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New-Hampshire Committee of Safety to General Sullivan



Committee of Safety, Exeter, September 28, 1775.

SIR: Yours of the 23d instant we this moment received, and, in answer thereto, must observe we are equally sorry with you that the New-Hampshire Troops complain, or have occasion for complaint. The cause we think obvious. When our Congress raised their Troops, they promised them one month' s pay, as soon as it could be emitted, and


the remainder when they should be disbanded. The latter end of July last, a Sub-Committee from this waited on General Washington, to get information from him what was farther expected from the Colony, towards supplying and paying our Troops; who reported that the General told them he every day expected the appointment of a Commissary-General, and that as soon as that took place he should take charge of the whole Army as Continental, and provide for and (as they understood him) pay their whole wages except the first month' s, which this Colony had advanced. Upon which report, our Congress voted to emit such a sum of money as they judged sufficient to pay for supplying our Troops, and some other contingencies, until the Commissary-General took charge of them, and then adjourned to the last day of October next.

This Committee never had an idea that it would be expected from the Colony to pay the Troops any more wages, nor ever received the most distant hint of the kind from any person whomsoever, until General Washington lately made a requisition for the payment of one month' s wages to those soldiers of this Colony who were going to Quebeck with Col˙ Arnold, who, by the way, would have peaceably accepted one month' s pay, agreeable to the requisition, had it not been for your postscript to Ichabod Rollins, Esq˙, "that those who had not been paid up to the month of August ought to be paid immediately," which they saw, and utterly refused to proceed without being paid accordingly; whereby we were obliged to pay them two months' wages, instead of the one General Washington had required.

Previous to this, we had sent two of this Committee to wait upon General Washington, and to inquire into some matters relating to the Army, who report that "when they arrived at the camp, they were told General Washington had given it out in general orders that the Troops should be paid by their respective Colonies up to August, and that our soldiers had been told they might daily expect this Colony to send the money for that purpose;" which surprised them very much, as it does all of us, that the soldiers should be made to expect what the Colony was ignorant of, and could not possibly perform. They waited on General Washington, and conversed with him on the subject. He informed them that Connecticut and one other State (which they supposed was Rhode-Island) had desired him not to pay their Troops; and that General Sullivan had told him New-Hampshire "could as well pay their Troops as not," which was the occasion of his giving said orders, at a time the military chest was almost empty, and the money long expected from Philadelphia was not arrived. That the Massachusetts Troops had, besides the month' s pay advanced, received but one month' s wages, and that out of the Continental money.

As to the blankets, we always understood that there was only a few but were supplied long ago; and those few we supposed the officers (as there was a constant intercourse) had received from the Selectmen of their respective Towns, the way directed by our Congress.

Ichabod Rollins, Esq˙, one of our Committee of Supplies, had orders, in July last, to provide a hundred coats for those persons who lost their clothes at Charlestown battle. And, previous to the reception of yours, we had provided for the payment of their whole loss, which was as early as the circumstances of the Colony would admit of.

And now, Sir, upon this state of facts, which we aver to be just, we would ask where the "great defect" has been, and to whom the uneasiness of the Troops ought to be imputed; whether, as circumstances turned up, the Colony could have done more, unless they could have divined into the determinations and consequent expectations in and about the camp. Certainly, if it became requisite for the Colony to have paid up their Troops to the 4th of August, it was necessary they should have been notified thereof, in order that they might have made the provision needful, before the soldiers were encouraged to expect the immediate payment thereof.

However, we are zealous of doing every thing in our power necessary for the good of our Troops, the Army, and the important cause in which we are engaged. But until a vote of Congress for striking off more money, we shall be unable to advance any for the payment of wages; we having scarcely enough to pay for the coats promised them, the loss at Bunker' s Hill, &c˙, which on Monday last we ordered


to be paid, which, with a month' s wages that General Washington assured our Committee he would pay as soon as he received the money from Philadelphia, which he daily expected, will answer their present necessities until our Congress meets, the last of October next, and shall order money to be struck off, which we expect they then will, to settle the rolls to the 4th of August. And in the mean time we hope the officers of the several Regiments will endeavour to keep and maintain quiet and harmony in their respective corps, rather than raise difficulties themselves, and then instil them into their men.

In behalf of the Committee, I am, Sir, your humble servant,


Honourable John Sullivan, Esq.