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in form, I should not just then have obtained it, though it had been agreed before that, so soon as there was a full Council, I might go where I pleased. My health required a jaunt, and I found considerable relief whilst on my journey; but my giddiness has again returned, and I must set out for Maryland as soon as I possibly can.
I have, I think, almost brought R. H. L. to shame. He has the impudence and assurance of the devil. He at first justified Purviance, and denied that General Lee had directed the Governour to be seized; and brought his brother Frank to pledge his honour that the fact was not so. I concealed from them that I had a copy of the Generals letter in my pocket, nor do they yet know I have it. I shall this day show it to some gentlemen that were present when they roundly asserted and assured me that I had been misinformed. Colonel Harrison has written to his friends in the Committee of Safety of Virginia, that they must apologize to our Council for the insult. We are highly applauded, in this city, for our spirited conduct in the late conspiracy, for such I must term it.
Adieu. My best respects to my brethren, whom I hope to see on Sunday in Annapolis.
Yours, sincerely and affectionately,
DANIEL OF ST. THOMAS JENIFER.
To the Honourable the Council of Safety of Maryland.
P. S. I have written in the greatest hurry.
GENERAL WASHINGTON TO THE NEW-YORK COMMITTEE OF SAFETY.
New-York, April 30, 1776.
GENTLEMEN: I perceive by the tenour of your favour of yesterday, that my letter of the 25th has given umbrage, which I am sorry for, as it was not most distantly in my ideas to give any.
Three things led me to suspect that the New-York Battalions were not upon the same establishment of the other Continental troops: current report, an implied exception in the order for detaching six more battalions to Canada, and that part of your letter signifying that four of these battalions were to be raised under your immediate direction; which intimation, coining in corroboration of the two first reasons, (for I never had any information of this matter from Congress,) led me to believe that you intended it as a genteel hint that I was not to consider them in the same light I did the others. It was not to be wondered at, therefore, that I should wish to know the extent of my authority over them, that my conduct might be regulated thereby; or, that 1 should be so solicitous in arming regiments raised for local purposes as those for the general service, when the latter are also greatly deficient in this essential point. These were the ideas that filled my mind at the time of writing. If the extreme hurry, occasioned by a variety of business which is continually pressing upon me, clouded the meaning I wished to convey, I can only add that it never was, and I hope never will be, my intention to give unprovoked offence. Of this your Committee may be once for all assured, that it is my earnest wish to co-operate with them in every measure which can conduce to the general good; and that if 1 should at any time differ with them in the means, I shall feel my share of the concern; being, with respect, gentlemen, your most obedient, humble servant,
To the Committee of Safety at New-York.
GENERAL WASHINGTON TO PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
[Read May 2, 1776, and referred to the Committee on the Eastern Department.]
New-York, April 30, 1776.
SIR: I mean through you, sir, to do myself the honour of laying before Congress a copy of an address transmitted them some time ago by the Assembly of Rhode-Island, which Governour Cooke favoured me with in the month of January, at the same time requesting me to interest myself in procuring a body of forces on the Continental establishment for the defence of that Colony. I doubt not but the address, and subject of it, have had the attention and consideration of Congress before now; but if they have not decided upon the matter, I would beg leave to mention that I have made inquiry into the situation and condition of the Colony, and find it to be as stated in the address; and with all deference to the opinion of Congress, conceive it highly necessary and expedient that they should adopt some measures for relieving their distress, and granting the aid prayed for. The importance of it in the chain of union; its extensive sea-coast, affording harbours for our shipping and vessels, at the same time exposing and subjecting the inhabitants to the ravages and depredations of our enemies; the zeal and attachment which it has shown, and which still actuates it toward the common cause; their incapacity to pay a sufficient number of men for its defence, should they be able to furnish them after so many engaged in other services; these, and many other reasons which are too obvious to mention, plead powerfully for the notice and attention of Congress, and seem to me to claim their support.
Having thus stated the matter to Congress for their consideration, agreeable to my promise to Governour Cooke when I had the honour of seeing him in my way here, I shall leave it with them, not doubting but they will duly weigh its importance, and give such assistance as they may think reasonable and just. What they chiefly wish for is, that the troops they have raised may be taken into Continental pay, and commanding officers be appointed by Congress.
I have the honour to be, with much regard, sir, your most humble servant,
To the Honourable John Hancock, Esq., President of Congress.
Providence, January 15, 1776.
We, the General Assembly of the English Colony of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, beg leave to represent to you the state and condition of said Colony, and to request such assistance as our situation and the welfare of the United Colonies shall appear to require.
Soon after the conclusion of the late glorious war, in the successes of which the Colonies had so considerable a share, we were alarmed with divers acts of the British Parliament, strongly indicating a design to divest the Colonies of those rights which are essential to the freedom of a People, and which they had enjoyed, with but few innovations, from their first settlement. The Act passed in 1765 for levying stamp duties in America, and many subsequent Acts, manifested that design so clearly as to leave no room for a doubt. This Colony, ever tenacious of its liberties, zealously took a part in all the common measures entered into for the common safety.
When at length the Ministerial troops, by the attacks at Lexington and Concord, had reduced us to the necessity of immediately taking up arms, or submitting to a slavery which, at the distance we are placed from the seat of the power to be exercised over us, must be the most absolute and terrible that we can form an idea of, this Colony, notwithstanding its exposed situation, did not hesitate; it did not wait for the example of more powerful Colonies; but, conforming itself to the spirit of the resolutions of the honourable the Continental Congress for 1774, ordered a body of men to be raised and marched to the encampment near Boston.
Unfortunately for the inhabitants, this Colony is scarcely anything but a line of sea-coast. From Providence to Point Judith, and from thence to Pawcatuck River, is near eighty miles. On the east side of the bay, from Providence to Seconet Point, and including the east side; of Seconet until it meets the Massachusetts line, is about fifty miles; besides which are the navigable rivers of Pawcatuck and Warren. On the west side of the bay the Colony doth not extend twenty miles, and on the east side not more than eight miles from the sea-coast above described. In the Colony are also included the following Islands: Rhode-Island, about sixteen miles in length; Conanicut, nine; Block-Island, nine; Prudence, seven; and the smaller Islands Patience, Hope, Gold-Island, and several others; all which are cultivated and fertile, and contributed largely to the publick expenses. The greater part of the above-mentioned shores are accessible to ships-of-war.
By an exact estimate, taken in the year 1774, the whole number of inhabitants in the Colony amounted to fifty-nine thousand six hundred and seventy-eight. The town of Newport contained nine thousand two hundred and nine, was the principal place of trade, and paid above one-sixth part of the