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public treasury 5/ or 5£. That settler will be worth to the public 20 times as much every year, as on our old plan he would have paid in one paiment. I have thrown these loose thoughts together only in obedience to your letter, there is not an atom of them which would not have occurred to you on a moment's contemplation of the subject. Charge yourself therefore with the trouble of reading two pages of such undigested stuff.
By Saturday's post the General wrote us that Ld. Howe had got (I think 100) flat bottomed boats alongside, & 30 of them were then loaded with men ; by which it was concluded he was preparing to attack, yet this is Tuesday & we hear nothing further. The General has by his last return, 17000 some odd men, of whom near 4000 are sick & near 3000 at out posts in Long Island &c. So you may say he has but 10000 effective men to defend the works of New York. His works however are good & his men in spirits, which I hope will be equal to an addition of many thousands. He had called for 2000 men from the flying camp which were then embarking to him & would certainly be with him in time even if the attack was immediate. The enemy have (since Clinton & his army joined them) 15.000 men of whom not many are sick. Every influence of Congress has been exerted in vain to double the General's force. It was impossible to prevail on the people to leave their harvest. That is now in, & great numbers are in motion, but they have no chance to be there in time. Should however
disaster befall us at New York they will
form a great army on the spot to stop the progress of
I think there cannot be less than 6 or 8000 men in this city & between it & the flying camp. Our council complain of our calling away two of the Virginia battalions. But is this reasonable. They have no British enemy, & if human reason is of any use to conjecture future events, they will not have
Their Indian enemy is not to be opposed by their regular battalions. Other colonies of not more than half their military strength have 20 battalions in the field. Think of these things & endeavor to reconcile them not only to this, but to yield greater assistance to the common cause if wanted. I wish every battalion we have was now in New York.—We yesterday received dispatches from the Commissioners at Fort Pitt. I have not read them, but a gentleman who has, tells me they are favorable. The Shawanese & Delewares are disposed to peace.
I believe it, for this reason. We had by different advices information from the Shawanese that they should strike us, that this was against their will, but that they must do what the Senecas bid them. At that time we knew the Senecas meditated war. We directed a declaration to be made to the six nations in general that if they did not take the most decisive measures for the preservation of neutrality we would never cease waging war with them while one was to be found on the face of the earth. They immediately changed their conduct and I doubt not have given corresponding information to the Shawanese and Delewares.
I hope the Cherokees will now be driven beyond the Missisipi & that this in future will be declared to the Indians the invariable consequence of their beginning a war. Our contest with Britain is too serious and too great to permit any possibility of avocation from the Indians. This then is the season for driving them off, & our Southern colonies are happily rid of every other enemy
& may exert their whole force in
I hope to leave this place some time this month.
I am Dear Sir, Your affectionate friend
P. S. Mr. Madison of the college & Mr. Johnson of Fredsb'gh are arrived in New York. They say nothing material had happened in England. The French ministry was changed.
TO JOHN PAGE.
PhilADELPHIA, Aug. 20, 1776. Dear Page,–We have been in hourly expectation of the great decision at New York, but it has not yet happened. About three nights ago an attempt was made to burn the two ships which had gone up the river. One of the two fire-rafts prepared for that purpose grappled the Phenix ten minutes, but was cleared away at last. A tender however was burnt. The two ships came down on Sunday evening and passed all our batteries again with impunity. Ld Dunmore is at Staten isld. His sick he sent to
From the original in the possession of the American Antiquarian Society of Worcester.
Halifx, his effective men he carried to Staten isld. & the blacks he shipped off to the West Indies. Two gentlemen who had been taken prisoners by the enemy have made their escape. They say they are now 20,000 & that another division of 5,000 foreigners is still expected. They think Ld Howe will not attack these 10 days, but that he does not wait for his last division, being confident of victory without. One of these informants was captain of a continental vessel going for ammunition. The mate & crew rose & took the vessel. They fell in with the division of the Hessians which came with the Hessian general & were brought to. The general learning from the dethroned captain what had happened, immediately threw the piratical mate into irons, & had the captain to dine with him every day till they got to Halifx where he delivered him, vessel &c. over to the English.-A gentleman who lived some time in this city, but since last winter has become a resident of St. Eustatia writes that by a Dutch ship from Amsterdam they have advice that the states of Holland had refused to renew the prohibition on the exportation of powder to the colonies, or to cede to the English the Scotch brigade in their service, or to furnish them with some men of war asked of them by the British court. This refusal so piqued the ministry that they had been enduced to take several Dutch ships, amongst which he said were two which sailed from that island & were carried to London, another to St. Kitt's. In consequence of this the Dutch have armed 40 ships of war & ordered 60 more to be built
& are raising 20,000 land forces. The French governor in chief of their W. Indies has not only refused to permit a capt of a man of war to make prize of our vessels in their ports but forbidden them to come within shot of the ports. The enemy's men of war being withdrawn from our whole coast to N. York gives us now fine opportunities of getting in powder. We see the effect here already.
Two Canadians who had been captains in our Canadian regiment & who General Gates writes us are known in the army to be worthy of good credit made their escape from St. John's, & came over to our army from Tyconderoga ; & give the following intelligence. The enemy did not fortify any place we abandoned. They had 2000 men at Isle aux noix under Genl. Fraser, 2000 at St. John's under Carleton & some at Montreal.
250 only had been left at Quebec. It was reported that 4000 English troops which were to have been a part of that army had perished at sea which gave great uneasiness. The fleet brot over timber &c for 50 boats which they attempted to transport by land from the mouth of Sorel to St. John's, but could not for want of carriages which had been destroyed. Carleton, therefore, employed Canadians to build batteaux at St. John's. He has rendered himself very odious to the Canadians by levying contributions on them in general & confiscating the estates of all those who followed our army or who abscond. Great numbers of the Germans desert daily & are anxiously concealed by the inhabitants. 70 Brunswickers disappeared in one