have a resolution upon the raising of a regiment for Canada, and appointed the field officers for it in the western parts of this government. I am also informed by express from Governor Trumbull that he and his Council of Safety had agreed upon the raising of a regiment for the same purpose which was anticipating my application to that government.
If commissions (and they are applied for) are to be given by Congress to the three regiments going to Canada, you will please to have them forwarded, as I have none by me for the purpose.1
[1 ]When the Congress took this letter into consideration, they resolved that the conduct of the General in calling for these troops “was prudent, consistent with his duty, and a farther manifestation of his commendable zeal for the good of his country.”—Journals, January 20th.
[1 ]A council of war was convened on the 16th of January, in which the General stated it to be “in his judgment indispensably necessary to make a bold attempt to conquer the ministerial troops in Boston before they could be reinforced in the spring, if the means could be provided, and a favorable opportunity should offer,” and he desired the opinion of the council. It was agreed that such an attempt ought to be made, but that the present force was inadequate; and the council advised the Commander-in-chief to request of the neighboring colonies thirteen regiments of militia, to serve till the 1st of April; that is, from Massachusetts seven regiments, Connecticut four, and New Hampshire two. Rhode Island was exempted from this call, “on account of the repeated insults of the enemy’s ships of war, and the exposed situation of the sea-coast of that colony.”
[1 ]Read January 27th. Referred to Lynch, Wythe, Sherman, Ward and S. Adams. Lynch did not serve on the Committee although his name is endorsed on the letter.