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and in their offices, and that they were not to be tolerated to officiate; which conduct of said Mr. Smith was not only observed, but approved by many who were conversant with him. Mr. Smith, finding that our Committee of Correspondence were generally, though not entirely, approvers of this conduct, he procured meeting after meeting of said Committee, called Conventions of the Committees of the northern towns of the County, at Lenox, Pittsfield, and elsewhere, wherein his conduct and adherents occasioned considerable disturbance. But it was generally supposed he acted disinterestedly, only aiming at the interest of the country and County; till, upon trial of making a nomination for Judges amongst ourselves, we found Mr. could find weighty objections against any we could nominate. Then we began to perceive the cause of his exertions was for his own advancement to a seat that very lately there would not, perhaps, have been ten persons in the County would have counted him either qualified for or worthy of. Notwithstanding, there are a few who adhere to him; amongst whom we fear there are few of ability or integrity. On the 23d of February last, in the evening, there were assembled, we suppose, upwards of thirty persons at our Town-House, generally at his motion, when he, in a harangue of a considerable length, declaimed against the appointment of the Judges, &c., and insisted that they would not be allowed to officiate; though that he (Mr. Smith) would not be instrumental in breaking up the Courts; but declared that he had rather submit to Lord North than consent to have them officiate. The consequence may be observed on this Convention at Pittsfield, and their resolves. Our town was so far alarmed at the irregularity of said Convention, that several resolved, previous to our meeting, to make a choice of new officers, at least to change Smith and his adherents. But Mr. Smith and others hearing thereof, they entered the meeting in a passionate and tumultuous manner, accusing all who durst oppose them of being Tories, which alarmed a great many. Notwithstanding his opposers had their choice of a Moderator by proxy, yet he and his friends would allow of no business being done till they agreed to nominate each party by turns. The law was, by them, disclaimed. Orders from the Assembly for choosing a Committee by proxy must not be performed, they fearing their numbers; and now those who were known to be opposed to Smith, &c., are characterized by him, &c., as the worst of Tories.
Dear sir, your advice is humbly requested by us in this situation; and if the foregoing information may be of service, we are able to prove it. But if there is anything further we can, in justice, do, we are ready to do it; but if we must be passive with our superiors, we would be glad of a word of direction to, dear sir, your most obedient, humble servants,
To Timothy Edwards, Esq., Stockbridge.
EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM LONDON, DATED APRIL 7, 1776.
Lord Howe has at length agreed to command the fleet, and will sail in about ten days in the Eagle, line-of-battle-ship, of sixty-four guns. The whole of the armament that he brings, however formidable in appearance, will be very inadequate to the business, if the Provincials act with their usual spirit and prudence; that is, if they occupy good posts, intrench well, avoid a general action but upon great and sure advantage, harass the march, and intercept the convoys. All this their superior knowledge of the country will enable them to do, so as to distress, if not destroy, the invading Army.
The Regulars trust to their artillery, of which more has been shipped off, three times over, than ever went out of this Kingdom before. All this will embarrass their motions, and may retard all their movements, by proper precaution on the part of the Provincials.
As the Landgrave of Hesse is a notoriously dishonest man, it is probable the troops he furnishes will be the worst he has. The British troops are mostly new raised, and therefore, in discipline, will be inferior to the Americans. It is conceived, too, that if proper offers are made to the Germans, they will desert in great numbers.
Not one of the ships-of-war has more than a third seamenthe rest are landsmen; therefore, if the Provincial vessels attack any of them, it will not be surprising if they succeed. Such is the terrour entertained of the service at land, that the officers of the Guards, now going, are clothed like the common men, that they may be in less danger; and it is supposed the whole Army will follow their example. Their apprehensions went so far as to make them talk of wearing breastplates.
The Provincials, with proper attention, may be greatly superior in cavalry, as there are but three British regiments, (and those light,) and one German. The Americans, both men and horse, being accustomed to ride through the woods, will have an infinite advantage in forced marches, beating up quarters, and cutting off convoys.
There are a thousand wagons and three thousand drafthorses sent for the artillery and baggage, which will cost them near two hundred thousand pounds, and may soon be destroyed by proper attention. The expense of this armament you may well conceive will be enormous. Six millions are already voted, and it is computed that full six more will be required. The extraordinaries only, of last year, exceeded eight hundred thousand pounds. If they do not succeed this campaign, which they will not be able to commence till July, all men agree that this country cannot support it longer, either in men or money.
Every nerve is now stretched, and every resource exhausted. Lord George Germaine therefore gives it out as encouragement, that the Americans will lay down their arms without a struggle; and that he has received the most humble offers from the Congress; but as he will not treat, he sends this armament to ensure an unconditional submission, of which he is secure. You may depend upon this language coming immediately from his lips.
The Corporation of London have voted the freedom of the city, in a gold box, to Dr. Price, for a pamphlet in defence of America; and petitioned the Throne for a declaration of the definitive terms intended to be granted to the Colonies. The Kings answer was, that when they laid down their arms and submitted, he should think of mercy. The Colonies will therefore see that their safety depends solely on their firmness, unanimity, and prudence. It is no longer in their option to be independent or connected with this country, as before. Independency or slavery is the only alternative.
The whole of this armament may be expected by the latter end of July, as they will sail in May. Such is the rage against America, that the Administration are determined, at every hazard, to make one desperate push. The whole empire is put into the hazard, with the sole hope of enslaving a part; which the firmness and unanimity of the Colonies will, under God, infallibly disappoint.
VIRGINIA COMMITTEE OF SAFETY TO COUNCIL OF SAFETY OF MARYLAND.
Williamsburgh, April 7, 1776.
GENTLEMEN: We could not suffer a moment to pass before we transmitted the enclosed copies of intercepted letters addressed by the Secretary of State to the Governour of your Province, which open the schemes of Administration to us in a more explicit manner than any intelligence that we have heretofore been able to procure. We have also enclosed copies of the same letters to the Chairman of the Committee of Safety at Baltimore, and have desired him to transmit copies of them to the Congress, with all possible despatch.
I am, for and by order of the Committee, gentlemen, your most humble servant,
JOHN PAGE, Vice-President.
To the Council of Safety of Maryland.
CAPTAIN BARRY TO MARINE COMMITTEE.
In sight of the Capes of Virginia, April 7, 1776.
GENTLEMEN: I have the pleasure to acquaint you that, at one oclock, P. M., this day, I fell in with the sloop Edward, belonging to the Liverpool frigate. She engaged us near two glasses. They killed two of our men, and wounded two more. We shattered her in a terrible manner, as you will see. We killed and wounded several of her crew. I shall give you a particular account of the powder and