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Extract of Another Letter, Laid Before the Congress



It is fit I should convey to you a more particular detail of what I nave collected, more especially as it is from unquestionable authority. The British American Generals differ, I am informed, as to the number of men which they now think it will require to subdue the rebels of the Massachusetts. Gage says fifteen thousand more than he already has, and Burgoyne says twenty thousand more. But all the Generals, however, agree in desiring a large re-enforcement of artillery; and therefore, orders were yesterday sent to Woolwich for four companies, to embark immediately for North America, with a large train of fieldpieces, &c˙; and a further supply of clothing, more than I mentioned in my letter of the 15th, for the Canadians, which Government is assured by General Carleton he shall raise in the Province of Quebeck. Parliament is prorogued till September, and then will be farther prorogued to meet the beginning of November. In the mean time Lord North thinks he possesses power and credit sufficient to order more forces to America, and push matters to the greatest extremity before the winter sets in. I have been well assured, that if the Spanish Armada should not visit Gibraltar, which, from the repulse it is said they have met with, will be the case, Government propose composing that garrison of three-fourths Hanoverians, and one-fourth British Troops, in order that they may send the remainder of the latter, now there, to America. But the secret (as they


imagine) plan of operation they have at present in agitation, or which, perhaps, I might properly say, actually determined on and transmitted to Boston, is as follows:

With the assistance of Governour Tryon, who is much relied on for the purpose, to get immediate possession of New-York and Albany; to fill both of these Cities with very strong garrisons; to declare all rebels who do not join the King' s Forces; to command the Hudson and East Rivers with a number of small men-of-war and cutters, stationed in different parts of it, so as wholly to cut off all communication by water between New-York and the Provinces to the northward of it, and between New-York and Albany, except for the King' s service; and to prevent, also, all communication between the City of New-York and the Provinces of New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, and those to the southward of them. By this means, Administration and their friends fancy that they shall soon either starve out, or retake the garrisons of Crown Point and Ticonderoga, and open and maintain a safe intercourse and correspondence between Quebeck, Albany, and New-York, and thereby afford the fairest opportunity to their soldiery and the Canadians, in conjunction with the Indians to be procured by Guy Johnson, to make continual irruptions into New-Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, and so distract and divide the Continental Forces as to render it easy for the British Army at Boston to defeat them; break the spirits of the Massachusetts people, depopulate their country, and compel an absolute subjection to Great Britain. Another good effect to be deduced from this extensive plan, as Government apprehend, is, that as New-York will, by this method, be prevented from supplying the Massachusetts Army near Boston with flour, &c˙, as they hitherto have done, through the medium of Connecticut; and the New-Jersey and Pennsylvania people will not be able to transport provisions across the country; and as the Colony of Connecticut does not raise corn sufficient for the supply of herself and the Massachusetts-Bay; the inhabitants and troops of this Province must inevitably of course be in a short time destroyed by disease and famine. And to this train of facts let me add, that in consequence of Gen˙ Gage' s desire, brought by Capt˙ Chadd, one hundred flat-bottomed boats are at present building at Deptford, &c˙, in order to be immediately sent to America, but for what particular purpose I have not yet been able to learn. Many American gentlemen, however, have been lately asked by a Lord high in the American Department, what sized vessels can go loaded from hence to Albany? What is the depth of water at the Overslaugh? (I think that is the name of the shallowest place in the North River.) Whether the ship belonging to Albany, in the London trade, is always obliged to unload part of her cargo before she can get to Albany? and what proportion of it? Whether, if batteries were erected at the Highlands, they would not prevent vessels going up and down the North River? And where would be the best place on that river to hinder the New-Jersey people, &c˙, from sending flour, &c˙, in the winter, through Connecticut, to the Massachusetts Army?