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John Laboyreaux, Captain; John Fish, First lieutenant; William Adams, Second Lieutenant; John Thomson, EnsignGrenadiers.
Rev. Joseph Treat, Chaplain; John Sanford, Adjutant; Aaron Gilbert, Quartermaster.
June 6, 1776.I have received the above gentlemens commissions, being fifteen in number, as also commissions for Colonel Stoutenburgh and myself.
COMMISSIONERS IN CANADA TO PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
[Read May 18, 1776.]
Montreal, May 8, 1776.
SIR: With this you will receive copies of our two preceding letters. We find ourselves obliged to report the necessity of sending immediately the supply of hard money therein mentioned. We have tried in vain to borrow some here for the immediate occasion of the Army, either on the publick or on our own private credit. We cannot even sell sterling bills of exchange, which some of us have offered to draw. It seems it had been expected and given out by our friends, that we should bring money with us. The disappointment has discouraged everybody, and established an opinion that none is to be had, or that the Congress has not credit enough in their own Colonies to procure it. Many of our friends are drained dry; others say they are so, fearing, perhaps, we shall never be able to reimburse them. They show us long accounts, no part of which we are able to discharge, of the supplies they have furnished to our Army, and declare that they have borrowed and taken up on credit so long for our service, that they can now be trusted no longer, even for what they want themselves. The Tories will not trust us a farthing, and some who, perhaps, wish us well, conceiving that we shall, through our own poverty, or from superior force, be soon obliged to abandon the coun- try, are afraid to have any dealings with us, lest they should hereafter be called to account for abetting our cause. Our enemies take the advantage of this distress, to make us look contemptible in the eyes of the Canadians, who have been provoked by the violences of our military, in exacting provisions and services from them without paya conduct towards a people who suffered us to enter their country as friends, that the most urgent necessity can scarce excuse, since it has contributed much to the changing their good dispositions towards us into enmity, and makes them wish our departure; and, accordingly, we have daily intimations of plots hatching and insurrections intended, for expelling us on the first news of the arrival of the British Army. You will see from hence that your Commissioners themselves are in a critical and most irksome situation, pestered hourly with demands, great and small, that they cannot answer, in a place where our cause has a majority of enemies, the garrison weak, and a greater would, without money, increase our difficulties. In short, if money cannot be had to support your Army here with honour, so as to be respected, instead of being hated by the people, we report it as our firm and unanimous opinion, that it is better immediately to withdraw it. The fact before your eyes, that the powerful British nation cannot keep an army in a country where the inhabitants are become enemies, must convince you of the necessity of enabling us immediately to make this people our friends. Exclusive of a sum of money to discharge the debts already contracted, which General Arnold informs us amounts to fourteen thousand pounds, besides the account laid before Congress by Mr. Price, a further sum of hard money, not less than six thousand pounds, will be necessary to re-establish our credit in this Colony. With this supply, and a little success, it may be possible to regain the affections of the people, to attach them firmly to our cause, and induce them to accept a free Government, per- haps to enter into the Union; in which case the currency of our paper money will, we think, follow as a certain consequence.
With great respect to yourself, and the Congress, we have the honour to be, sir, your; most obedient servants,
To the Honourable John Hancock.
CHARLES MILLER TO JOSEPH TRUMBULL.
[Read May 23, 1776, and referred to Mr. Whipple, Mr. Gerry, and Mr. F. Lee.]
Boston, May 8, 1776.
DEAR SIR: Your favour of the 29th ultimo was duly received, and observe the contents. It gives me pleasure to find that my appointment to this office is agreeable to you. You may depend on my utmost endeavours to serve the cause I am employed in. There is a considerable quantity of damaged butter, fat, hard bread, raisins, barrels old pork, &c., the latter of which article I am now selling from sixty- six shillings and eight pence to seventy-two shillings per barrel. In your letter you desired I would have them properly inspected. I am at a loss to know whether you intended there should be persons appointed to inspect it, or whether it should be left to me to determine which is good or bad. I would recommend to have all that is bad sold at publick vendue, if agreeable to you, as I think they will sell for as much or more that way than at private sale. As to the liquors, I should be glad to know the cost of them, which will be a guide to me in the sale. The prize flour will be baked into hard bread, and it is very likely the ships will want a considerable quantity, which, I suppose, may be supplied by an order from Mr. Gushing. I shall acquaint Major Frazer with what you wrote respecting the essence of spruce.
There is a great demand here for pork. I suppose I can sell a considerable quantity at about eighty shillings per barrel, provided it is agreeable. You will find by the receipt given Mr. Avery, that there are considerable quantities of provisions here more than will be wanted for the Army for twelve months to comewhether it would not be best to sell such quantity as will not be wanted. By Mr. Averys order, I have supplied this Colony with a considerable quantity of pork, beef, and fish. I should be glad to know whether I am to continue supplying the same if wanted, and whether I must get the cash for it, or let it remain charged to the Colony. We are every day expecting the Fleet and Army to return here with double force; if they should, they will take more provisions than would be agreeable to me.
This Colony has not as yet done anything worth mentioning towards the protecting of this town. Three or four ships, and about three thousand men, would take it again with great ease. Yesterday a privateer schooner from Marblehead took (in plain sight from this town) and carried into Lynn, two large brigs, loaded with beef, wine, and butter.
I am, sir, your most humble servant,
To Joseph Trumbull, Esq., Commissary-General, at New-York.
P. S. There is a quantity of salt at Jamaica Plains, for which Mr. Blaney sent to me for a receipt; but not knowing the quantity there was, and having received no order to bring it into Boston, I desired him to let it remain in the care of the person in whose store it was, until I heard from you.
JEREMIAH WADSWORTH TO JOHN BROWN.
Boston, May 8, 1776.
GENTLEMEN: In the month of September last, the brigantine Polly, Giles Sage master, from Jamaica and Hispaniola, laden with rum, sugar, and cotton, whereof Matthew Talbott, Esq., of Middletown, in Connecticut, and myself, were owners, was taken by the Nautilus man-of-war, brought into this port, and here condemned by a Court of Admiralty, and sold. I now find that some part of her cargo, viz: twenty-one bags of cotton, containing two thousand three hundred and eighty-three pounds, are in the store of George Erving, Esq., and am informed that you have taken the same under your care, in behalf of this Colony, believing it to be the estate of the said George Erving, Esq., or some other persons inimical to this country. But I am able to make proof that the said cotton was actually brought in said brigantine Polly, and was the property of us, the said Talbott & Wadsworth, and we conceive it still to be our property, not believing that the unjust capture made of our estates hath in anywise changed the property. We therefore lay before you our claim, and desire you will