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General Washington to New-York Congress



Camp at Cambridge, August 8, 1775.

GENTLEMEN: It must give great concern to every considerate mind, that when this whole Continent, at a vast expense of blood and treasure, is endeavouring to establish its liberties on the most secure and solid foundations, not only by a laudable opposition of force to force, but denying itself the usual advantages of trade, there are men amongst us so basely sordid as to counteract all our exertions for the sake of a little gain. You cannot but have heard that the distresses of the Ministerial Troops for fresh provisions and many other necessaries at Boston, were very great. It is a policy justifiable by all the laws of war to endeavour to increase them. Desertions, discouragement, and a dissatisfaction with the service, besides weakening their strength, are some of the natural consequences of such a situation, and if continued, might afford the fairest hope of success, without farther effusion of human blood.

A vessel cleared lately out of New-York for St˙ Croix, with fresh provisions and other articles, has just gone into Boston, instead of pursuing her voyage to the West-Indies. I have endeavoured to discover the name of the Captain or owner, but as yet without success. The owner, it is said, went to St˙ Croix before the vessel, from which, and her late arrival, I make no doubt you will be able to discover and expose the villain; and if you could fall upon some effectual measures to prevent the like in future, it would be doing a signal service to our common country.

I have been endeavouring, by every means in my power, to discover the future intentions of our enemy here. I find a general idea prevailing through the Army, and in the Town of Boston, that the Troops are soon to leave the Town, and go to some other part of the Continent; New-York is the place generally mentioned as their destination. I should think a rumour or suggestion of this kind worthy of very little notice, if it were not confirmed by some corresponding circumstances. But a four weeks total inactivity, with all their re-enforcements arrived and recruited, the daily diminution by desertions, sickness, and small skirmishes, induce an opinion that any effort they propose to make will be directed elsewhere.

I thought it proper to hint to you what is probably intended; you will then consider what regard is to be paid to it, and what steps it will be proper for you to take, if any.

I am, with great respect and regard, gentlemen, your most obedient and very humble servant,


The Honourable the Provincial Congress of the Province of New-York.