Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 4
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
Table of Contents for this work | | All on-line databases | Etext Center Homepage |
To GOVERNOR NICHOLAS COOKE Cambridge, January 6, 1776.
Sir: I received your favor of the 1st. Instant, and return you my thanks for the Blankets, and your promise of having more procured, as they are much wanted; I did not see Mr. Hale,
who brought them, nor the account, or the money should have been transmitted you by his return. You will be pleased to draw on the Qr. Mr. General, and it shall be immediately paid. I have seen General Lee since his expedition, and hope that Rhode Island will derive some advantage from it.
I am told that Capt. Wallace's 6 Ships have been Supplied for some time with provisions by the Town of New Port, on certain conditions stipulated between him and the Committee. When this truce first obtained, perhaps it was right; then there might have been hopes of an accommodation taking Place; But now, when every prospect of it seems to be cut off by his Majesty's late speech, when the Throne, from which we had supplicated redress, breathes forth vengeance and indignation, and a firm determination to remain unalterable in its purposes, and to prosecute the System and plan of ruin formed by the Ministry against us; should not an end be put to it, and every possible method be fallen upon, to prevent their getting necessaries of any kind? We need not expect to Conquer our Enemies by good Offices; and I know not what pernicious consequences may result, from a precedent of this Sort; other places, circumstanced as New Port is, may follow the example, and by that means, their whole Fleet and Army will be furnished, with what it highly concerns us to keep from them.
[Note:The inhabitants of Rhode Island furnished Capt. John Wallace with supplies in a similar fashion to that of New York citizens in supplying Governor Tryon and the British ships in New York Harbor. In Rhode Island, however, the matter had, for protection, taken on an aspect of a truce.
As Wallace might "cannonade, and even burn the town, a discretionary power, by a private vote, which it is designed should be kept a profound secret, is given to the commander of the forces on Rhode Island, to permit supplies, in cases of imminent danger, until the next session." (See Governor Cooke's letter to Washington,/Jan. 21, 1776, in the Washington Papers. ) ]
I received a Letter from Governor Trumbull, of the 1st. Inst., by which I am informed, that the Connecticut Assembly are very unanimous in the Common cause, and, among others,
have passed an Act for raising and equipping a fourth of their Militia, to be immediately Selected by voluntary Inlistments; with such other able effective men, as are not included in their Militia Rolls, who incline to inlist, to act as Minute Men for their own, or the defence of any of the United Colonies, and this under proper encouragements. Another Act for restraining and Punishing persons Inimical to us and directing proceedings therein. No person to supply the Ministerial Army or Navy; to give them Intelligence; to Inlist or procure others to inlist in their Service, to pilot their Vessels, or in any way assist them; under pain of forfeiting his Estate, and an Imprisonment not exceeding three years. None to write, speak or Act against the proceedings of Congress, or their Acts of Assembly, under penalty of being disarmed and disqualified from holding any office, and be further punished by Imprisonment &c. For Seizing and Confiscating, for the use of the Colony, the Estates of those putting, or continuing to shelter, themselves under the protection of the Ministerial Fleet or Army, or assist in carrying on their measures against us. A Resolve to provide 2 armed Vessels, of 16 and 14 Guns, with a Spy Schooner of 4, and four Row Galleys; an Act exempting the polls of Soldiers from taxes, for the last and ensuing Campaigns. another for encouraging the making of Salt Petre and Gunpowder. A Considerable Quantity of both Mr. Trumbull hopes to make early in the Spring, he says the furnace at Middletown is smelting Lead, and likely to turn out 20. or 30. Tons, and that ore is plenty. They have also passed an Act, impowring the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, or officers commanding a Detachment, or out Posts, to administer an oath and swear any person or persons to the truth of matters relative to the public Service. The situation of our affairs seems to call for regulations like these, and I should think the other Colonies ought to adopt similar ones, or such of them as they have not
already made; vigorous and such as at another time would appear extraordinary, are now become absolutely necessary, for preserving our Country, against the strides of Tyranny making against it.
Governor Trumbull, in his list, has not mentioned an Act for Impressing Carriages &c., agreeable to the recommendation of Congress; this I hope, they have not forgot, It is highly necessary that such an Authority should be given, under proper restrictions, or we shall be greatly Embarrassed, when ever the army, or any detachment from it, should find it necessary to march from hence. I am, etc.