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to be relieved; for by that time I shall have taken a pretty good trick at helm, whether the vessel has been well steered or not. But if my countrymen should insist upon my serving them another year, they must let me bring my whole family with me. Indeed, I could keep house here with my partner, four children and two servants, as cheap as I maintain myself here with two horses and a servant at lodgings.

Instead of domestick felicity, I am destined to publick contentions. Instead of rural felicity, I must reconcile myself to the smoke and noise of a city. In the place of private peace, I must be distracted with the vexation of developing the deep intrigues of politicians, and must assist in conducting the arduous operations of war, and think myself well rewarded if my private pleasure and interests are sacrificed, as they ever have been and will be, to the happiness of others.

You tell me our jurors refuse to serve, because the writs are issued in the King‘s name. I am very glad to hear that they discover so much sense and spirit. I learn from another letter that the General Court have left out of their bills the year of his reign, and that they are making a law that the same name shall be left out of all writs, commissions, and all law processes. This is good news too. The same will be the case in all the Colonies very soon.

You ask me how I have done the winter past. I have not enjoyed so good health as last fall. But I have done complaining of anything. Of ill health I have no right to complain, because it is given me by Heaven. Of meanness, of envy, of littleness, of ———, of ———, of ———, I have reason and right to complain; but I have too much contempt to use that right. There is such a mixture of folly, littleness, and knavery in this world, that I am weary of it; and although I behold it with unutterable contempt and indignation, yet the publick good requires that I should take no notice of it by word or by letter. And to this publick good I will conform.

You will see an account of the fleet in some of the papers I have sent you. I give you joy of the Admiral’s success. I have vanity enough to take to myself a share in the merit of the American Navy. It was always a measure that my heart was much engaged in, and I pursued it for a long time against the wind and tide, but at last obtained it.

You take it for granted that I have particular intelligence of everything from others, but I have not. If any one wants a vote for a commission, he vouchsafes me a letter, but tells me very little news. I have more particulars from you than any one else. Pray keep me constantly informed what ships are in the harbour, and what fortifications are going on. I am quite impatient to hear of more vigorous measures for fortifying Boston harbour—not a moment should be neglected. Every man ought to go down, as they did after the battle of Lexington, and work until it is done. I would willingly pay half a dozen hands myself, and subsist them, rather than it should not be done immediately. It is of more importance than to raise corn.

If the small-pox spreads, run me in debt. I received, a post or two past, a letter from your uncle at Salem, containing a most friendly and obliging invitation to you and yours, to go and have the distemper at his house, if it should spread. He has one or two in his family to have it.

The writer of Common Sense and the Forester is the same person. His name is Paine, a gentlemen about two years ago from England, a man who, General Lee says, has genius in his eyes. The writer of Cassandra is said to be Mr. James Cannon, a tutor in the Philadelphia College. Cato is reported here to be Doctor Smith, a match for Brattle. The oration was an insolent performance. A motion was made to thank the orator, and to ask a copy; but opposed with great spirit and vivacity from every part of the room, and at last withdrawn, lest it should be rejected, as it certainly would have been, with indignation. The orator then printed it himself, after leaving out or altering some offensive passages. This is one of the many irregular and extravagant characters of the age. I never heard one single person speak well of anything about him, but his abilities, which are generally allowed to be good. The appointment of him to make the oration was a great oversight and mistake.

The last Act of Parliament has made so deep an impression upon people‘s minds throughout the Colonies, it is looked upon as the last stretch of oppression, and that we are hastening rapidly to great events. Governments will be up everywhere before midsummer, and an end to Royal style, titles, and authority. Such mighty revolutions make a deep impression on the minds of men, and set many violent passions at work. Hope, fear, joy, sorrow, love, hatred, malice, envy, revenge, jealousy, ambition, avarice, resentment, gratitude, and every other passion, feeling, sentiment, principle, and imagination, were never in more lively exercise than they are now, from Florida to Canada inclusively. May God in His providence overrule the whole for the good of mankind. It requires more serenity of temper, a deeper understanding, and more courage than fell to the lot of Marlborough, to ride in this whirlwind.


Elizabethtown, April 28, 1776.

HONOURED SIR: Having this day, in obedience to order from the General, begun my march for Canada, I have nominated the Reverend James Caldwell for Chaplain; and who, I suppose, must supply the other Jersey Battalion, as there is no other appointed, if he is to serve no more than the battalions. It is the request of Colonel Ogden, who is present, and, I make no doubt, of Colonel Hines likewise, that their battalion may be joined with mine—that is, the First and the Third. Mr. C aldwell cannot get ready to march sooner than next week, and desires that his commission may be sent to him at this place as soon as possible. If the Committee of Safety for this Province had been sitting, perhaps it would have been proper to have saved you this trouble by applying to them; but they are adjourned, and the members say they have not any directions for the appointment of Chaplains.

I am, sir, with all due respect to you, and the other honourable members, your most obedient and humble servant,


To the Honourable John Hancock, Esq., President of the Continental Congress, Philadelphia.


New-York, April 28, 1776, Evening.

SIR: I have the honour of yours of the 26th instant, enclosing a resolve of Congress directing me to purchase and forward to General Schuyler two thousand barrels of pork for the supply of the Army going into Canada. On my arrival in this city I was informed that General Lee had ordered four thousand barrels for the same service, which quantity, since that time, I found was not purchased, but was delayed for want of further orders, as General Lee had left the command here. I conceived that quantity would be wanted in that department; therefore, as want must be guarded against, and pay for the pork seemed a difficulty in procuring it, I immediately engaged to furnish it on the delivery in this place. This I informed General Washington of on his arrival, and he was pleased to approve my engagement. Since that, I find six regiments more are ordered by Congress into Canada; and though you do not mention the two thousand barrels now ordered to be in addition to the four thousand barrels, yet I shall order it in that manner, unless I am directed to the contrary by yours on the return of the post. I am sure the whole quantity of six thousand barrels will be wanted for the forces going into Canada before supplies of the growth of the coming season can be had; however, if Congress should direct otherwise, I shall be glad to receive their orders, which shall always be punctually observed on all occasions by me while I have the honour to serve them.

I received a letter last evening from our mutual good friend, Mr. Burr, announcing the death of the venerable and amiable Madam Hancock, last Thursday morning. I most devoutly condole with you on the melancholy occasion of the death of one of the best of women, and one most deservedly and peculiarly dear to you and your good lady.

I am, sir, your most obedient, humble servant,


To the Honourable John Hancock, Esq.


New-York, April 28, 1776.

SIR: It gives me much concern to hear from every one who comes from Boston that those works that were laid out

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