Sir: I received your favor of the 11th Instant by Saturday night's post, and must beg pardon for not acknowledging it in my last of the 24th. The hurry I was then in, occasioned the neglect and I hope will appologize for it.
I now beg leave to inform you, that I just received Intelligence that the whole of the Ministerial Fleet, except three or four Ships, got under way this Evening at Nantasket Road and were standing out for Sea.
In consequence of which I shall immediately detach a Brigade of Six Regiments from hence for New York, under the Command of Brigadier General Sullivan (Brigadier General Heath having gone with the first); which will be succeeded by another in a day or two, and directly after I shall forward the remainder of the Army, except four or five Regiments, which will be left for taking care of the Barracks and Public Stores, and Fortifying the Town and erecting such Works for its defence, as the Honorable General Court may think necessary, and follow myself.
Apprehending that General Thomas will stand in much need of some Artillerists in Canada, I have Ordered two Companies of the Train to March immediately, and Two Mortars with some Shells and Short to be sent him.
Inclosed you have a Copy of the return of Ordinance Stores left in Boston by the Enemy. In it are not included the Cannon left at the Castle, amounting to 135 pieces as reported, all of which except a very few they have destroyed and rendered useless by breaking of the Trunnions and spiking up.
I beg leave to transmit you the Copy of a Petition from the Inhabitants of Nova Scotia, brought me by Jonathan Eddy Esquire mentioned therein, who is now here with an Accadian. 71 From this it appears, they are in a distressed situation, and from Mr. Eddy's account, are exceedingly apprehensive that they will be reduced to the disagreeable alternative of taking up Arms and Joining our Enemies, or to flee their Country, unless they can be protected against their Insults and Oppressions -- he says that their Committees think many salutary and valuable consequences would be derived from five or 600 Men being sent there, as it would not only quiet
[Note:The petitioners begged to be informed if Congress could be relied on to lend them aid in a struggle against the Government. A copy of the petition, dated Feb. 8, 1776, is in the Papers of the Continental Congress. ]
How far these good purposes would be answered, if such a force was sent, as they ask for, is impossible to determine, in the present uncertain State of things.
For if the Army from Boston is going to Halifax, as reported by them before their departure, that or a much more considerable force would be of no avail. If not and they possess the friendly disposition to our Cause, suggested in the Petition and declared by Mr. Eddy; It might be of great service, unless another body of Troops should be sent there by Administration too powerful for them to oppose. It being a matter of some Importance, I Judged It prudent to lay it before Congress, for their consideration, and requesting their directions upon the Subject, shall only If they determine to adopt it desire that they will prescribe the Number to be sent and Whether It is to be from the Regiments which will be left here I shall wait their decision and whatever it is, will endeavour to have it carried into execution. I have the Honor etc. 72
[Note:In the writing of Robert Hanson Harrison. ]