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gentlemen should meet your approbation, I hope you will honour them with commissions.

I am your most obedient, humble servant,


To the Honourable Council of Safety.


Lewestown is, at this time, made up of officers and soldiers; and the people, altogether, seem determined to defend our little place. As for Tones, there are none such among us. That infamous name is quite done away since danger comes so near us. The Roebuck still remains in our Road all alone, and has, I believe, lost her tender: a few days ago some say they saw a sloop take her to the southward of our Cape. We have between fifty and a hundred men on guard night and day at the Light-House, Arnold’s, and the Creek’s mouth; and are determined to watch them closely. They made application to fish on our beach. We would not let them, but desired them to go to Newfoundland for that purpose. If they should attempt to fish on the beach, we are determined to show them Yankee play, as we did on Easter Sunday, when we were unloading Captain Field.* I do assure you that, if you were here, you would be pleased with the spirit of the people.


Philadelphia, April 17, 1776.

GENTLEMEN: Yesterday morning, just before the meeting of Congress, the letters from Baltimore, which occasioned the resolution of yesterday, came to the hands of the President. By the same express, and, as I believe, under the same cover, came an anonymous letter, referring to a copy therein enclosed from General Lee to Mr. Samuel Purviance. I saw and read the copy, which was in Purviance’s handwriting. Lee strongly urged the immediate seizing and securing of the Governour.

After the minutes of the preceding day were read, the President began reading the anonymous letter; but he had not proceeded far before he came to a part desiring that it might not be made known to the Congress, but, as I think, to such only as the President might think proper to trust with the contents. The President hesitated; for he had not before read the letter, and seemed desirous of running his eye over it; but, on being desired to read out, he did so.

From the enclosure above-mentioned, (as many expressions in the letter, and Mr. Purviance being the hero of the tale, which was told in the first person,) I had not the least doubt but that Purviance was the author; and Mr. Andrew Allen, who saw the letter, and is acquainted with Purviance’s handwriting, says it was his. The letter informs that the writer had impressed on General Lee, on his way to Virginia, an idea that the Council of Safety was timorous and inactive, and represents the Council of Safety, and Convention too, as being afraid to execute the duties of their stations. His own and the conduct of the Convention, on an affair that you must remember, he contrasts to the disadvantage of the latter, whose inaction he imputes to want of spirit. He speaks of the orders he gave Captain Nicholson on the late alarm, and how the Council of Safety was alarmed and frightened at the spirit and boldness of them; represents himself as an object against whom the intentions of the Council of Safety are levelled, and, in proof, recites a conversation with, or saying of one of them, to the effect that he was a warm man, or a hot-headed man, whose power must be pulled down, or he would throw things into confusion.

As I heard the letter read but once, I cannot undertake to repeat expressions with exactness; but I think I have preserved the sentiments, and have not exaggerated in anything; and, on the whole, I esteem it a vile, injurious calumny, calculated, like his conversation with General Lee, to spread suspicion and distrust of the only Executive in our Province.

If I am not mistaken, the letter mentions, further, that some gentlemen were sent from Baltimore, or were, by him, proposed to be sent to Annapolis, who should engage the officer commanding the troops there to secrecy, under oath, and then endeavour to get his assistance to execute what you are requested to do by the resolution. This, I suppose, may be easily traced.

As soon as the letter was read, a motion was made to send the original, or a copy of it, to you; which was warmly supported. But it was put off till to-day, to make way for the consideration of the subject of the express; and in the mean time, all was ordered to be secret. Messrs. Stone and Alexander, who had been delayed in writing letters by the post, came into the Congress in this stage of the affair, and are, as well as myself, privy to the after transactions.

I am, gentlemen, your most obedient servant,


To the Honourable the Council of Safety of Maryland.


Philadelphia, April 17, 1776.

SIR: Your letter of the 9th of March, with the enclosure, was duly received, and laid before Congress, in whose name I beg leave to congratulate you on the success of your expedition.

Your account of the spirit and bravery shown by the men affords them the greatest satisfaction, and encourages them to expect similar exertions of courage on every future occasion. Though it is to be regretted that the Glasgow man-of-war made her escape, yet, as it was not through any misconduct, the praise due to you and the other officers is undoubtedly the same.

I have it in charge from Congress to direct that you send a complete list and state of the stores taken and brought from Providence, with the sizes, &c.; and that the cannon, and such other of the stores as are not necessary for the fleet, be landed and left at New-London.

Wishing you the greatest success and happiness, I am, sir, your most obedient and very humble servant,

JOHN HANCOCK, President.

To Commodore Hopkins, at New-London.

The following extract of a letter from Antigua, I hope, will be of service to you. With that view I send it.

“Antigua, March 26, 1776.

“The third division of transports will leave Antigua in a few days—it is said for New-York, under convoy of an old East-India ship, mounting sixteen guns. There will be six in number.”


To His Excellency GEORGE WASHINGTON, Esq., Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Forces in AMERICA.

The Memorial of Col. JACOB FORD, Jun., humbly showeth:

That whereas, in consequence of a letter received from the Earl of Stirling, then commander of the Continental forces in this city, directed to the Committee of the County of Morris, requesting an immediate detachment of three hundred men from the Militia of that County, to assist in fortifying and defending this place against the enemies of American liberty, your Memorialist, then and as yet Colonel of the First Regiment of Militia in said County, warm in the cause of his country, and anxiously forward to do his duty as Colonel of said Regiment, did immediately despatch to this place, under the command of Major Doughty, one hundred and fifty men, being his proportion of the three hundred men demanded from said County, firmly relying on the promise made by his Lordship in the above recited

* PHILADELPHIA, April 17, 1776.—From Sussex County, on Delaware, we learn that a small schooner, the property of Mr. Nehemiah Field, of Lewestown, returning from St. Eustatia, with some stores, and having information of the Roebuck, man-of-war, being in the Road, came to anchor a few miles southward of the Light-House, and sent a messenger to Lewes, desiring assistance to discharge the cargo. A company of Continental Troops, of the Delaware Battalion, stationed at Lewes, were immediately ordered to march to the assistance of the schooner. In the mean time, the schooner, perceiving the man-of-war’s tender bearing down upon her, endeavoured to get into Indian River; but not effecting it, she ran ashore near to Mr. Henry Fisher’s pilot-boat, (which some time since had been run ashore by the Third Lieutenant of the man-of-war and three hands, who were all taken prisoners.) The company having arrived, got behind the vessels on shore, and waited for the tender; which, when within two hundred yards distance, fired a broadside. A hot fire from both sides ensued, which lasted near two hours; and the tender was finally obliged to sheer off, without having effected her purpose; but, on the contrary, with the loss of several men, as many were seen to fall. The cargo was safely landed from the schooner, and secured, without the loss of a man, either killed or wounded. The Militia officers at Lewes behaved with that courage and magnanimity which does honour to their country.


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