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Letter from Timothy Pickering to Richard Derby



Salem, July 18, 1776.

SIR: I am directed by the Selectmen and Committee of Safety of this town to inform you, that the inhabitants are very uneasy, and urge the erecting a gate at the entrance of the town to secure them against the small pox, of which they think themselves in danger, by means of persons coming from Boston unexamined and uncleansed, which they do to this day, and it is feared will continue to do, unless the honourable Council take some effective order to prevent it. Captain Peele tells us that he came out of Boston yesterday, without seeing any guard, or being asked a question. If there be a continuance of such carelessness in Boston, the infection may be spread far and near, and a great many towns put to a very great expense in erecting gates and providing guards. The Selectmen and Committee pray you to use your endeavours in Council that effectual measures be taken to prevent such extensive mischief. The Selectmen and Committee are also desirous that the poor of Boston may be removed from our Hospital. Their continuance there any longer will be attended with many disadvantages to the town. We have two patients already with the natural small pox, and we expect many more. It is no longer expedient to remove them to the Neck, because, in case of an alarm in that quarter, the whole country would be in danger, if they ventured on to the Neck, and perhaps they would refuse to go. The Court of Sessions may also order


it to be used as a County Hospital. There are other reasons; but the bearer is waiting with impatience. You are requested to urge this point also in Council. In haste.

I am, yours, TIM˙ PICKERING, Jun.

To the Honourable Richard Derby, Esq.