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Letter from Caesar Rodney to Thomas Rodney



Philadelphia, August 28, 1776.

SIR: I have at last got from the shoemaker and sent down by the post Betsy' s and Sally' s shoes. I don' t know which pair is Betsy' s or which is Sally' s; this they must find out themselves, if they ever come sale to hand. However, I know they are very dear, to wit: 14 6 a pair.

I intended to come down, but have been prevailed on by the other Delegates to stay and attend Congress during their absence, the business in Congress being important to each Colony, especially ours. They proposed that the Convention should give the power of voting for the Colony to one Delegate, to prevent our Colony suffering while they were engaged in other business. This I consented to, being determined that the folly and ingratitude of the people shall not divert my attention from the publick good. I have seen Independence declared, and when I see this campaign well ended, (as I hope it will,) and regular Government established, then I intend to leave the publick and take the private paths of life. Future generations will honour these names, that are neglected by the present race.

As soon as I received the accounts from Kent and New Castle of the elections, I wrote to Mr˙ McKean at Amboy, and desired he would give immediate attendance at the Convention. He got my letter, and in consequence thereof came to Philadelphia on Sunday night last, and set out yesterday morning very early to New Castle. While he was here I mentioned to him the circumstance of vesting the power of voting (in Congress) in one Delegate. He liked much to have the power in one, but was so averse to, and determined against, the Convention taking upon them or concerning with the least iota, except the barely framing a plan of Government, that he was of opinion he should never consent to their appointing Delegates, or even altering their power, lest they should afterwards be inclined to hold it out as a precedent for their taking upon themselves some other matters which he thinks they would willingly be at. He says, for his part he is tired of attending the Congress, but is determined they shall turn him nor no one else out; that if they are determined to do those things by the strength of their majority,


he will try the strength of the country with them, even at the risk of the Court House.

In the opinion of many people, the Convention of this Province are making such strides as will effectually knock up both them and their plan. When our Delegates return, I am to go home for the remainder of the fall. I am by promise to hear by every opportunity how they go on at New Castle.

About ten thousand of the enemy are landed on Long Island. They have been skirmishing every day since, and we are constantly looking for something important. Washington is in high spirits; says they have overstayed their time, and that he is now ready for them; the sooner the better.

Putnam commands on Long Island, and has with him Major-General Sullivan, Brigadier-General Lord Stirling, and three other Brigadiers. Remember me kindly to my relations and friends.

I am yours, &c.,

To Thomas Rodney.

P˙ S˙ I wrote to Colonel Haslet since the battalion went to New York, but have not yet got an answer; therefore don' t know how they are there.