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Joseph Hawley to the Honourable Joseph Warren



Northampton, June 9, 1775.

DEAR SIR: In my letter sent yesterday in great haste, I suggested some broken hints respecting Ticonderoga. I am still in agonies for the greatest possible despatch to secure that pass. I don' t call it an acquisition, for it don' t merit that epithet; nor can it, until more is done for maintaining it than I have yet heard of. It is clear that it is necessary we should take precisely the same measures for retaining that post, as if the country of Canada was in the full possession of the French. Nay, I believe we have more to fear from that quarter than if France alone held Canada. I think there is much reason to apprehend that Britain and France will, and do act jointly against America, and nothing more probable than that they design, in their partition of America, that the Province of Quebeck, as lately defined, shall be ceded or given up to France. I most heartily wish that every member of our Congress, yea, every inhabitant of the Province, had a true idea of the infinite importance and consequence of that station. If Britain, while they are in hostility against New-England, hold that post, they will, by means thereof, be able to do more to vanquish and subdue us from that quarter, than they will be able to do in all other parts of the continent; yea, more than they could do in all other parts of the globe. If Britain should regain and hold that place, they will be able soon to harass and waste, by the savages, all the borders of New-England, eastwards of Hudson' s River and southeast of Lake Champlain and the River St˙ Lawrence, and shortly, by the Lake Champlain, to march an army to Hudson' s River, to subdue the feeble and sluggish efforts of the inhabitants on that river, and so to connect Montreal and New-York; and then New-England will be wholly environed by sea and land, east, west, north, and south. The chain of the Colonies will be entirely and irreparably broken; the whole Province of New-York will be fully taken into the interest of Administration; and this very pass of Ticonderoga is the post and spot where all this mischief may be withstood and resisted; but if that is relinquished or taken from us, desolation must come in upon us like a flood. I am bold to say, (for I can maintain it,) that the General Congress would have not advised to so destructive a measure, if they had recommended and prescribed that our whole Army, which now invests Boston, should instantly decamp, and inarch with all the baggage and artillery to Worcester, and suffer Gage' s Army to ravage what


part of the country they pleased. Good God! what could be their plan. If they intend defence, they must be unacquainted with the geography of the country, or never adverted to the matter. The design of seizing that post was gloriously conceived; but to what purpose did our forces light there, if they are now to fly away from there. Certainly to no good purpose, but to very bad and destructive purposes; for by this step General Carleton is alarmed. Whereas if this step had not been taken, his proceedings might have been slow and with some leisure; but now, if he is worthy of command, he will exert himself to the utmost, and proceed with despatch. If we maintain the post, the measure of taking it was glorious. If we abandon it, the step will turn out to have been a destructive one.

I am informed that Connecticut have ordered five hundred men for that place. What number they have proposed that this Province should send, I have not heard. I hope that a moment' s time will not be lost before a proper number get on their way thither, if it is possible that they can be furnished with so much ammunition as will make them of any service when they shall arrive there. I shan' t presume to say any more, what more I conceive to be fittest for this service; perhaps I went too far on that head in my last. Instead of seeing men march eastward from the County of Berkshire, (as they have within these two days.) I hope to see some marching westward for Ticonderoga. I think it would be best to importune Connecticut to spare some more gunpowder to that place, we paying them for a part or all of it, as they have had a late arrival of at least two tons since they sent five hundred pounds for that place. All that I can say on that head is, that they and we must do as well as we can. As to supplies of victuals, there can be no difficulty of procuring a sufficiency on Hudson' s River and in Berkshire County, if proper persons, with the needful, are appointed for that purpose.

I think, Sir, that Connecticut have good pretensions to appoint the commanding or chief officer there, and hope, Sir, that we shall not make any difficulty about it, but fully cede that prerogative to them.

I purpose to set out for Congress the day after to-morrow; but as the case of Ticonderoga calls for the greatest despatch, I could not endure the loss of a day before I communicated more of my mind to you. You will use these hints, Sir, as you please.

I am, Sir, with great truth and best regards, your Honour' s friend and most humble servant,


Honourable Joseph Warren, Esq˙, at Watertown.