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General Washington to Governour Cooke



Camp at Cambridge, September 6, 1775.

SIR: Your favours of the 30th August and 2d instant are duly received. The concurrence of the Committee in the Bermuda voyage is very agreeable, and I hope will prove a happy earnest of its success. Enclosed is a letter to the inhabitants of that island, of the tenour you have suggested, but I shall depend upon Captain Whipple' s not making use of it except in case of real necessity.

I am to acknowledge your kind assistance to Captain Baylor, in his late errand, and must desire you to make known to Messrs˙ Clarke & Nightingale that I am very sensible of the patriotick and disinterested part they have acted on this occasion.

As the Congress will depend upon a supply of tow cloth from your Colony, unless they are apprized to the


contrary, I apprehend it will be proper, through your Delegates, to acquaint them of the state in which you have found that article, in order to guard against a disappointment.

The removal of the stock from the coast and islands will, I hope, have its effect in sending the ministerial plunderers empty home. We have yet no accounts of the last fleet, except six, who returned from Louisburgh with coal a few days ago.

I need not mention to you the vast importance of gaining intelligence of the enemy' s motions and designs as early as possible. The great saving to the Continent, both of blood and money, a detection of our secret and most dangerous enemies, with innumerable other advantages, would result from the interception of their correspondence at this juncture. I have, therefore, thought proper to propose to you the seizing the mail by the next packet. She is hourly expected from England; her force of men and guns inconsiderable; none but swivels, and only manned with eighteen men. If the vessel proposed to go to Bermuda should cruise for a few days off Sandy-Hook, I have no doubt she would fall, in with her. In which case she might, with little or no delay, land the mail, in order to be forwarded to me, and proceed on the voyage. But if there are any material objections to this mode, I am still so anxious upon the subject that I would have it tried with another vessel, at the Continental expense; and will, for that end, direct that any charge which may accrue in this service shall be paid by the Paymaster here, upon being duly liquidated. It will be necessary that some person well acquainted with the packets should be on board our vessel, or the stopping inward bound vessels indiscriminately will give the alarm, and she may be apprized of her danger. The choice of a proper officer, with the care of providing a suitable vessel, &c˙, I must leave to you. Should it meet with the desired success, there can be no doubt the honourable Continental Congress will distinguish and reward the officers and men who shall have done so essential a service. Nor shall I fail in making known to them how much the publick service is indebted to you for your zeal and activity on all occasions. I am, Sir, &c.


To the Hon˙ Nicholas Cooke, Esq˙, Deputy-Governour of Rhode-Island, Providence.