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Letter from the Secret Committee of Congress to Silas Deane



Philadelphia, August 7, 1776.

DEAR SIR: The above is a copy of our last, [of July 8,] which went by the Despatch, Captain Parker.

The Congress have since taken into consideration the heads of a treaty to be proposed to France; but as they are not yet concluded upon, we cannot say more of them by this conveyance.

You will see by the newspapers which accompany this, that the expedition against South Carolina is foiled by the gallant resistance made there. The enemy, much diminished by sickness, it is thought will attempt nothing further in those parts. The people of North Carolina, who at first


had taken up their bridges and broken the roads to prevent the enemy from penetrating their country, have since, being ready to receive him, repaired the roads and bridges, and wish him to attempt making use of them.

General Howe is posted now on Staten Island, near New York, with the troops he carried to Halifax when he was driven out of Boston. Lord Howe is also arrived there with some regiments, and more are expected, as the great push seems intended to be made in that Province. General Washington' s Army is in possession of the town, about which many intrenchments are thrown up, so as to give an opportunity of disputing the possession with Howe, if he should attempt it, and of making it cost him something; but it is not so regularly fortified as to stand a siege. We have also a Flying Camp in the Jerseys, to harass the enemy if he should attempt to penetrate through that Province to Philadelphia. In the different Colonies we have now near eighty thousand men in the pay of Congress.

The Declaration of Independence meets with universal approbation, and the people everywhere seem more animated by it in defence of their country.

Most of our frigates are launched in the different Provinces, and are fitting for sea with all the expedition in our power. They are fine ships, and will be capable of good service. Our small privateers and Continental armed vessels have already had great success, as the papers will show you; and by abstaining from trade ourselves, while we distress that of our enemies, we expect to make their men-of-war weary of their unprofitable and hopeless cruises, and their merchants sick of a contest in which so much is risked and nothing gained. The forming a Navy is a capital object with us, and the Marine Committee is ordered to bring in a plan for increasing it very considerably.

The armed boats for the defence of our rivers and bays grow more and more in repute; they venture to attack large men-of-war, and are very troublesome to them. The papers will give you several instances of their success.

We hope by this time you are in Paris, and that Mr˙ Morris has joined you, whom we recommend to you warmly, and desire you may mutually cooperate in the publick service. With great esteem we are, &c.

To Silas Deane, Esq.