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returns to the Assemblies of the number of men inlisted in their respective Colonies that are destitute of arms, and to dismiss from the service such of them as cannot be thus supplied. In consequence of this, the Delegates from Massachusetts-Bay think it their duty to write to your Honour on the subject, and, through you, to inform the honourable Assembly, that, for the better regulating the Army, and promoting the means of defence, the United Colonies are divided into districts, or departments, and are to supply with fire-arms the Continental Troops that shall be raised by them, respectively, and be in want thereof. The Eastern District consists of the Northeastern Colonies, who, during the whole of this conflict, have discovered the firmest attachment to American liberty, and the warmest zeal and ardour in its defence. Should they, at any time, fail in this, or neglect to supply their quotas of men and arms, they must, in consequence thereof, be the greatest sufferers, and may confer on themselves the censure of the rest of the Continent. We are fully persuaded that the late difficulties in raising men and procuring arms in the Eastern District are justly chargeable on the mode adopted for establishing the Army at Cambridge; but we hope for a different regulation in future, and shall use our utmost endeavours that, in any new levies of men, the General Assemblies may have the direction of the same, subject to the control of Congress.
We think it necessary to inform the honourable Assembly that, in some of the Colonies, all persons whatever are prohibited from purchasing or selling fire-arms to be carried from the same. The safety of the Eastern District may possibly require the like protection. We rejoice at the success attending the measures of the Massachusetts-Bay for promoting the manufacturing of military stores, and think that a steady perseverance in the same plan is the wisest mode that the Colonies can adopt for a permanent establishment of their rights and liberties. We therefore hope that diligent inquiry will be made for all the manufacturers of fire-arms in the Colony who, from want of means, or other circumstances, are unemployed in this business, and that publick works will be erected for them, with suitable encouragement to engage them in the service. We sincerely congratulate your honourable Assembly on the happy recovery of Boston from our enemies, and are fully assured that this opportunity of fortifying the harbour will be successfully improved, and thereby an asylum secured for the ships-of-war and other navigation of the Continent. We presume that General Washington will see the necessity of such a measure, and order some of the cannon brought from Ticonderoga to be appropriated to this purpose. But should it otherwise happen, we think there can be no objection to the Assemblys taking such of the cannon and carriages at Cambridge as they have supplied, and deducting from their accounts against the Continent the charge of any part thereof which they may have made in said accounts, more especially as New-York is better supplied with cannon than New-England; and the reason there is to expect another visit from the enemy in that quarter, renders every precaution necessary to receive them.
We have the honour to be, sir, with great respect, your most obedient and very humble servants,
To the Honourable President of the Council of the Massachusetts-Bay.
GENERAL HEALTH TO PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
City of New-York, April 3, 1776.
HONOURED SIR: Having at present the honour to command the Army in the service of the United Colonies in North-America now quartered in this city, five regiments of which are lately arrived from the camp near Boston, whose necessities and complaints are so great as to make it my duty to crave relief from the honourable Continental Congress. These regiments were reluctant to leave the camp before they had received their pay; but the Treasury being bare, they could not have it. They suffered much on the road for want of money, and would have suffered more had they not been relieved by their officers, who spent all their money to relieve their men. Since their arrival in this city, their wants increase. Enclosed I send you the complaints of one regiment. Other Colonels acquaint me that they are discouraged. Three months pay is due. I have been obliged to borrow a months pay for three of the rifle companies. I have written to his Excellency General Washington on the subject, and am advised by Doctor Franklin to write immediately to the honourable Congress. I do, therefore, most earnestly request that you would please to lay the matter before Congress, and that the most speedy relief may be granted.
Colonel Mifflin arrived in this city on yesterday, with his lady. The Delegates from Congress, going for Canada, sailed in the afternoon with a fair wind. I have in this city, by the return of yesterday, five thousand two hundred and ten men, exclusive of the city Militia. We are fortifying the city as fast as possible. Governour Tryon having begun to throw up a work on a small Island in the harbour, about half a mile from the Asia man-of-war, I determined to drive him from every part of terra firma. Major De Hart, of the New-Jersey Battalion, offered, with two hundred men of that regiment, to dislodge them; accordingly, about twelve oclock last night, they embarked on board several boats, and a little after one landed on the Island. The men were all on board the ships; but near forty women and children were in a house on the Island. They fired all the buildings, saving a cottage, in which they left the distressed women and children. They defaced the work, and brought off the intrenching tools. It is said near one hundred recruits, from Long-Island, have joined Tryon; but whether this be certain or not, I cannot tell.
My best respects to my worthy friends, Messrs. Adams, Paine, and Gerry; and believe me, with the greatest respect, to be your most humble servant,
To the Honourable John Hancock, Esq.
CAPTAIN DAVIS TO NEW-YORK CONGRESS.
Easthampton, April 3, 1776.
GENTLEMEN: Your warrant was handed me. I have endeavoured to inlist the men agreeable to the instructions contained therein. But as no time is limited for the mens inlistment, it much retards the business; and a very great uneasiness arises in the minds of some very good men, who would gladly enter the service, on account of the wages being reduced; and it is reported among them, that the wages given at Connecticut is the same this year as it was the last. If it had not been for the objections above, I should by this time have filled my company. The number I have inlisted is about seventy, and hope soon to complete the whole. I am your humble servant to command,
To the Provincial Congress, or Committee of Safety, of New-York.
NATHANIEL FORDHAM TO NEW-YORK CONGRESS.
Sag-Harbour, East end of Long-Island, April 3, 1776.
Pursuant to a vote of the County Committee, held at our County-Hall, in Suffolk County, on the 27th of March, we, whose names are hereunto subscribed, being appointed a sub-Committee to examine the contents of all the cannon within our respective Districts, and make return of said contents to the Provincial Congress or Committee of Safety, with a petition for a supply of ammunition and other warlike stores, suitable for the enclosed list of cannon, which we have examined agreeable to orders.
This petition humbly showeth, that it is the opinion of this Committee, that we are much exposed to the ravages of the Ministerial Army, and look upon it highly necessary that we have a publick stock or quantity of ammunition, and other warlike stores, together with orders for mounting the enclosed number of cannon on proper carriages; and as the Ministerial Troops seem at this present juncture to be on the move, cannot tell how soon we may be invaded; therefore beg your speedy answer; which shall be gratefully acknowledged by your humble servants,
To the Chairman of the Provincial Congress, or Committee of Safety, New-York.