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number is, I believe, sufficient. We are, as I observed before, wretchedly in want of medicines, as well as of a director to our Hospital. Doctor McClurg is a very able man, and universally esteemed qualified for the office. The pay of the Regimental Surgeons, established by Congress, is so low that it is in this part of the world (where the common country practice of surgery is singularly lucrative) impossible to find capable men who will accept; but I am in hopes that the Convention will make such additions, out of the Provincial purse, as to enable us to fill the commissions with proper and competent persons. Now I am on the subject of pay, sir, I must beg leave to urge the necessity of considerably increasing that of the Engineers. It is impossible that men qualified for this important office should be prevailed upon to serve on such miserable terms. You have no American Engineers; they must of course be foreigners; and foreigners expect, in their language, de quoi manger; that is, something which will enable them to eat and drink. Twenty dollars per month will not enable them to eat, drink, and wear linen, or, indeed, any kind of clothes; besides, it must be considered that these gentlemen are obliged, by the nature of their duty, to make more journeys than other officers; that horses must be purchased and fed; that the expenses of travelling are, in the Southern Provinces, very high. From these reasons, and many others, the pay of Engineers ought to be, as it is in all other services, greater than that of other officers. Upon the whole, sir, I really do not think that they ought, or can do with less than forty dollars per month, and rations at least for their horses. On more moderate terms, I am persuaded, you cannot procure men equal to the task. As the corps is distinct and not numerous, this necessary addition of pay will be an expense beneath the consideration of the Congress.
Colonel Richard Henry Lee informs me that it was not the intention of the Congress that Captain Inniss company should be reduced to make way for Arundels, but that they should both be established. I think, sir, it would be a useless expense. Captain Innis, who must, I am sure, be an excellent officer in any other department, professed himself ignorant in this branch. His officers were equally ignorant. Arundel has got possession of the company, and by his activity and knowledge will, I am persuaded, make them fit for service; indeed, to establish an artillery company, Captain, subalterns, and non-commissioned officers, being entirely composed of novices, can answer no end or purpose. It is my opinion, therefore, sir, that, instead of these two companies proposed, the addition of thirty or forty men to Captain Arundels, and two subaltern officers, will not only be better, but that it promises more advantage to the service. Now I am on the subject of Captain Arundel, I beg leave to remind the Congress of what I mentioned with respect to his expenses on the road. There is one circumstance, of which, sir, I could wish to be ascertained: Is the expense of the defence of these rivers, (that is, the construction of row-galleys, floating batteries, tenders, &c.,) to be brought to the account of the Continent, or of the Province? I wish to be ascertained on this head, because if it is at the expense of the latter, I shall regularly propose to the Convention, or Committee of Safety, every scheme which may be attended with expense, before it is entered upon.
If the Quartermaster-General, or his Deputies, when they despatch any teams from Philadelphia with powder, or other necessaries, were to purchase the horses throughout, for the Continental use, instead of hiring them, the saving would be considerablefor in this country the hire is intolerably dear; so great, indeed, that I have ventured to order a number of teams to be purchased.
I have just received a vague return of the forces of North-Carolina, of their powder and cannon. It does not appear that they have of effective regulars, properly armed, more than two thousand; of powder, more than two ton and a half; and as to cannon they are almost totally destitute. As the enemys advance guard, if I may so express myself, is actually arrived, I must, I cannot avoid detaching the strongest battalion we have to their assistance; but I own I tremble at the same time at the thoughts of stripping this Province of any part of its inadequate force. I am puzzled how to direct my motions, from the uncertainty of the enemys plan; but not dispirited, as I am confident that the Congress will afford me every relief in their power, and am not in the least diffident of the courage and zeal of the men and officers.
I am, sir, with the greatest respect, your most obedient, humble servant,
To the Honourable John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress.
P. S. I have as yet heard nothing of Mr. Stabler, the Engineer. I ought, in fact, to have at least half a dozen, for we have a variety of posts to throw up, and there is not a man or officer in the Army that knows the difference between a chevaux-de-frise and a cabbage garden. I wish the Congress would indulge me with Mr. Smith, whom I know to be an able and active man. Massenbaugh is a treasure. A little hurt in my hand obliges me to write by the pen of my Secretary.
General Lee presents his compliments; sends an extract of a letter just received from Major Hendricks, of Hampton, as it may be of consequence; dated 6th May, 1776:
A few days ago the Liverpool frigate, with two merchant brigs, set sail (as I have since learned) for Delaware River, in order to give the Roebuck their assistance in getting her off some flats, where she is grounded, in nine feet water, somewhere about the mouth of the Brandywine. This is told us by a Captain Ryson, who is now on shore on his parole. I must confess I do not much like these people coming on their parole so often, as I make no doubt but many of them are as fond of carrying intelligence as bringing any. Three or four days ago the sloop Nautilus, of eighteen guns, came up, and now lies in the road, in the Liverpools stationa glorious opportunity for our fleet if they were now here.
Williamsburgh, May 6, 1776.
DEAR SIR: I find that I am extremely censured not only by your Board, but by a multitude of others, for my letter to Mr. Purviance, with respect to the seizure of Mr. Edens person and papers; but I really think, when the circumstances are explained, the censure will appear unjust, and that I was neither violent, assuming, nor precipitate. When the Secretary of States letter to your Governour was put into my hands, I naturally concluded that, could we possess ourselves of all Mr. Edens papers, the whole machinations of the Ministry might be discovered; that this discovery might enable us to prevent their effects, and perhaps defeat the whole plan. The possession of these papers could not be hoped for without previously securing his person; and to accomplish this, the utmost secrecy and expedition were necessary. Now, sir, as I imagined you had no troops at Annapolis to execute the purpose, (but in this I find I was mistaken,) and as I knew there were troops in readiness at Baltimore, and as there was no Continental General or other officer in Maryland, Mr. Purviance, Chairman of the Committee on the spot where I had conceived troops alone to be stationed, occurred to me as the only person to whom I could, with propriety and effect, make application. Had I known, sir, that a regiment, or any troops, were stationed at Annapolis, I should undoubtedly, sir, have addressed myself to you as President of the Council of Safety.
It is said, sir, that Maryland was out of the district of my command; that, consequently, to intrude myself into the business and concerns of that Province, was assuming and arrogant. I really conceive, sir, that when the safety, or very being of the whole community appears at stake, the part I have acted in this affair cannot with justice be esteemed arrogance. I did not presume authoritatively to order; but as one servant of the publick, earnestly to entreat and conjure another servant, who alone appeared to me to have the means in his hands, to take a certain step of the last importance to the publick cause. I must repeat, sir, that my reason for addressing myself to Mr. Purviance, at Baltimore, proceeded entirely from my ignorance of there being any troops at Annapolis, and not (as I have been told has been thrown out) from any diffidence in your virtue and decision. I suppose the Committee of Safety here viewed it in the same light; for I read my letter to them, and it was approved of. In times like these, sir, I conceive that, when we have received sufficient evidences of any treasonable practices being carried on, and that when it appears to us that