Dear Brother: Your favour of the 12th. Ulto. came safe to hand a few days ago; by it I gladly learnt that your Family
[Note:Hannah Bushrod, wife of John Augustine Washington. ]
[Note:An account of the convention is given in a letter from George Mason to Washington, Oct. 14, 1775. Mason's letter is in the Washington Papers. ]
The Enemy by their not coming out, are, I suppose, afraid of us; whilst their Situation renders any attempts of ours upon them in a manner Impracticable. 40 Nothing new has happend
[Note:On October 18 the officers were convened a second time to hold a council respecting an attack on Boston. There was a unanimous voice against it, but there is no record of what was Washington's opinion. The question of attacking Boston had come before the committee of conference, the subject being thus stated by Washington: "The council of war, having. in consequence of an intimation from Congress, deliberated on the expediency of an attack upon the troops in the town of Boston, and determined that at present it was not practicable; the General wishes to know how far it may be deemed proper and advisable to avail himself of the season to destroy the troops who propose to winter in Boston, by bombardment (when the harbor is blocked up), or in other words, whether the loss of the town, and the property therein, are so to be considered, as that an attack upon the troops there should be avoided, when it evidently appears that the town must, of consequence, be destroyed?" The committee thought this too important to be determined by them. They, therefore, referred it to Congress, where it hung fire for a long time.
"I mean not to anticipate your determination, but only to approve your design to hover like an eagle over your prey, always ready to pounce upon it when the proper time comes. I have not forgot your proposition relative to that city; I try to pave the way for it, and wait for the season, as you do.: -- Lynch to Washington, Nov. 13, 1775.
It was not until December 22 that a resolution was reached, which appears in the printed journals, although marked "secret" in the manuscript journals. "That if General Washington and his council of war should be of opinion, that a successful attack may be made on the troops in Boston, he do it in any manner he may think expedient, notwithstanding the town and property in it may be destroyed." In communicating this resolve, President Hancock wrote: "You will notice the resolution relative to an attack upon Boston. This passed after a most serious debate in a committee of the whole house, and the execution was referred to you. May God crown your attempt with success. I most heartily wish it, though individually I may be the greatest sufferer." (President Hancock possessed a valuable property in Boston.)
It is a little remarkable that each party had conclusive reasons for avoiding to attack the other. "It is inadvisable," said General Gage in a letter to Lord Dartmouth (August 20), "to attempt penetrating the country from Boston. The enemy's forces are numerous, and such an attempt must be made under very great disadvantages; and even if successful. little would be gained by it, as neither horses, carriages, nor other means for moving forward could be procured. Our force is too small to be divided into detachments for this purpose, and success would answer no other end than to drive the rebels out of one strong-hold into another." General Howe used the same arguments on October 9 -- Ford. ]
I am obliged to you for your advice to My Wife, and for your Intention of visiting of her; seeing no great prospect of returning to my Family and Friends this Winter I have sent an Invitation to Mrs. Washington to come to me, altho' I fear the Season is too far advanced (especially if she should, when my Letters get home, be in New Kent, as I believe the case will be) to admit this with any tolerable degree of convenience. I have laid a state of the difficulties, however which must attend the journey before her and left it to her own choice. My Love to my Sister and the little ones are sincerely tenderd and I am with true regard Yr. Most Affecte. Brother.