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Letter from Boston


[No˙ 8.]

Boston, August 1, 1775.

My DEAR SON: Have received no letter from you since May 27, which I duly answered 3d June, by Mr˙ Wail. I wrote you May 25, both of which I hope came safe to your hands. Since the battle at Charleston, some conjecture the destruction of this Town is intended, for what purpose can' t determine. We are now got to the beginning of August, and nothing turns up in favour of America. The general talk now is, that the English Troops are going to leave this Town. This seems evident, from several things that are taking place, viz: General Gage' s family are going to England; Messrs˙ Auchmuty, Sewall, &c˙, and others of that stamp, are going, some to England and elsewhere. I am pretty confident the Army can' t be supported in this Town the ensuing winter. Provisions scarce and bad; no fuel nor money. People are jealous they will plunder and demolish the Town when they go off. Last week there was a notification posted up, that all those who were desirous to leave the Town, to give in their names to James Urquhart, Town-Major; and in two days time upwards of two thousand entered their names, and passes are now granted, with this addition to the former restriction, viz: no plate of any kind, nor more money than five Pounds sterling. The route is by way of Winnisimit. Several have gone off, by which means I have an opportunity of writing you. I have it in my mind to go to Mr˙ Little' s, at Newbury, in case I can accomplish it. I shall place somebody in the house, in order to secure your effects, which I wish you had taken with you, or disposed of them before you went away. I have been jealous they will be seized, for they have served several persons that have left the Town after this sort. This has given me great anxiety. On the receipt of this, endeavour to write me your mind. Mr˙ Welles, the mason, lives at Chelsea, by which means a letter may be conveyed; be cautious what you write. This will facilitate my intentions, and if you want any thing to be sent among our things, it can be done. I shall depend on your assistance and advice. If I can go to Newbury through Andover, will call and see you in our way. Not knowing where Captain Little may be, I write him, and enclose you to forward, which I desire you to do with all speed.

The dysentary has prevailed in this Town, and been very mortal, especially among children, also among the soldiers, of whom near thirty are buried in a week, as the sextons say. Doctor Byles, Senior, buried his wife last Wednesday. No bells are permitted to toll for any funerals, on account of the sickness and mortality among the soldiers. Out of ninety officers wounded, above half have died; several persons of figure and character, viz: one Colonel and three Majors. There is no harmony.

Lately arrived a vessel from New-Providence, by which I heard of your brother' s welfare, but no letter. Others inform me he is in a poor state of health, and inclined to a consumption; have wrote him several letters by vessels lately gone for provisions for the Army and Navy. I am fearful what I shall hear from him. My determination


depends on hearing from you, which I desire may be as soon as possible. I intend to propose to Mr˙ Keif, or some other suitable person, to take the house, in case I leave Boston. Shall take the best care I can of your furniture, but if the Town is to be demolished, it will be needless. The custom of the shop has been but trifling; some days scarce a penny. The Light-House was burnt, as it is said, by order of the Continental Congress, and in return for that compliment, they are dismounting Castle William — I believe for want of men to defend it. Since April 19, there have died of the Army, including what were slain in battle, June 17, near two thousand five hundred, so that what Troops have arrived will not make good their loss. But I dare not enlarge. Our anxiety at times has been great for you as well as ourselves. We constantly bear you on our minds, and remember you in our prayers to Almighty God, and hope the best of covenant blessings will be the portion for you and your consort.

We are your affectionate,

B˙ N˙ A.

Died in the Town, June 5, John Borland, Esq˙; June 22, Eliakim Hutchinson, Esq˙, of the small-pox; July 12, Philip Cooke; July 14, John Cotton, Esq˙, Deputy Secretary; July 23, wife of Doctor Byles, Sen˙, Ruth Bulfinch, 79, Andrew Faneuil Phillips.

P˙ S˙ Since I finished this letter, passes are denied to men, without special leave.

Seal the enclosed, and forward.