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Joseph Trumbull to the President of Congress



King' s Bridge, October 7, 1776.

SIR: I received yours of the 3d instant, enclosing resolve respecting salt and salted provisions, and Mr˙ Mease purchasing one hundred hogsheads rum for me. As to the last I had an agent at Philadelphia purchasing for me, I wish they mayn' t interfere; rum and other West-India articles are now becoming plenty, brought from the eastward to Buy Rum river, within seventeen miles of this place, for sale, where I have lately purchased large quantities on very good terms. As to salt and salted provisions, I have and shall immediately take effectual care. The only danger I apprehend is for want of salt. This matter I mentioned to Mr˙ Sherman, Gerry, and Lewis, when here, and pointed out to them fully what I proposed, and what I thought necessary to be done by Congress, and hoped by this time to have received the needful orders, but am yet disappointed. I find the resolve of Congress is antecedent to their getting to Philadelphia.

What I mentioned to the Committee was, that a very considerable part of the salt in the country is in the hands of Continental agents, on whom I ought to have orders for the delivery of it to me or my order; and I apprehend that all the salt in the country will fall very short of a sufficiency. I proposed that Congress should give me such orders as would indemnify me in sending abroad and bringing in, or encouraging persons to bring in a sufficient quantity for Continental use, as might be necessary for salting provisions for the army; by which means I may be sparing of salt at first salting, and repack and pickle as I can get the salt in afterwards. A bare authority to purchase I suppose will not be sufficient for this purpose. I have already engaged proper persons from Philadelphia to New-Hampshire, in every proper place in each State, to purchase up every bushel of salt to be had, and to prepare casks and take in salt and cure pork and beef.

These matters need an immediate attention, and I propose going into New-England for the purpose as soon as I can have orders from Congress on their agents, and the proposed indemnification, if thought proper by Congress. I would have gone ere this, but for want of them; going is of no importance till I have them. I must first know what salt I can be sure of before I purchase provisions, and adopt my orders to the circumstances of the case. I really grudge every moment that is lost in this matter. I shall exert myself, and fear nothing but what I mention.

I am, most respectfully, sir, your most obedient, humble servant,


Messrs˙ Stockton and Clymer left this yesterday morning. They beg me to press the matter of salt.