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Letter received from General Washington


Die Sabbati, 9 ho˙ A˙ M˙, August 19, 1775.

The Congress met pursuant to adjournment. Opened with prayers by the Rev˙ Mr˙ Bowden. Present:

Peter V˙ B˙ Livingston, Esq˙, President.

A Letter from General Washington, of the 8th instant, was read and filed, and is in the words following, to wit:


"Camp at Cambridge, August 8, 1775.

"GENTLEMEN: It must give great concern to every considerate mind, that when this whole Continent, at a vast expense of blood and treasure, is endeavouring to establish its liberties on the most secure and solid foundations, not only by a laudable opposition of force to force, but denying itself the usual advantages of trade, there are men among us so basely sordid as to counteract all our exertions, for the sake of a little gain. You cannot but have heard that the distresses of the Ministerial Troops, for fresh provisions and many other necessaries, at Boston, were very great. It is a policy justifiable by all the laws of war to endeavour to increase them. Desertions, discouragement, and a dissatisfaction with the service, besides weakening their strength, are some of the natural consequences of such a situation, and, if continued, might afford the fairest hope of success, without further effusion of human blood.

"A vessel cleared lately out of New-York, for St˙ Croix, with fresh provisions and other articles, has just gone into Boston, instead of pursuing her voyage to the West-Indies. I have endeavoured to discover the name of the captain or owner, but as yet without success. The owner, it is said, went to St˙ Croix before the vessel, from which, and her late arrival, I make no doubt you will be able to discover and expose the villain. And if you could fall upon some effectual measure to prevent the like in future, it would be doing a signal service to our common country.

"I have been endeavouring, by every means in my power, to discover the future intentions of our enemy here. I find a general idea prevailing through the Army, and in the Town of Boston, that the Troops are soon to leave the Town, and go to some other part of the Continent. New-York is the place generally mentioned as their destination. I should think a rumour or suggestion of this kind worthy of very little notice, if it was not confirmed by some corresponding circumstances. But a four weeks' total inactivity, with all their re-enforcements arrived and recruited, the daily diminution by desertions, sickness, and small skirmishes, induce an opinion that any effort they propose to make will be directed elsewhere. I thought it proper just to hint to you what is probably intended. You will then consider what regard is to be paid to it, and what steps will be proper for you to take, if any.

"I am, with great respect and regard, Gentlemen, your most obedient and very humble servant,


"The Honourable the Provincial Congress of the Province of New-York."

Resolved and Ordered, That the paragraph of General Washington' s Letter relative to a Vessel that arrived at Boston with fresh Provisions and other articles, supposed to be from New-York, be sent to the General Committee of New-York; and that they be directed to make inquiry whether the said Vessel did sail from hence, and who are the owners and master of the said Vessel, and report the result thereof to this Congress.

Resolved, That no Cattle, Sheep, Poultry, or Live Stock of any kind, except Horses, be exported from this Colony, (save only such Ship Stores for which the Chairman or Deputy Chairman of the Committee at the Port or place from whence any Vessel may sail shall give permission,) until it shall be otherwise ordered by this or the Continental Congress. And the Committees of the Cities, Counties, Towns, and Precincts, in this Colony, are hereby strictly enjoined to cause this Resolution to be complied with and obeyed within their respective Districts.

Ordered, That a copy of this last Resolution be published in the Newspapers.