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we had ransacked the seaports and obtained all that was not wanted for their immediate support, and had stopped two cargoes of flour owned in Boston, it was found that all the pork and grain in the government would not more than supply the inhabitants and the army until the new crops came in, and that there was no way left, unassisted as we were by the continent or any other colony, for we never had a barrel of continental flour to supply the army, but to write a circular letter to every town in the counties of Worcester, Hampshire and Berkshire, desiring them in the most pressing terms to send in provisions, and engaging that the inhabitants should be allowed the customary price in their respective towns, and the teamsters the usual rate for carting. But for this measure the forces of this colony and New Hampshire must have dispersed.
My attention is directed to the fitting out of privateers, which I hope will make them swarm here. Is it not time to encourage individuals to exert themselves this way ? General Gage before the commencement of hostilities destroyed or confiscated the provisions then collecting for the army, and can we hesitate at this time about the propriety of confiscating vessels employed by him to infest the coasts, or supply his troops, or can we doubt the propriety of encouraging individuals by giving them the advantage resulting from their reprisals, when it is certain that other plans will not meet with such success as will probably attend this?
If the continent should fit out a heavy ship or two, and increase them as circumstances shall admit, the colonies large privateers, and individuals small ones, surely we may soon expect to see the coast clear of cutters. The salt-petre discoveries are lately very great. Attention is paid here to the manufacture, and it is hoped that ere long the manufactory of powder will be equally promoted. When I say attention I mean the attention of individuals; it is not yet generally practised through the government. Dr. Whiting is ordered to set up a leech here, that the members of the court seeing the process as by him reported may be able to direct works in the recess of the court in their respective towns.
The manufacture of fire-arms is not less an object of regard. A committee of both houses is upon the militia bills, and great attention ought to be paid to this matter. I wish to see the militia formed not only into battalions, but also brigades with brigadiers for each county to be under the direction of the generals of the continent whenever they are called to reinforce the army; this adopted throughout America must be evidently advantageous whenever the enemy shall make incursions that must be repulsed by the militia, and such we may probably expect.
With respect to the army nothing new occurs,
· unless it be the affair of Dr. Church, which con
tinues as when I wrote Mr. Paine. He is confined under a guard of fifty men, without being permitted to communicate with any one. Numbers of flat bottom boats are building in Cambridge river to carry about fifty men each, but whether with design to go to Boston or otherwise, I know not. The camp is generally easy and healthy. Pray make my respects to your brethren from this colony, and believe me sincerely
Your most obedient,
P.S. Since closing the above, I observe by extracts from the prints that the parliament is adjourned and the ministry vigorous in their mea
If they are sending to Hanover for troops, as well as to Ireland, is it not time for us to think of alliances? We may depend on their pushing matters with the utmost violence, if the American tories can effect or they themselves dare to attempt it. The colonies are daily improving in the art of war, and will soon be invincible ; but if foreign force is employed against us, we may be greatly puzzled, unless we endeavour at the same thing, especially by our want of military stores before our manufactures are further advanced. If any ill consequence from such a measure be dreaded, may it not be asked, what consequence can be more miserable to America than its subjugation ? What is more to be dreaded? What more fatal ? We have hitherto been foremost in our plans. I hope the same spirit will continue.
MR. S. ADAMS TO MR. GERRY.
PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 29, 1775. MY DEAR SIR, I wrote to you a few days ago by young Mr. Brown, and then acknowledged your favour of the 9th instant.
You tell me that a committee of both houses of assembly is appointed to bring in a militia bill. I am of your opinion, that this matter requires great attention, and I wish with you to see our militia formed not only into battalions, but also brigades. But should we not be cautious of putting them under the direction of the generals of the continent, at least until such a legislative shall be established over all America, as every colony shall consent
The continental army is very properly under the direction of the continental congress. Possibly, if ever such a legislative should be formed, it may be proper that the whole military power in every colony
should be under its absolute direction. Be that as it may, will it not till then be prudent that the militia of each colony should be and remain under
the sole direction of its own legislative, wbich is and ought to be the sovereign and uncontrollable power within its own limits or territory ? I hope our militia will always be prepared to aid the forces of the continent in this righteous opposition to tyranny. But this ought to be done application to the government of the colony. Your militia is your natural strength, which ought under your own direction to be employed for your own safety and protection. It is a misfortune to a colony to become the seat of war. It is always dangerous to the liberties of the people to have an army stationed among them, over which they have no control. There is at present a necessity for it; the continental army is kept up within our colony, most evidently for our immediate security. But it should be remembered that history affords abundant instances of established armies making themselves the masters of those countries, which they were designed to protect. There may be no danger of this at present, but it should be a caution not to trust the whole military strength of a colony in the hands of commanders independent ! of its established legislative.
It is now in the power of our assembly to establish many wholesome laws and regulations, which could not be done under the former administration of government. Corrupt men may be kept out of places of public trust; the utmost circumspection I hope will be used in the choice of men for public