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Winter quarters of the British Army in Canada


London, January 14, 1777.

Yesterday, an officer arrived from Quebeck, which place he left on the 1st of December. He left the troops in can tonments. An officer of the King' s who had been a prisoner, was lately brought through the post of Ticonderoga, and reports that the Rebels were at work upon their fleet for next season, and says, that they had laid the keels of twenty-six boats, large and small. The General has, on our part, laid the keels of six, one of which is to be a twenty-gun ship. Little is to be apprehended from these preparations of the Rebels, who are in want of artillery,


and all manner of articles for equipping a fleet, and have applied to Philadelphia for shipwrights without success, that city having no assistance to spare, from the consideration of its own defence. The Army in general are very sickly, and particularly the Brunswickers. Out of twelve thousand, which was the complement, there are not above seven thousand effective. The following is the winter quarters of the Army: General Hospital of the Royal Artillery is at Montreal; General Fraser' s corps of Grenadiers and Light Infantry of the British troops, and the Twenty-Fourth Regiment, upon the south side of the river St˙ Lawrence, at Le Prarie, Longueil Boucher, Ville Varren, and Isle Therese, Ver Cheris, Bouchard, Contre Creur, and Grand St˙ Curs. Fifty-Third Regiment at Chamblee. Thirty-First at Baleuil, St˙ Charles, St˙ Dennis, St˙ Anthony, St˙ Curs, and Sorrel. Ninth and Forty-Seventh at Isle Jesus, River de Prarie, St˙ Luce Recollect, St˙ Genevieve, and St˙ Lawrant. Twenty-First at St˙ John' s. Sixty-Second at Point Levi, &c˙, opposite to Quebeck. Twentieth at the Isle awe Noix, and Thirty-Fourth at Qucbeck. The Brunswickers and Hanau troops quartered in the river St˙ Lawrence, from Berthier to Three Rivers, and forty miles below Three Rivers, in the road to Quebeck; Maclean' s Royal Highland Emigrants, at Chinage Bonne and river Du China; Sir Jo˙ Johnston' s Regiment, called the Royal New-Yorkers, at Lachine, La Point Clare, and St˙ Ann; the Eighth Regiment in the back posts of Canada.

There is one very principal fact respecting this unhappy American war, which ought not to escape the publick attention. It is the difference between the number of troops paid for, and the number in actual service. The American establishment is, at this time, fifty-four thousand men. General Howe' s last returns are under twenty-two thousand; and General Carleton' s under seven thousand; but not to quibble about half a dozen men, suppose them together to be thirty thousand; it is then a certain fact, that this country is paying for four-and-twenty thousand men more than are in the service. The specie is sent from England for the payment of these troops. Paper payments in England have increased amazingly; and the foreign exchange is rising against us. These are circumstances so very important and interesting, that they would in any other time have awakened the nation, and compelled the Court to abandon a system of government so very injurious to the publick welfare. But supposing America should be conquered, it has been rationally asked, What is the advantage gained? She cannot repay the enormous sum expended. But supposing America should not be conquered, what is the loss? Not only the trade, but the islands, and the strength of that country turned against us. The small progress made by so large an army and fleet in a whole campaign, and the non-effect of the Commissioners' last proclamation, show that the latter alternative is but too probable.

An able calculator affirms, that the expense of this war to Great Britain, from the time of the battle of Lexington to the end of the campaign of 1776, has not been less than thirty millions; and the loss of troops, British and foreigners, by slain, sickness, desertion, &c˙, has not been less during the same period than twenty thousand men. The West-India planters and merchants alone, estimate their losses in the year 1776, by the capture of their ships, at £1,800,000. The other trading vessels, with the ordnance store-ships, transports, &c˙, cannot be put at less than £500,000; and the sailors or hands on board the several ships, not less than three thousand.