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destitute of all these, and after twelve months collection, had only a sufficiency of powder to tune their cannon for six or eight days. I am at a loss to know how Great Britain will reconcile all this to her military glory. Her conquests in America, I am certain, will never do it. Congress have voted thanks to the General, and all the officers and soldiers of the Army, and ordered a medal of gold, with a suitable device, to be presented to the former. I hope, however, that this success will not abate your exertions to obtain, by your own manufactures, sufficient supplies of military articles; for on these, and the discipline of your Militia, depend your liberty.
You are desirous of knowing what capital measures are proposed in Congress. I refer you to Colonel Orne for what is done concerning privateering, and I hope soon that all your ports will be open, and a free trade be allowed with all nations. This will not, in itself, satisfy you; and I hope nothing will, short of a determination of America to hold her rank in the creation, and give law to herself. I doubt not this will soon take place; and am sure New-England will not be satisfied with less, since not only the Government, but the people of Great Britain, are corrupt, and destitute of publick virtue.
I sincerely wish you would originate instructions, expressed with decency and firmnessyour own styleand give your sentiments as a Court in favour of independency. I am certain it would turn many doubtful minds, and produce a reversal of the contrary instructions adopted by some Assemblies. Some timid minds are terrified at the word Independence. If you think caution in this respect good policy, change the name.
America has gone such lengths she cannot recede; and I and convinced that a few weeks, or months at farthest, will convince her of the fact; but the fruit must have time to ripen in some of the other Colonies. In New-England, the hot-bed of sedition, (as North has impudently called Boston,) it has already come to maturity. Would it not be good policy for the New-England Governments to think of the matter, and adopt similar measures? Perhaps a circular letter, and the publication of your instructions, would accomplish much. Is it not curious that the British Ministry should know so little of our feelings or character, that, after seizing our property, burning our towns, and destroying their inhabitants, they should make an act to interdict our trade, and suppose that Towns, Counties, and Colonies will bury in oblivion all former abuses, and subscribe themselves slaves, in order to be rescued from the severities of this commercial tyranny? This is an instance of the wisdom and policy of the British Ministry! Have they not yet ascertained that we know our rights, or, at least, that we think we know them? Have they not learned that we can defend them, too?
I remain your friend,
To James Warren, President of the Provincial Congress at Watertown.
Whereas the Continental Congress did lately Resolve, that if any person shall be so lost to all virtue and regard for this country as to refuse to receive the Bills of Credit emitted by the authority of Congress, or should obstruct or discourage the currency thereof, and be convicted by the Committee of the City, County, or District, where he should reside, such person should be deemed, published, and treated as an enemy of this country, and be precluded from all trade or intercourse with the inhabitants of these Colonies; and whereas Benjamin Sharpless, of this city, being charged with a breach of this Resolve, in refusing to receive the above Bills of Credit in payment, appeared before the Committee for the City and Liberties, acknowledged the truth of the charge, and alleged in his defence scruples of conscience thereupon, as being money emitted for the purpose of war:
The Committee, pursuant to the trust reposed in them, proceeded to consider the charge and defence; and were of opinion that, if such allegation was true, yet, as the Congress have made no exception, and as such conduct tends to subvert the most essential rights and liberties of their fellow-citizens, and, by destroying the means of defence, to expose their lives and properties to unavoidable ruin, it ought not to be admitted. But it appearing, by his own acknowledgment, that he has heretofore received, and does continue to receive, Bills of Credit emitted in this and the neighbouring Provinces, though frequently issued for the purposes of war; therefore, such objection is not well founded, nor the present pretence consistent with his former conduct. The Committee, therefore, (the party having declared he did not mean to appeal to any other Board,) do unanimously hold up to the world the said Benjamin Sharpless as an enemy to his country, and precluded from all trade or intercourse with the inhabitants of these Colonies.
Ordered, That the above be published.
Extract from the Minutes.
R. STRETTELL JONES, Secretary.
Committee-Chamber, March 26, 1776.
Whereas it is represented to this Committee that some avaricious and designing persons are endeavouring, by various designs, to elude the late Resolutions of this Committee touching the prices of Sugar, Coffee, Rum, Molasses, Pepper, &c.: in order, therefore, that suitable measures may be immediately taken with such persons, the Committee will sit on the 29th instant, at six oclock in the evening, at the Philosophical-Hall, in Second-street, in order to receive any complaints that may be made on that head. And they do request all persons who have any knowledge of such practices either to attend the Committee personally, or acquaint them by letter who the offenders are, and the circumstances of such offence, so far as they have come to their knowledge.
By order of the Committee of Inspection and Observation of the City and Liberties of Philadelphia:
R. S. JONES, Secretary.
NEW-JERSEY COMMITTEE OF SAFETY.
In Committee of Safety, March 26, 1776.
The Committee of Safety considering the critical situation of the City and Province of New-York, represented in the Letters from Brigadier-Generals Thompson and Lord Stirling, and the recommendation of the Continental Congress to this Committee on that subject,
Do Order and Resolve, That three Battalions of Militia be drafted out of the Militia of this Province, in the manner following, viz:
From Hunterdon County, four hundred and forty men; and from Burlington County, two hundred and twenty men; who are to join and form one Battalion.
From Somerset, two hundred and twenty men; from Sussex, two hundred and twenty men; and from Morris, two hundred and twenty men; who are to form another Battalion.
From Middlesex, one hundred men; from Monmouth, one hundred and forty men; from Essex, two hundred and twenty men; and from Bergen, two hundred men; which are likewise to join and from another Battalion.
The whole to march to the City of New-York with the greatest expedition, under the command of the Brigadier-Generals Dickerson and Livingston, and such Field-Officers, Captains, and Subalterns, as are necessary to command the said Battalions.
Resolved, That, in order to facilitate the service, twelve Wagons be furnished to the Generals to carry the baggage of the several Battalions.
Whereas, from the scarcity of Arms, the drafts may not all be properly provided with the same,
Resolved, That it be recommended to the several Companies of Militia to lend their Arms to such as may want them; and if a sufficient number cannot be obtained in a voluntary manner, the several Captains are hereby empowered to impress them, so as to completely equip such as are going upon the present important service; the Arms so lent or impressed, to be appraised by indifferent persons; if lost or damaged in action or real service) the value to be paid to the owner by the Province; if lost or injured by negligence, the occupier to make good the damages.
Resolved, That the Generals may draw on the Treasury of the Provincial Congress of New-Jersey for the sum of one thousand Pounds, if so much be necessary for the subsistence