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Letter from Josiah Bartlett to John Langdon



Philadelphia, July 29, 1776.

MY FRIEND: Yours of the 15th instant is now before me, and with you I lament the selfish disposition that is but too prevalent among almost all orders and degrees of men; even the Senate and Army are not entirely free. However, we must not expect perfection in human nature, but must endeavour to correct it in ourselves, and to point it out and oppose it in others.

The retreat of our Army to Ticonderoga has no doubt alarmed the western parts of our State, though I think there will be no great danger at present, as there is a very powerful Army there, who are now getting well of the small pox, and will be soon ready for action, besides the numerous Militia who are marching to join that Army.

Our friend General Sullivan is disgusted at the appointment of General Gates to be a Major General, and being sent to the Northern Army. By permission of the Generals Schuyler and Washington, he (General Sullivan) has left the Army, and is now here, and has petitioned Congress for leave to resign his commission. What will be done in the case I cannot say, but hope it will be settled without his dismission.

Brother Whipple is here yet, and will not set out for home till the Confederation is settled, which may possibly take a week or ten days' time, as there is a great deal of other business to be done in the mean time, and the sentiments of the members of Congress very different on many of the articles. I should be glad he might hear the whole of the debates here, and be present in our Colony when it is laid before our Legislature for their concurrence, to answer any questions and remarks that may be made upon it. It is a matter of the greatest importance, but the interests and opinions of the several members are so various that I see it will not be settled agreeable to my mind.

It is a very still time as to news here. The fleet and Armies at New York and Staten Island remain in statu quo. The Army in the Jerseys is increasing very fast, so that there will soon be a powerful body of men there.

July 31st˙ — I can now inform you that the affair with General Sullivan is settled, and he is to return to New York, to be employed by General Washington in that department; so hope you will not make many words about it.

I am, sir, your friend and most obedient, humble servant,

P˙ S˙ By the enclosed you will see the resolves passed by Congress, and sent to Generals Howe and Burgoyne, in consequence of the affair at the Cedars.

By letters yesterday from Virginia we are informed that Dunmore with his fleet has gone up Potomack River, has burnt some houses near the shores, and has endeavoured to burn more, but was hindered; that the Virginians had taken a tender with one of the most infamous Tories in the Province on board; the number of men and guns I have forgot. They have also taken a vessel from Dunmore, with linens, &c˙, said to be worth twenty thousand pounds sterling.