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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. 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.
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 Aying 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 perfectly safe now; and if it is, it seems hardly right that she should not contribute a man to an army of 40,000 and an army too on which was to depend the decision of all our rights. Lord Howe's fleet has not yet arrived. The first division sailed five days before he did, but report says it was scattered by a storm. This seems probable, as Lord Howe had a long passage. The other two divisions were not sailed when he came away. I do not expect his army will be here and fit for action till the middle or last of August; in the meantime, if Mercer's camp could be formed with the expedition it merits, it might be possible to attack the present force from the Jersey side of Staten Island, and get rid of that beforehand; the militia go in freely, considering they leave their harvest to rot in the field.
| From Randall's Life of Jefferson, III, 582.
I have received no letter this week, which lays me under great anxiety. I shall leave this place about the vith of next month. Give my love to Mrs. Eppes, and tell her that when both you and Patty fail to write me, I think I shall not be unreasonable in insisting she shall.
TO JOHN PAGE.'
PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 5, 1776. Dear Page,--I am sorry to hear that the Indians have commenced war, but greatly pleased you have been so decisive on that head. Nothing will reduce those wretches so soon as pushing the war into the
* From a copy courteously furnished by Mr. Cassius F. Lee, of Alexandria, Va. heart of their country.
But I would not stop there. I would never cease pursuing them while one of them remained on this side the Mississippi. So unprovoked an attack & so treacherous a one should never be forgiven while one of them remains near enough to do us injury. The Congress having had reason to suspect the Six nations intended war, instructed their commissioners to declare to them peremptorily that if they chose to go to war with us, they should be at liberty to remove their families out of our settlements, but to remember that they should not only never more return to their dwellings on any terms but that we would never cease pursuing them with war while one remained on the face of the earth; & moreover, to avoid equivocation, to let them know they must recall their young men from Canada, or we should consider them as acting against us nationally. This decisive declaration produced an equally decisive act on their part; they have recalled their young men, & are stirring themselves with anxiety to keep their people quiet, so that the storm we apprehended to be brewing there it is hoped is blown over. Colo. Lee being unable to attend here till the 20th inst I am under the painful necessity of putting off my departure, notwithstanding the unfavorable situation of Mrs Jefferson's health. We have had hopes till to-day of receiving an authentication of the next year's delegation, but are disappointed. I know not who should have sent it, the Governor, or President of Convention : but certainly somebody should have done it. What will be the consequence I know not. We cannot be ad
mitted to take our seat on any precedent or the spirit of any precedent yet set! According to the standing rules not only an authentic copy will be required, but it must be entered in the journals verbatim that it
appear we have right to sit. This seems the more necessary as the quorum is then to be reduced. Some of the newspapers indeed mention that on such a day such & such gentlemen were appointed to serve for the next year, but could newspaper evidence be received. They could not furnish the form of the appointment, not yet that quorum is to be admitted.
Ld. Howe is recruiting fast. Forty odd ships arrived the other day, & others at other times. It is questionable whether our recruits come in so speedily as his. Several valuable West Indian men have been taken & brought in lately, & the spirit of privateering is gaining ground fast. No news from Ticonderoga. I enclose you (to amuse your curiosity) the form of the prayer substituted in the room of the prayer for the King by Mr. Duché, chaplain to the Congress. I think by making it so general as to take in Conventions, assemblies, &c., it might be used instead of that for the parliament. Adieu.
PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 9th, 1776. DEAR SIR,—As Col. Harrison was about to have some things packed, I set out upon the execution of your glass commission, and was surprised to find that