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yet, early in the unhappy contest, I (as well as thousands besides) conceived an important danger, that a new-raised military would, in time, wrest the sceptre from the hands of those who were intended to control it, and rule the inhabitants of the land solely by the force of arms, without their approbation or direction in the least; thereby depriving the reputable citizen and the industrious husbandman, that had at any time fallen within the compass of any of their displeasure, of the benefit of every law from whence any relief might come. Methinks I now view that dreadful morn already dawned! Let it not be said that I see clearly.
The sensible and the generous, whose sentiments are uncontracted, of whatsoever party or denomination they may be, will cease to wonder that persons who were heavily laden with this conception should hold opinions something different from those, who (though they would all equally detest so direful a production) considered its pregnancy as a mere visionary fable that existed not.
Whether this was a natural or a false conception; whether it has or has not arrived beyond the state of embryo, and acquired the motions of a living foetus, every man must judge for himself. Let it never be said that it has arrived at a perfect birth!
Fatal experience has given me but too much reason to suppose its being already born; nor can anything short of an immediate release convince me to the contrary. If I am wrong, I should be heartily glad to be convinced of my error, and (as I said before) I shall then frankly acknowledge it. Should this be the case, I would beg the favour of you to despatch a person hither on purpose; for I cannot place much faith in receiving anything by the post, being fully of opinion that you have not been so long silent. I should also be glad he would bring a spare horse with him, as horses are not easily to be hired here.
I cannot conclude without saying that, however erroneous my opinions, or however imprudent my revealing them may have been, few, if any, have ever held more sincere wishes for the real welfare of this, and every other part of his Majestys dominions, than myself.
I must repeat my thanks to you for the trouble you have taken; and should a continuance of this unhappy season lead you, or any of your acquaintances, into a disagreeable situation, you and they may rely on receiving every relief that can flow through any channel, by means of the application of, sir, your most obedient servant,
To John McKesson, Esq., Attorney-at-Law, New-York.
PAROLE OF GOVERNOUR BROWNE, ETC., PRISONERS TAKEN BY ADMIRAL HOPKINS.
We, Montfort Browne, Esq., Governour of New-Providence, Thomas Irving, Esq., and James Babbidge, * prisoners in the power of the Governour and Council of Safety for the Colony of Connecticut, being delivered to them by the Commander-in-Chief of the Fleet of the United Colonies in America, having been kindly treated and protected by them, and enlarged on parole, do hereby solemnly promise and engage, on the honour of gentlemen, that we will not bear arms against the Colonies of America, in any manner whatever, for the space of twelve months, or until we may be exchanged; nor will we, during that time, take any measures to give intelligence to the British Ministry, or Ministerial Army or Navy, or to any person or persons whatever, relative to American affairs; but will proceed, with all convenient expedition, to the town of Windham, in this Colony, and peaceably abide within the limits of said township, and submit ourselves to the further directions of the said Governour and his Council of Safety; that we will not, directly or indirectly, attempt to procure any person or persons to rescue us; and that we will not go on board any British ship-of-war during the continuance of our engagement not to bear arms.
GENERAL SCHUYLER TO PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. [Read April 22, 1776.]
Fort George, April 12, 1776.
SIR: The troops that arrived too late at Albany to cross the lakes on the ice are now at this post and Fort Edward, impatiently waiting for the lakes to become navigable. I hope a day or two will effect it. All is in readiness to move immediately the cannon are embarked, and all such stores as are not perishable.
General Thomas is seven miles from this place, where I have advised him to remain until the lakes open, as we have scarcely room to lay down at this place. The gentlemen Committee remain at Saratoga for the same reason.
The originals of the enclosed papers are this moment come to hand by the Canada post. The intelligence they contain is so interesting that I send this by express, and have also written to General Washington, repeating my wish that a reinforcement may be immediately sent up.
I have been long apprehensive that the imprudent conduct of our troops would create a disgust to our cause in the Canadians; it even hurts it in this Colony, as I have before taken the liberty to observe to you; nor will it be remedied without a stricter discipline prevails, nor even then unless severer punishments could be inflicted than the present military law allows of.
We have had a severe snow-storm this day, which is clearing up with a high northwest wind, which may probably break the ice.
I am, sir, most respectfully, your obedient humble servant,
To the Honourable John Hancock.
P. S. General Washington informs me that he cannot procure any hard cash.
Montreal, March 16, 1776.
SIR: This will be handed to you by Mr. Blake, in whose favour I have taken the liberty to draw upon you one order of the 13th instant, for three hundred and ninety-four pounds fifteen shillings and three pence, lawful money, which is for blankets, &c., purchased for the use of the troops; and one order of the 16th instant, for four hundred and seventy-one pounds eighteen shillings and nine pence, lawful money, in cash, borrowed of him for the use of the Army, and which we have had for some time, without interest. He has been very friendly to us, and granted us every assistance in his power. I therefore recommend him to your notice. He will tell you the reasons we have to apprehend that there is mischief contriving by the Kings Troops, and the inhabitants, traders, and savages, in and about Detroit.
Many of our friends in this town, from a number of circumstances, are of opinion that those men, who I informed you of in my last had made their escape from this place, took with them a considerable sum of money. We are informed by some Savages that they left Legolet last Monday for Niagara and Detroit; and it is thought if a party went off immediately by the way of the Mohawk River that they might be taken. After being fully informed by Mr. Blake, perhaps you will think it will be necessary to make a diversion that way as early as possible; for should a large number come down to this town, while the bulk of our Army are at Quebeck, they may give us trouble.
I have made a calculation of what powder we have in this country, and find there is not more than sixty rounds for six thousand men, supposing we had no use for cannon. I am afraid that it will be so difficult to pass the lakes in a little time, that unless the men are hurried, our numbers will fall greatly short of what were expected.
Your favour of the 6th instant I have received, and am very sorry that the whole of the provisions, cannon, artillery, stores, &c., which were designed for this country, could not be sent forward. I hardly know what we shall do. Our money is already gone. Hope there is some upon the road. The Deputy Paymaster is still here. He sent some time ago fifteen thousand dollars, in paper, to Quebeck; but I believe that he has not a sufficiency to pay off the Army by him. I expected to have gone to Quebeck myself before this time, but the troops coming in so slowly, and there has been so much to do here, that, as yet, it has been impossible. I am glad to hear that General Lee is on his road. Hope to see him in this Province in a few days.
*NEW-LONDON, April 19, 1776. Wednesday last, Mantfort Browne, Esq., Governour of New-Providence, Mr. R abbidge, Secretary of that Province, Mr. Irving, one of the Council of South-Carolina, and a number of other prisoners, brought in by Commodore Hopkins, were carried from hence to Windham, under an escort.