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regiments or companies. In one instance indeed the Congress reserved to themselves a right of departing from seniority ; that is where a person either out of the line of command, or in an inferior part of it, has displayed eminent talents. Most of the general officers have been promoted in this way.
Without this reservation the whole continent must have been supplied with general officers from the Eastern colonies, where a large army was formed & officered before any other colony had occasion to raise troops at all, & a number of experienced, able & valuable officers must have been lost to the public merely from the locality of their situation.
The resolution of our Convention on the subject of salt we shall lay before Congress. The Convention of Pennsylva did not proceed to business yesterday for want of a quorum.
As soon as they do we shall lay before them the proposition from our convention on the differences at fort pitt, & communicate to you the result.
We are your Excys.
TO COL. FIELDING LEWIS.
PHILADELPHIA, July 16, 1776. We were informed a few weeks ago that 5000 lb. of lead imported on acct. of our colony were landed at Fredsbgh. There appears scarcely a possibility it should be wanting in Virga., more especially when we consider the supplies which may be expected from the mines of that colony. The flying camp now
forming in the Jerseys & which will be immediately in the face of a powerful enemy is likely to be in great want of that article. Did their wants admit of delay of an application to the governor we should have applied to him & have not a doubt he would order it hither. But circumstances are too pressing, & we are assured we should incur the censures of our country were we to permit the public cause to suffer essentially while the means of preventing it (tho not under our immediate charge) are within our reach. We therefore take the liberty of desiring you to stop so many of the powder waggons now on their way to Wmsburgh as may be necessary & return them immediately with this lead, & whatever more you can collect sending the powder on by other waggons.
But should the lead have been sent to Wmsburgh the waggons may then proceed on their Journey & the Govr. to whom we have written will take care of the matter.
TO JOHN PAGE.?
PHILADELPHIA, July 20, 1776. DEAR PAGE,—On the receipt of your letter we enquired into the probability of getting your seal done here. We find a drawer and an engraver here both of whom we have reason to believe are excellent in their way. They did great seals for Jamaica and Barbadoes both of which are said to have been well
"Cf. Journals of Congress, 14 July, 1776.
done, and a seal for the Philosophical society here which we are told is excellent. But they are expensive, and will require two months to complete it. The drawing the figures for the engraver will cost about 50 dollars, and the engraving will be still more. Nevertheless as it would be long before we could consult you and receive an answer, as we think you have no such hands, and the expence is never to be iucurred a second time we shall order it to be done. I like the device of the first side of the seal much. The second I think is too much crowded, nor is the design so striking. But for god's sake what is the “ Deus nobis haec otia facit"? It puzzles every body here; if my country really enjoys that otium, it is singular, as every other colony seems to be hard struggling. I think it was agreed on before Dunmore's flight from Gwyn's island so that it can hardly be referred to the temporary holiday that has given you.
This device is too ænigmatical, since it puzzles now, it will be absolutely insoluble fifty years hence.
I would not advise that the French gentlemen should come here. We have so many of that country, and have been so much imposed on, that the Congress begins to be sore on that head. Besides there is no prospect of raising horse this way. approve of the Chevalier de St. Aubin, why not appoint him yourselves, as your troops of horse are Colonial not Continental ?
The 8th battalion will no doubt be taken into Continental
pay from the date you mention. So also will be the two written for lately to come to the
But if you Jersies. The 7th should have been moved in Congress long e'er now, but the muster roll sent us by Mr. Yates was so miserably defective that it would not have been received, and would have exposed him. We therefore desired him to send one more full, still giving it the same date, and I enclosed him a proper form. If he is diligent we may receive it by next post.
The answer to your public letter we have addressed to the governor.
There is nothing new here. Washington's and Mercer's camps recruit with amazing slowness. Had they been reinforced more readily something might have been attempted on Staten Island.
The enemy there are not more than 8, or 10,000 strong. Ld. Howe has recd. none of his fleet, unless some Highlanders (about 8, or 10 vessels) were of it. Our army at Tyonderoga is getting out of the small pox. We have about 150 carpenters I suppose got there by now. I hope they will out-build the enemy, so as to keep our force on the lake superior to theirs. There is a mystery in the dereliction of Crown-point. The general officers were unanimous in preferring Tyonderoga, and the Field officers against it. The latter have assigned reasons in their remonstrance which appear unanswerable, yet every one acquainted with the ground pronounce the measure right without answering these reasons.
Having declined serving here the next year, I shall be with you at the first session of our assembly. I purpose to leave this place the 11th of August, having so advised Mrs. Jefferson by last post, and every letter brings me such an account of the state of her health, that it is with great pain I can stay here till then. But Braxton purposing to leave us the day after tomorrow, the colony would be unrepresented were I to go, before the uth. I hope to see Col. Lee and Mr. Wythe here. Tho' the stay of the latter will I hope be short, as he must not be spared from the important department of the law. Adieu, adieu.
TO FRANCIS EPPES."
PHILADELPHIA, July 23, 1776. Dear Sir,—We have nothing new here now but from the southward. The successes there I hope will prove valuable here, by giving new spirit to our people. The ill successes in Canada had depressed the minds of many ; when we shall hear the last of them I know not; everybody had supposed Crown Point would be a certain stand for them, but they have retreated from that to Ticonderoga, against everything which in my eye wears the shape of reason. When I wrote you last, we were deceived in General Washington's numbers. By a return which came to hand a day or two after, he then had but 15,000 effective men. His reinforcements have come in pretty well since. The flying camp in the Jerseys under General Mercer begins to form, but not as fast as exigencies require. The Congress have, therefore, been obliged to send for two of our battallions from Virginia. I hope that country is
| From Randall's Life of Jefferson, III, 582.