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the United Colonies) into Continental pay; and to establish a force here for the defence of the Colony.

I am, with great truth and esteem, sir, your Excellency’s most obedient and most humble servant,


To His Excellency General Washington.


Cambridge, April 23, 1776.

GENTLEMEN: I have been thrice over to Boston on purpose to have the honour of a conference with you; but not knowing of your engagements out of Boston, had not the pleasure of suiting my time to your convenience. It was not till last night that I received the list of articles found in the stores of Dr. Sylvester Gardner, which you have given orders to the Sheriff to take possession of, and secure till he should receive the order of the General Court to the contrary. As this instruction of yours does, in my opinion, interfere with General Washington’s orders to me, and the resolve of the General Court on that head, I should have been happy to have had a conference with you, as it would give me the greatest concern to give you offence, by exceeding the intent of my commission, which I am confident I have not done, nor did I mean to do. Not having the satisfaction to meet you, and having business at Portsmouth that will detain me from Boston for a week to come, I think it my duty to state my claims to such articles contained in your list as I think will be of use to the General Hospital, which I shall submit with all deference to your consideration. If you approve thereof, I shall direct Mr. Cutting to proceed in getting them packed up and sent forward; and I flatter myself the good of the Army, the welfare and service of which I am sure you have at heart, will gain your acquiescence, when you maturely consider every circumstance with attention. I shall say nothing in respect to such articles as are enumerated in your list, that are already sent forward, further than that some of them are as essentially necessary to the General Hospital, and as much intended by General Washington to be appropriated to the use of the General Hospital, and fitting out all regiments in the Army with complete medicine chests, as any drugs or medicine found in the shop; and if some few others were sent, that might as well have been left behind for your use, I am sorry not to have had notice of those particulars in time to have given orders for their being left: but the attention that was necessary to take care of the extensive concerns of the sick, and of the Hospital stores at Cambridge and Roxbury, prevented my being as much at Boston as I could have wished, and of course I am obliged to leave the general management of the concerns of the Hospital in Boston to gentlemen under my direction, who, I believe, acted to the best of their judgment.

Passing these matters over, I proceed to point out the articles in your list which I have ordered to be left behind, and to mark the particulars included in it which I hope you will consent to my ordering to be sent along with the medicines and other parts of the shop furniture not included in your list. In the first place, then, I have ordered, and shall repeat the same, that all the following articles, if not sent away already, be wholly left behind, viz: the verdigris, three hogsheads of allum, four hogsheads of copperas, two hogs-heads of brimstone, cork bungs, one hogshead of red wood, one hogshead of madder, read lead, white lead, logwood, a large bell-metal mortar, iron mortar, pestles, shut-corks, skillets, wire sieves, iron ring-pans, frevets for ring-pans.

The other articles coming within the General’s intention as being necessary for the use of the General Hospital, and for fitting out complete Regimental chests, might all with great propriety be claimed for the use of the General Hospital, being such articles as I must purchase if I cannot get them here; but as you may wish for them for the good of the town, (which I sincerely join with you in regarding.) as well as I wish for them for the Continental Army, (which you must regard,) I propose to divide as follows, viz: to take one bag of allspice, equally necessary with any medicine for the use of the sick, and to leave the remaining ten bags; to share the bottle-corks, retorts and receivers, vials and galley-pots, bolt-heads, bottles in wicker-baskets, and to take such bottles as were designed for medicines only, leaving all others. The small mortars fit for Regimental chests, twine, and ointment, already sent, were wanted, as well as the flat-irons, and a few large mortars for the General Hospital.

In proposing this division, I endeavour to consult the interest of the town of Boston and country, as much as of the Army. If you can propose anything more equitable, or more reasonable, I shall cheerfully acquiesce; for I would on no occasion wish to execute my orders in any manner detrimental to the good of this country, the interest of which I would willingly promote to the extent of my power. On the other hand, my immediate duty and the General’s orders, (which I am bound to obey,) will not permit me to deprive the Army or General Hospital of whatever is essential to the service of the former, or the good of the latter. I will take upon me to answer for it, although the orders of the General mention no more than drugs and medicines, that his intention was to include all those particulars belonging to a General Hospital, not less necessary than medicine itself, as vials, galley-pots, corks, and other shop furniture equally wanted, and that he never once allowed himself to think that the Committee of Boston would have thought of putting any narrow constructions on his orders. If we cannot agree on these constructions, and the resolves of the General Court founded on the same, I shall either wait here for the General’s further orders, or submit to such constructions as the General Assembly are pleased to put upon them. In the mean time, I remain, with fervent wishes for the prosperity of the town of Boston, gentlemen, your most obedient humble servant,


To the Committee of the General Court.


Newburyporl, April 23, 1776.

HONOURED SIR: I hope, sir, you will pardon the freedom of my troubling you with this letter; but being appointed, with Captain Edward Sawyer, by the honourable General Court, to the important trust of inspecting and receiving saltpetre, the reason of my now addressing you is, to request the favour of you to inform the honourable Court that we have purchased, on account of the Colony, two thousand eight hundred and forty-seven and a half pounds, and paid for the same. And as many people have called upon us to receive large quantities, and more expected, to the amount of four thousand pounds weight, we are not able to receive for want of money. We request the favour of the honourable Court to grant a sum to enable us to fulfil the trust reposed in us.

Your communicating this will much oblige (by order and in absence of Colonel Sawyer) your humble servant,


To the Honourable Benjamin Greenleaf, Esq., at present at Watertown.

P. S. If the money should be granted, request the favour of your forwarding it.


The Freeholders of James City being desirous of expressing their sentiments on the important subject of Independency, a majority residing in the County assembled at Allen’s Ordinary, the 24th of April, 1776, for that purpose, and agreed to the following Instructions:


“GENTLEMEN: In vain do we congratulate ourselves upon the impotency of the Minister to divide us, if our union amounts to nothing more than an union in one common lethargy. War hath been brought into our houses, heightened by terrours and cruelties, which the justest cause wants even palliatives for; but faint advances towards peace, insidiously urged, have caught the ear of the credulous, and groundless hopes of accommodation deluded the timid, so that the true military system remains untouched in the most, essential points. As if our inexperience, poverty in warlike stores, and the infancy of our Navy, were of trifling moment, we have ventured to neglect resources, in such difficulties, which Heaven hath placed within our attainment.

“Alliances may be formed at an easy price, capable of supplying these disadvantages, but an independent State disdains to humble herself to an equality in treaty with


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