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articles pay very high duties, the revenue will be capitally enlarged. And it may be supposed to have this further effect: the great tracts of ground hitherto occupied in England for raising grain, purely to distil spirits, will, in a great measure, be deprived of their object, by the plenty of rum carried in from the West-Indies; and as a total stop is put to the exportation of tea, it may probably fall so low in England as (together with the low price of sugar) to make it a very general diet, morning and night, for the lower class of people; thus drinking foreign spirit, and making part of their meal of foreign produce, the land which was before employed in those services may be spared for raising provisions to ship to the West-Indies, where they will be sure to come to a good market as long as we withhold our trade thither. Therefore you must show some substantial reason for your opinion, that it is the interest of England to wish our trade with the West-Indies restored to its old state; for if England can now buy her sugar and rum cheaper, and sell her grain higher than formerly, why should she wish to reunite with us on this score? A full reply to this suggestion is expected.

You must also prove that England, on a reunion, would grant us such a protection as would secure our property in any part of the world; and that, on our complaining to their Court of seizures or detainer of our vessels by the Russians, Normans, Swedes, Danes, Hamburghers, Dutch, French, Portuguese, Spaniards, the States of Medina, Tuscany, Venice, Rome, Geneva, Courland, Grecian, Turkish, or Piratical States, &c., &c., that they would demand instant satisfaction and restitution for us, as is usual with their own ships, and all this without bringing us in for any share of the expenses. Business of this kind took up a great deal of the attention of the Commonwealth of England, their vessels being frequently detained and insulted; but, by the spirited conduct of the Protector, justice was always obtained. It is therefore your part to show that, on a reunion, the King of Great Britain would take as ample care of the Americans, in such cases, as Cromwell did of British property. Or if a reunion should not take place, you are to point out sufficient reasons to justify you in the supposition that America has not or may not have a naval power competent to the task of doing herself justice. You must also show, in case of a reunion, that England would not call on us for a share of the expenses attending a compact with Russia or other European Princes, in order to keep up the balance of the Protestant power against the Roman Catholick States, thereby preventing Popery from overrunning the world. And you must, lastly, show that, by a reconciliation on constitutional principles, we shall return to the free, money-getting trade we formerly enjoyed; and that we shall have it enlarged to us upon a grand national scale, without any regard to the private emolument of this or that party, but upon principles of the general interest of the whole Empire, without our paying any taxes for the support of Government, more than what we have been used to—the debt arising from the present dispute only excepted. That the administration of justice, and security of property, will be as upright and safe as heretofore; and that the present happiness and future liberty of America would be as well maintained in a reunion as by a separation.

These are heads which I would wish to see separately and largely discussed. And I entreat you, gentlemen, to pursue the subject with calmness and temper. Stick to the matter and neglect the man. It imports not who is the writer, but all are eventually concerned in the cause. I shall read your controversy with great attention, and so will thousands beside me; and if, upon an impartial hearing, it shall appear to be for the real interest of America to cut the Gor-dian-knot, and establish Independence, I declare, with the utmost sincerity and solemnity, that I will give it my hearty concurrence.

Should curiosity, agreeable to the fashion of the times, tempt some readers to desire a knowledge of the writer of this essay, they may be informed that his fortune, his connexions, and everything he holds dear, give him a deep interest in the happiness of America; that his abilities to serve his country rise no higher than to occupy the station of an honest man and quiet citizen; and, most happily for him, he has never been prompted by ambition to quit his post, being simply and truly



Esopus Jail, March 21, 1776.

GENTLEMEN: I flatter myself my present melancholy situation will be a sufficient pardon for this intrusion; but where can the wretched flee for shelter, but to those where the power of extricating them is lodged? By the last post, gentlemen, I troubled you with a petition, the purport of which I am willing most solemnly to swear to; and as the inevitable ruin of myself and family must be the certain issue of my confinement, therefore trust to your clemency for my enlargement, which, if I am so happy as to obtain, shall ever, with gratitude, be remembered by, gentlemen, your very obedient, humble servant,



Fort Constitution, March 31, 1776.

SIR: Enclosed you have a copy of a letter sent to Congress by Captain Raymond, but am doubtful it never was delivered, as I have not had any account of the receipt of it. The Garrison is still destitute of the greatest part of the articles therein mentioned. I desire you would let the Committee of Safety see the enclosed copy, if the original was not delivered, and let me know as soon as possible, how I am to be provided with necessaries, both for this and the Garrison at Pooplopen’s Kill.

I sent an account by Captain Moffat, a few days ago, of sundries the Island is charged with for the use of the Garrison; and as the money is wanting, should be glad to know how I am to come at it. Be good enough to introduce the matter in Committee of Safety, and let me know their conclusion. Your compliance will oblige, sir, your humble servant,


To John McKesson, Esquire.

N. B. Mr. Phelps has been here since the enclosed letter was written, but has made no provision at all only some fresh meat and potatoes.


Providence, March 31, 1776—5 o’clock, P. M.

SIR: I am to inform your Excellency that I have this moment an express from Newport, informing me that a ship-of-war hath arrived in the harbour of Newport, and that twenty-seven ships, undoubtedly having the Ministerial Troops on board, are within Second-Point. Upon this most alarming occasion, when we have not more than four hundred soldiers upon Rhode-Island, and not above seven or eight hundred more in the whole Colony, besides the Militia, not more than half armed, I must use the most pressing instances with your Excellency to forward sufficient succors to the Colony with all possible despatch. I am about issuing the necessary orders for calling the whole Militia to-gether, and taking other proper measures.

I am, your Excellency’s most obedient servant,


To General Washington.


Cambridge, March 31, 1776.

DEAR BROTHER: Your letter of the 24th ultimo was duly forwarded to this camp by Colonel Lee, and gave me the pleasure of hearing that you, my sister, and family, were well. After your post is established to Fredericksburgh, the intercourse, by letter, may become regular and certain; and whenever time (little of which, God knows, I have for friendly correspondences) will permit, I shall be happy in writing to you. I cannot call to mind the date of my last to you, but this I recollect, that I have written more letters to, than I have received from you.

The want of arms, powder, &c., is not peculiar to Virginia. This country (of which, doubtless, you have heard such large and flattering accounts) is more deficient of each than you can conceive. I have been here months together with (what will scarce be believed) not thirty rounds of musket cartridges a man—have been obliged to submit to all the insults of the enemy’s cannon for want of powder,

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