Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. VII (1778-1779)
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TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. VII (1778-1779) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. VII (1778-1779).
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TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
* * * * * *
With respect to seditious papers, calculated to excite dissensions and mislead the people, Congress may be assured, that whenever they may be sent from the enemy by a flag, and they come to my hands, I shall not fail to suppress them. I fear, however, the avenues and channels in which they may be conveyed are so various and so numerous, that no exertions will be found sufficient entirely to prevent the evil.1
Having mentioned the subject of seditious papers, I beg leave to observe, that the commissioners in their late proclamation and manifesto have touched upon every thing to awaken the fears of the people. They have thrown out an implied threat to change the manner of the war to one of a more predatory and destructive kind. They may have done this only in terrorem; but it is possible that it may be intended as a serious principle of practice. It perhaps may not be improvident to guard against it, by fortifying our most valuable and most accessible seaports. Immediately after the action at Monmouth, I sent General Duportail to form a plan of fortification for the Delaware. While he was in the execution of this task, he was called away at General Lee’s instance as a witness in his trial. After this was over, I thought it was necessary that he should turn his attention to the Highland posts; and lately the possibility of an enterprise against the French fleet and the town of Boston determined me to send him to that place, to take measures for their common security. Previous to this, however, he had sent Colonel Laumoy to prepare the way, by taking plans of the river and the adjacent country near Philadelphia. These points I deemed it material to mention; and I submit to Congress the propriety, as Colonel Laumoy is not yet returned, of their directing a number of men to prosecute the defences. * * *
October 23d. I have the honor to transmit a copy of Lieutenant-Colonel Butler’s journal, which I just now received from General Stark. Congress will perceive by this, that he has effectually destroyed the settlements of Anaquaga and Unadilla, and returned with the troops under his command to Schoharie. I hope their destruction will give some relief to the frontier inhabitants of this and the States of Jersey and Pennsylvania, at least for this year, as they were places of rendezvous for the savages and Tories, who infested them, and where they deposited a part of their plunder. * * *
I have the honor, &c.1
[1 ]When the first news of Lord North’s conciliatory bills reached Congress, they resolved, that any man or body of men who should presume to make a separate or partial convention with the commissioners ought to be considered and treated as enemies of the United States. Intelligence had recently been received, that the commissioners “were about to send out, under the sanction of a flag, certain seditious papers, under the name and title of manifestos, to be distributed throughout the United States, with a view to stir up dissensions, animosities, and rebellion among the people.” Persons engaged in distributing papers of this sort, were declared not to be entitled to the protection of a flag; and it was recommended to the executive powers of the several States to take up and secure such persons in close custody, and that the papers should be printed in the public gazettes.—Journals, October 16th. The offensive manifesto is contained in the Remembrancer, vol. vii., p. 127. Copies were folded in separate parcels, and sent to the President of Congress, to a member in Congress from each of the States, to the governors of the States, military commanders, speakers of assemblies, ministers of the gospel, and judges. It is not likely, that many of the parcels reached their destination. General Sullivan received from the commanding officer at Newport a box of these papers, which he delivered over to the Assembly of Rhode Island. The flag ship, containing the copies for Congress and Pennsylvania, was cast away, and duplicates were forwarded with a letter from Dr. Ferguson.—Sparks.
[1 ]Colonel Butler’s Journal was printed by order of Congress. See Remembrancer, vol. vii., p. 253. An enterprise into the Indian country, near the sources of the Susquehanna, had been resuscitated on an extended scale. The successes of Colonel Butler in destroying some of the principal Indian towns, and the lateness of the season, caused the project to be deferred. The particulars may be seen in Marshall’s Life of Washington, vol. iii., p. 562.