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Letter from Daniel Chamier, Jun., to Daniel Chamier


Intercepted Letter transmitted to Congress by General Washington, with his Letter dated December 18, 1775.


St˙ Augustine, September 18, 1775.

MY DEAR SIR: I embraced an opportunity some time ago, which I hope has proved, a safe one, of writing to you from this place, so shall not repeat the cause of changing my situation.

This climate, though almost constantly refreshed with sea-breezes, is still very hot, and subject (especially this year) to a violent and dangerous fever, which I, among others, have had the misfortune to be afflicted with. It has weakened me much; but I am recovering by degrees. This is the third fever I have had in these hot climates; and what is worst of all, they render me the more incapable of returning to colder ones.

Another detachment is now ordered from this garrison, which may shortly be the cause of my being obliged at last, however against my will, to retire to England. Je crois que vous enlendez bien ce que je voudrais dire. I am now at the end of the continent, and no possibility of a conveyance to the West-Indies. This may, however, not be the case hereafter, if by exchange or otherwise I should be entitled to seek a passage there, or were I ever furnished with proper credentials for my abode there, which I am not. I beg you just to hint this to your brother, to prepare him for it, although nothing but absolute necessity shall induce me to surprise him with a visit.

It is very hard that I should be in this situation, when we had such strong assurances that all our losses, by the removal of the custom-house, were to be made good. By a very moderate calculation I have just now made, on the 5th day of January next, I shall have at least two hundred pounds sterling due to me, exclusive of what I am to allow my deputy, but of which sum I shall not dare to draw for a larger portion than thirty pounds, being now to pay my deputy, out of my salary of one hundred pounds, the sum of seventy pounds for doing nothing, which must have been the case for a long time past. I am also driven from those friends in Charlestown, who generously advanced me what money I wanted, though I trust I shall not be without resources here until I can hear from you.

I write this also by way of Virginia; and should the remainder of this regiment be hereafter ordered away, you will of course know of it, and may take that opportunity of letting me hear from you, which I am very anxious to do after so long a silence, and seeing no other prospects, for we look upon the Southern Colonies as entirely deserted by the Admiral, which has been of infinite prejudice to His Majesty' s service in many respects.

I am not very disagreeably situated in this place, although I have been more obliged to some friends, on my first coming, than I ought. Nevertheless, if we are thus forsaken, and our troops drawn away from us, we must, like other Provinces, suffer some distress; and this alone may oblige me to leave it in my present state of health. The last fevers that I have had, and a somewhat freer way of living sometime ago in Charlestown, have shown me very evidently, that I have a strong scorbutick taint in my blood, and this was Doctor Matys' s opinion, which your brother was so kind as to procure for me two years ago, upon a state of my case drawn up by myself; and though my temperance may have hitherto repressed any violent symptoms, yet such a disposition lurking in the blood may well be one cause of retarding my cure, and I have lately made such alterations in my diet as this case would require. Sure I am, it is either that, or a worse disorder, that has manifested itself lately, but I think the symptoms too mild for the latter; and yet, considering my youth, I


can hardly think the weakness I still labour under, (and which is, indeed, my only complaint,) to be altogether the consequence of my Boston illness.

I pray my love to Mrs˙ Chamier, when you see her or write to her, and believe me to be ever,

Yours most affectionately,


I beg you to make inquiries if there is any prospect of being paid the deficiency of my income, which would enable me at once to remove to the West-Indies, for I am now informed a vessel has been long expected here from Jamaica, or is there no possibility of procuring letters of credit to that Island, or any other? Mr˙ Mills is at Barbadoes, and is well known to our gentlemen, and I believe still acting as Collector there, besides being Surveyor-General. Mr˙ John Stuart, the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, is a fugitive here also; he transacts all his money matters with the General, and might be of service to me in this case, as I have been long acquainted with him, and received many civilities from him. However, all interest out of the question, pray contrive some method of letting me hear from you.