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moments warning I shall detain them at this place till further orders. They can, in the mean time, be very well employed at this place in building platforms and barriers.
March 11.Last night three gentlemen landed here from on board a packet from England. The advice they bring over is, that seven regiments of Foot, amounting to about four thousand men, were ready to sail from Cork about the 6th of January, bound to the Southern Colonies; that Great Britain had engaged four thousand Hanoverians and six thousand Hessians for the American war, and were in treaty for ten thousand Russians; that the French Ambassador had declared to the English Ministry that while the quarrel between Great Britain and her Colonies was carried on with their own forces, the King, his master, would not meddle with it; but that if any foreign aid was introduced, he would no longer be an idle spectator. They then had not heard in England that the French had any troops in their West-India Islands. I think this looks well for us.
I have the honour to be your most humble servant,
To General Schuyler.
LORD STIRLING TO PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
[Read March 15, 1776.]
New-York, Sunday Evening, 10 oclock, March 10, 1776.
DEAR SIR: I have just had with me three gentlemen who have landed here this evening from on board a packet boat, arrived at Sandy-Hook from England in nine weeks. Two of them you are doubtless acquainted with, Mr. William Temple and Mr. Dennie, of Cambridge; the other is a Mr. Rickson, who has letters to several Members of Congress, and other gentlemen at Philadelphia. They are to set out for Philadelphia to-morrow morning, and will give you the particulars of the news they are possessed of. What I can gather from them is, that seven regiments, consisting of about four thousand men, commanded by Lord Cornwallis, were to sail from Cork about the 10th of January for the Southern Provinces, to be joined and commanded by General Clinton; and that no other British Troops were destined to this Continent; that four thousand Hanoverians and six thousand Hessians were engaged to come out, and in treaty for ten thousand Russians; that the French Ambassador on this had declared that his Court did not want to interfere between Great Britain and the Colonies while she made use of her own force, but that if foreign troops were employed they could not be idle spectators. The gentlemen also say, that when they left London it was not known that any French Troops were embarked for, or arrived at, the West-India Islands. They say that the mail is an immensely large one, and, I suspect, well stored with materials preparatory to the arrival of the Commissioners, who are reduced in number to twenty, and were to embark about the middle of January. Their commissions and instructions were not to be completed till after the second meeting of Parliament This mail I shall have my eye on, and endeavour to prevent any of its contents being dispersed without passing through my hands.
The Eastern post is arrived this evening, but has not brought a letter from any place farther eastward than New-London. Mysterious. But I dare say all right.
General Lee has doubtless informed the Congress of our situation here. Our whole number is about one thousand seven hundred effectives; of these, about one thousand (the Connecticut Troops) will leave us on the twenty-fifth of this month; of the remainder, about three hundred are New-York Minute-men, without arms. It will, therefore, be highly necessary to order several regiments to this place as soon as possible. It will employ six thousand men for at least two months to complete the works necessary at this place, its environs, and Long-Island. The four regiments raising in this Province, I believe, are very backward in their recruiting. We scarce hear of them. No Field-Officers yet fixed. Nor have I heard of a single company mustered; and, consequently, none of them have joined the Army.
I am, sir, with the highest regard and esteem, you most humble servant,
To the Honourable John Hancock.
BENJAMIN SMITH TO MASSACHUSETTS COUNCIL.
Edgartown, March 10, 1776.
GENTLEMEN: I have only time to inform your Honours that, on the seventh instant, I, with a detachment of my company, with some gentlemen of this town, in number all about forty, with a small vessel, employed for the purpose, engaged and took the Ship Harriet, Weymse Orrok, master, storeship, from London, bound for Boston, laden with coal, porter, and potatoes; and have sent the mate, (the Captain being wounded in the engagement,) with fourteen mariners, by Lieutenant Shaw, and have directed him to deliver them to the honourable Council. I am endeavouring to secure the property, by getting the ship to the main; which, having perfected, shall give immediate attendance for further direction in the matter; and, in the interim, remain your Honours most obedient humble servant,
To the Honourable Gentlemen of the Council for the Colony of the Massachusetts-Bay, Watertown.
BERIAH NORTON TO MASSACHUSETTS COUNCIL.
Edgartown, March 9, 1776.
GENTLEMEN: These are to inform your Honours that, about five oclock in the morning of the 6th of March instant, the Sloop Francis, William, Furniwill, Prizemaster, was shipwrecked on the south side of the Island of Marthas Vineyard. Said sloop was taken by the Ship Phenix, of the British Navy, about the 15th of December last, as said prizemaster says, and was the property of William Lowther, Esq., merchant in New-York, and bound for Boston, by the way of Newport. The sailors being taken into custody, and also the vessel and cargo, the Captain forthwith made information to me. I went to the wreck, and appointed Major Dagget to take an inventory of her cargo; which is as followeth: about fifty hogsheads of tobacco, one hundred and ninety barrels of turpentine, three and a half thousands of staves, twenty-four half hides, &c., and the men ordered under guard of the sea-coast men. The next morning there was information in town that there was a transport ship at anchor near Nantucket-Shoals. I was not in town myself till the afternoon, when I found there was about thirty-seven men gone off to engage the ship, with a small sloop. About twenty-three of our men were those of the sea-coast, under Captain Benjamin Smith, the rest were of the Militia. They engaged her, and, after a smart skirmish, the Captain of the ship being shot through the thigh, struck to our Yankee Sloop, and are brought into Old-Town harbour. The Captain is in a fair way of recovery. Her cargo is about one hundred chaldrons of coal, one hundred butts of porter, thirty hogsheads sourkrout, potatoes, and sundry other articles. The officers and seamen are ordered to Head-Quarters by the sea-coast Captain, under the care of Second Lieutenant James Shaw.
I shall not enlarge any further on this subject, as I expect to be at Court within fifteen days. I would just remind your Honours that the resolve for removing the restraint to our trade hath not been published, to my knowledge; and, as we have suffered by it already, I must humbly beg your Honours to have it published as soon as possible, several persons having been obliged to unload their vessels that were bound here, on that account. I have only to say that the two gentlemen, (the prizemaster abovesaid,
find themselves in a sufficiency of carpenters, ship-wrights, and wheel-wrights tools. They are also to provide themselves with a good firelock, bayonet, cartouch-box, and proper belts and blankets, and sufficient clothing, all at their own expense; and, when occasion requires it, are to act the part of soldiers in either attack or defence, as well as artificers. They are, while in the service, to receive the full allowance of provision and rum allowed to the other artificers in the Continental Army, and to be allowed necessary transportation for their baggage. They are to be at New-York as soon as possible, and to enter into pay from the time of being mustered and received there, with an allowance of three days for their arrival at that place. They are then to obey the general orders, either in the Provinces of New-York, New-Jersey, or Canada. When discharged they are to be allowed a reasonable time to reach their homes, which is to be fixed as at Newark in New-Jersey.
In witness whereof each man is to sign these articles, dated the fourth day of March, 1776.
I do agree to raise another Company of Artificers of the same number, and on the like terms with the above,