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agreeable to the Return received and read March 27th ultimo.
A Letter from Henry Wisner, Esq., dated Goshen, 28th March, 1776, was read and filed.
Goshen, March 28, 1776.
DEAR SIR: Some days ago my son received a letter from you, desiring him to inform you what quantity of powder we had then made, what quantity we could make per week, and what quantity of materials we had by us. But as we had at that time but just begun, he could only have given a partial answer; and, therefore, omitted giving an answer till we had made further trial, and to which I now have to inform you that we had made before the 12th of this instant, only two hundred weight; the first week after that time we made eight hundred weight; the second week we made eleven hundred weight; and I believe this week we shall make out twelve hundred; so that I believe by Saturday night we shall have some better than three thousand weight. We have tried the quality of it by shooting with a gun. Several of our gunners have tried it, and all say it is of the best quality. As to materials, we have saltpetre enough to work about two weeks only; we have had a promise of ten tons, to be sent from Philadelphia, which was sent as far as Bordentown several months ago, and was to have been sent forward to our works. I wrote twice to the Congress about it, though the last letter they cannot have received. I hope they will soon send it. As to sulphur, I cannot say what quantity we have; part of it is at New-Windsor. I wish more of it might be had; believe we have not got much.
I have made application to the Committee of our County for liberty to build a Mill in our County, on the encouragement given by your honourable Board. I believe I shall succeed; if so, I make no doubt but will build one to make a ton a week, and more if necessary. I shall be glad of your assistance in procuring materials. I wish you would direct what we shall do with the powder as fast as it is fit for being sent off.
As powder is an article that will take a considerable time to dry, especially at this time of year, so that we shall have in the drying-house at least two thousand weight all the time, in that case, query, whether there will not be danger of some Tory setting fire to it in the night, by firing the house? If so, query, whether it would not be right to keep a guard? As the powder all belongs to the publick, query, whether the expense ought not to be borne by the publick? I should be glad of an answer by the first opportunity.
I am, with the greatest regard and esteem, your assured friend and humble servant,
To the President of the Provincial Congress, or Chairman of the Committee of Safety at New-York.
P. S. If you should think proper to order a guard, I believe four men would be sufficient for the purpose. I hope you will excuse this scrawl; I should have copied, but have only three half-sheets more of paper, and do not know where to get the next.
A draft of an Answer to the Letter of Henry Wisner, Esquire, was read and approved.
Ordered, The same be engrossed, and transmitted.
In Committee of Safety, New-York, April 1, 1776.
SIR: Yours of 28th ultimo, in answer to a letter wrote to your son by the Provincial Congress, is come to hand. It gives the Committee of Safety great pleasure that you have so fair a prospect of manufacturing the article of gunpowder, and doubt not but you will meet with every encouragement which, with the approbation of your country, must be very pleasing.
We think that, as fast as your powder is cured, it be put up properly and conveyed to Fort Constitution, where it will be safe, you taking a receipt from the Commissioners at that fort for the different parcels you deliver them. In answer to that part of your letter relating to a guard, if it be necessary, your application must be made to the Commander of the Continental forces for that purpose, as you observe the powder is the property of the Continent.
We are, &c. By order.
Henry Wisner, Esq.
The Committee of Safety being informed that Commissaries are appointed for all the Continental Troops ordered to this City, who are fully supplied with, and have provided large quantities of Provisions, and that Mr. Abraham Livingston, the Contractor, has also laid up considerable quantities of Provisions, are of opinion that a large magazine in Westchester will not be absolutely necessary,
Therefore, Ordered, That Colonel Gilbert Drake, and the other Members of Westchester County, do not purchase any more Provisions until further order; and that they return with all convenient speed to this Committee an account of all the Provisions they have purchased, and in what stores they are placed.
A Letter from Brigadier-General Heath was received and read.
He therein mentions that a Sloop is arrived from Albany, with a number of women and children and baggage, taken at St. Johns, and sent here by General Schuyler, in their way to New-Brunswick; that the Captain was fearful of going to Brunswick lest his vessel might be detained by the Ships-of-War in his return; and he requests the Committee to take the management of obtaining a pass from Captain Vandeput for the Sloop to go to Brunswick and return, which, he doubts not, will be readily granted, as it will obtain every convenience for the Prisoners.
Ordered, That a Member wait on the General and inform him that there are Boats here from Brunswick, who will readily receive the Prisoners and Baggage, and carry them to Brunswick; and that he request the General to order the Prisoners and Baggage to be sent by those Boats.
Die Lunæ, 4to ho. P. M., April 1, 1776.
The Committee met pursuant to adjournment.
Present: William Paulding, Esq., Chairman pro tem.
FOR NEW-YORK.Mr. Sands, Major Stoutenburgh.
FOR SUFFOLK.Mr. Tredwell.
FOR ORANGE.Mr. Cuyper.
FOR DUTCHESS.Mr. Everson.
FOR WESTCHESTER.Mr. Paulding.
FOR RICHMOND.Mr. Adrian Bancker.
FOR TRYON.Mr. Moore.
Abner Briggs attending, produced a Certificate, which, being read, is in the words following, to wit:
Barnstable, March 5, 1776.
These may certify that the Sloop Defiance, Abner Briggs Master, is bound to New-York or Connecticut, in order to purchase fifty barrels of Pork, fifty barrels of Beef, thirty firkins of Hogs Lard, ten firkins of Butter, five hundred bushels of Corn or Rye, fifty bushels of Beans, four hundred weight of Cheese; all which is wanted for the internal consumption of the inhabitants of Nantucket; and the said Briggs is permitted to import said articles for the internal use of the inhabitants of said Island.
Thereupon, Ordered, That Abner Briggs be permitted to purchase the articles mentioned in the within Certificate, and export the same to Barnstable, for the purpose mentioned in the said Certificate.
Simeon Deane attended with a copy of an Agreement,* dated the 11th January last, between Samuel Ward, Benjamin Franklin, and others, a Committee of Secrecy of the Continental Congress, and Silas Deane and Barnabas Deane, of the Colony of Connecticut; authorizing them to ship the produce of the United Colonies to proper Ports in the foreign West-Indies, and in Europe, to the amount of thirty thousand Dollars, with an appointment thereon, dated the 21st January, to Simeon Deane, to carry the said Contract into execution. Simeon Deane informed the Committee that he has had separate permits from Mr. Ray, and other gentlemen of this City, as a sub-Committee of the General Committee of the City; but that the whole exports,
*Permission is desired for two hundred and thirty barrels of Flour, to be shipped from this port for Connecticut River, on board Sloop, John Riley, Master, for account of the honourable Continental Congress, per order of Silas and Barnabas Deane, as per agreement to be now shown, which is not completed. Of this Simeon Deane can testify, and show his power of attorney from said Contract. The above flour consigned to Barnabas Deane.
New-York, April 1, 1776.