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day. Their officers are so much afraid of bushfighting & ambushes that they will not head any parties to pursue the runaways. The men have the same fears, which prevents them from deserting in so great numbers as is supposed they will when once our fleet shall appear cruising on the lake to receive & protect them. Between the 22d & 24th July Carleton & the other generals abandoned all their posts on this side Sorel except St. John's with as great precipitation as our poor sick army had done, carrying with them their artillery & provisions. This was occasioned by the arrival and mysterious manæuvres of a fleet at Quebec supposed French, hoisting different colours & firing at Tenders sent from the town to enquire who they were. 200 men were left at Isle aux noix to send them intelligence of our operations, who they say will go down the river if we return into Canada. For this event the Canadians are offering up prayers at the shrines of all their saints. Carleton some time ago hearing that we were returning with a considerable reinforcement was so terrified that he would have retired immediately had not some of his spies come in & informed him of the deplorable situation to which the small pox had reduced our army.—They are recovering health & spirits. Genl. Gates writes that he had accounts of the roads being crowded with militia coming to his assistance. 600 from New Hampshire came in while he was writing his letter, being the first.
His fleet had sailed from Tyconderoga to Crown point. Their number and force as follows.
Eight more gallies would be ready to join them in a fortnight when they would proceed down the Cape. General Arnold (who is said to be a good sailor) had undertaken the command. We have 200 fine ship carpenters (mostly sent from here) at work. I hope a fleet will soon be exhibited on that lake such as it never bore. The Indians have absolutely refused Carleton in Canada & Butler at Niagara to have any thing to do in this quarrel, & applaud in the highest terms our wisdom & candour for not requiring them to meddle. Some of the most sensible speeches I ever saw of theirs are on this head, not to be spoken to us, but behind our backs in the councils of our enemies. From very good intelligence the Indians of the middle department will be quiet. That treaty is put off till October. Were it not that it interferes with our Assembly I would go to it, as I think something important might be done there, which could not be so well planned as by going to the spot & seeing its geography. We have great fear that the sending an agent from Virginia to enlist Indians will have ill consequences. It breaks in upon the plan pursued here & destroys that uniformity & consistency of counsels
which the Indians have noticed & approved in their speeches. Besides they are a useless, expensive, ungovernable ally.— I forgot to observe that a captain Mesnard of Canada had come to Genl. Gates after the two above mentioned & confirmed their account in almost every article. One of the German deserters travelled with him to within 20 miles of our camp, when he was obliged to halt through fatigue. He passed 3 others of them.—Baron Woedeke is dead, no great loss from his habit of drinking.—The infamous Bedel & Butterfield were ordered by Congress to be tried for their conduct. They have been tried by a Court martial, condemned & broke with infamy. We inclose to you all the Commissions mentioned in the last letter of the delegates, except Innis's to be forwarded to the Eastern shore immediately, & Weedon's & Marshall's who we are informed are on the road hither. Would to God they were in N. York. We wait your recommendation for the 2 vacant majorities. Pray regard militaryment alone. The commissions now sent do not fix the officers to any particular battalion so that the commanding officer will dispose of them. make use of any interest with Lee or Lewis to call Innis over to the Western shore. He pants for it, & in my opinion has a right to ask it. Adieu, Adieu.
Davis with the 4000 lb of gun powder & 90 stand of arms for Virgā got into Egg harbour. We have sent waggons for the powder to bring it here, & shall wait your further order.
We were obliged to open Van
Cannot you Bibber & Harrison's letter to the Council of safety of Virgă in order to take out the bill of lading without which it would not be delivered.
RESOLUTION TO ENCOURAGE DESERTIONS OF
Aug. 27. [1776) The Congress proceeding to take into further consideration the
✓ expediency of inviting from the service of his Brittanick majesty such foreigners as by the compulsive authority of their prince may have been engaged therein & sent hither for the purpose of waging war against these states, and expecting that the enlightened minds of the officers having command in those foreign corps will feel more sensibly the agency of the principles urged in our resolution of the 14th instant, principles which be derived from the unalterable laws of God & nature cannot be superseded by any human authority or engagement, and willing to tender to them also, as they had before done to the soldiery of their corps a participation of the blessings of peace, liberty, property & mild government, on their relinquishing the disgraceful office on which they have been sent hither : Resolved that they will give all such of the said foreign officers as shall leave the armies of his Britannic majy in America & chuse to become citizens of these states, unappropriated lands in the following quantities and proportions to them & their heirs in absolute dominion : To a colonel 1,000 acres, to a Lt Col. 800 as. to a Major 600 as, to a Captn 400 as, to an Ensign 200 as. to every non commisd. officer 100 as. & to every other officer or person employed in the sd foreign corps & whose office or employment is not here specifically named, lands
Jefferson, Franklin, and Adams were appointed a committee on Aug. 26th to report on a letter of James Wilson, and this resolution, with a preamble, and additional resolution, was adopted the following day as the result of their report. This resolution is in Jefferson's handwriting, but the preamble is in that of John Adams.
• A plan for encouraging the Hessians and other foreigners to quit the British service.
in the like proportion to their rank or pay in the sd corps : & moreover that where any officers shall bring with them a number of the sd foreign soldiers, this Congress, besides the lands before promised to the sd officers and soldiers will give to such officers further rewards proportionate to the numbers they shall bring over & suited to the nature of their wants. Provided that such foreign officers or soldiers shall come within over from the sd service before these offers be recalled, or within after a reasonable time.
RESOLUTIONS ON PEACE PROPOSITIONS.'
[Aug. 28, 1776) Resolved that tho' this Congress, during the dependance of these states on the British crown with unwearied supplications sued for peace & just redress, & tho' they still retain a sincere disposition to peace ; yet as his Britannic majesty by an obstinate perseverance in injury & a callous indifference to the sufferings & the complaints of these states, has driven them to the necessity of declaring themselves independent, this Congress bound by the voice of their constituents, which coincides with their own sentiments, have no power to enter into conference or to receive any propositions on the subject of peace which do not as a preliminary acknowledge these states to be sovereign & independant : & that whenever this shall have been authoritatively admitted on the part of Great Britain they shall at all times & with that earnestness which the love of peace and justice inspires, be ready to enter into conference or treaty for the purpose of stopping the effusion of so much kindred blood.
Resolved that the reproof given by Genl Washington to Ld Drummond for breach of his parole, & his refusal to give him a pass thro' the states on so idle an errand and after a conduct so dishonourable, be approved by this house & let it be submitted to the General to take such measures as his prudence will suggest
1 These resolutions were apparently moved in the Congress on the arrival of Washington's letter of Aug. 26th, enclosing Lord Drummond's letter to him, and his answer. Cf. Ford's Writings of Washington, iv, 350, 369.