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Letter from General Washington to the President of Congress



[Read July 25, 1776.]

New York, July 23, 1776.

SIR: Since I had the pleasure of writing you, by this morning' s post, I was favoured with a letter from Governour Trumbull, a copy of which is enclosed, and to which I beg leave to refer you.

In regard to the stock he mentions, I wrote to him requesting that they might be removed from the Island on which they were, as I conceived it of great importance to distress the enemy as much as possible in the article of fresh provisions. I wish the other Governments may follow his example, and have it removed from the Islands belonging to them respectively.

When the ships of war and tenders went up the river, it was thought expedient that application should be made for the Connecticut row galleys and those belonging to Rhode Island, in order to attempt something for their destruction. As soon as they arrive we shall try to employ them in some useful way; but in what, or how successfully, I cannot at present determine.

Congress will please to observe what Mr˙ Trumbull says respecting the Continental regiment raising under Colonel Ward. If they incline to give any orders about their destination, you will please to communicate them by the earliest opportunity, as their march will be suspended till they are known.

The orders Mr˙ Trumbull has given to the officers of the cruisers to stop provision vessels, seem to be necessary. We have too much reason to believe that some have gone voluntarily to the enemy; and that there are many persons who would contrive to furnish them with large supplies; and however upright the intentions of others may be, it will be a matter of the utmost difficulty, if not an impossibility, for any to escape falling into their hands now, as every part of the coast, it is probable, will swarm with their ships of war and tenders. I had proposed writing to the Convention of this State upon the subject before I received his letter, and am now more persuaded of the necessity of their taking some steps to prevent further exportations down the Sound. In my next I shall inform them of the intelligence received from Mr˙ Trumbull, and recommend the matter to their attention.

I have the honour to be, with great esteem, sir, your most obedient servant, GO˙ WASHINGTON.

P˙ S˙ It appears absolutely necessary that the exportation of provisions should be stopped; our Army is large, and otherwise may want; nor can individuals be injured, as they have a ready-money market for everything they have to dispose of in that way.