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Letter from Governour Trumbull to General Washington



Lebanon, January 15, 1776.

SIR: I have received your agreeable letter of the 7th instant, per Captain Sears.

The condition and circumstances of the Colony of New-York gives me pain, lest the friends to American liberty, in that Colony, should be too much neglected, and become disheartened, and the inimical designs and mischievous operations of others succeed. I have received credible information that the Provincial Congress there had spent some time, just before they adjourned to the first of February, in debating whether they should not address Mr˙ Tryon, for the purpose of calling the General Assembly of that Colony, to revive the old scheme of adopting the Parliamentary insult of the 20th of February last, which was rejected. Surely our friends want to be strengthened, and our enemies to be checked.

The following is an extract from a letter from one of our friends to another, dated December 27, 1775: "Just after you left town, the Phenix, a forty-gun ship, arrived, and anchored just before Mr˙ Drake' s; and, in two or three days after, the Asia, in company of the Dutchess of Gordon, came and anchored opposite to Peck' s Slip, so that we are highly honoured. General Dalrymple is on board the Phenix, and it is rumoured that they have two hundred troops concealed on board, which has, for near a week past, kept us on pretty hard duty. The Colonel has slept in the barracks two or three nights. If they come, I hope to give a good account of them. We have some excellent field-pieces, and if they visit us the gates will be opened, and we will welcome them with a few Resolves of the Continental Congress, which is the name of one of the pieces."


I wrote a letter to President Hancock, dated the 6th January, instant, and another to one of our Delegates at Congress, requesting that more effectual measures may be taken for the security of New-York, to prevent our enemies from being supplied with provisions, furnished with intelligence, and from having an opportunity to use every artifice to insult and injure us from that quarter. It, therefore, gave me sensible pleasure, to find that you have adopted the measures mentioned in yours, and with great cheerfulness called my Council, and, with their advice, appointed Colonel Waterbury, Lieutenant-Colonel Bradley, and Major Hobby, Field-Officers for one regiment; Colonel Ward, Lieutenant-Colonel Lewis, and Major Douglass for another; sent a proclamation to the two Colonels, and orders to them, with the rest of the Field-Officers, by voluntary inlistment to raise seven hundred and fifty men each, to join and assist Major-General Lee, with encouragement that they should be entitled to the same pay, wages, and billeting allowed the troops before Boston, during the time they serve, and to be dismissed soon, when the service would conveniently admit. The Field-Officers of each regiment to select Captains and Subalterns from those in the standing Militia; if needful, to request the chief officer of the Militia companies to call their companies together, for the purpose of inlisting the men with expedition; and, to prevent difficulty for want of ammunition, have ordered Captain Niles, commander of our armed schooner, Spy, to take on board half a ton of powder, and transport four hundred pounds to New-Haven, two hundred pounds to Norwalk, and four hundred pounds to Stamford, with orders to him to follow such directions as Major-General Lee may give for the service he is employed in, and to execute the same until dismissed by him, or further orders from me; wished, but failed, to have the pleasure of a short interview with him.

When my orders were ready, very early on Saturday morning last, Captain Sears took them, and, I apprehend, he got to Hartford by noon. I wrote to Major-General Lee, informing of what was done by me. I have no doubt but the men at the westward part of this Colony will readily and expeditiously engage in the service. May the Supreme Director of all events add his blessing on our endeavours to preserve, support, and maintain the constitutional liberties of these Colonies, which he hath made it our duty to do.

Thirteen Indians, of the Caughnawaga tribe, came to visit me on the 13th, and seemed well pleased to have a conference on our affairs, and expressed their belief of my information, and that they were friends and brothers; and yesterday proceeded on their way to you.

I am, with great esteem and regard, your Excellency' s most obedient humble servant,

To His Excellency General Washington.