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Timothy Pickering to the Committee of Safety of Massachusetts



Salem, May 10, 1775.

GENTLEMEN: It appearing highly expedient that a Regiment should be formed from Salem and its environs, with a view to serve the general cause, I took the liberty of recommending Colonel Mansfield and Captain Hutchinson Colonel and Lieutenant-Colonel of it. They then appeared to me the most, suitable persons that could be found willing to fill these places, and I am still of the same opinion. I should not give you any further trouble about the matter, if I did not think Colonel Hutchinson was suffering unjustly by means of Colonel Herrick; the latter, as Mr˙ Hutchinson informs me, declared himself well pleased with his appointment, and heartily, in appearance, congratulated him upon it; and yet, with might and main is now endeavouring to supplant him, and he builds his hopes of succeeding, it seems, not upon Colonel Hutchinson' s inefficiency, nor upon his own superiour ability and merit, but upon a foundation which a man of honour, I think, would reject with disdain: Colonel Herrick, truly, has friends in Court: an admirable plea for his advancement; incontestable evidence of his merit! I should not have opened my lips to Colonel Herrick' s disadvantage, had he not, in a manner which appears to me most ungenerous, endeavoured to supplant Colonel Hutchinson, and otherwise treated him with great incivility, to use a gentle word. What I have said, gentlemen, is grounded wholly upon Colonel Hutchinson' s account of the matter; but from the manners and character of the gentleman, I cannot suffer myself to doubt his veracity. Nevertheless, if I am misinformed, I will readily ask Colonel Herrick' s pardon. I should not, gentlemen, have presumed to intrude myself upon you, if Colonel Hutchinson himself had had an opportunity of laying the affair before you; but as he failed of this, I thought myself bound in justice to support him, and to express my indignation, and to bear my testimony against the indecent attack by which a post well deserved, and fairly obtained, was attempted to be wrested from him. This letter, if it comes to Colonel Herrick' s knowledge, will doubtless offend him; but if it be necessary to expose it, I do not wish it should be concealed. Yet I am desirous of the friendship of all men; but in the innocency and integrity of my heart, I wrote my first letter in favour of Colonel, Hutchinson and Colonel Mansfield; in the same spirit I have written this, and if a gentleman is offended with me for doing my duty, I can bear his resentment or reproaches with patience. I had like to have forgot to add, though it is of importance, and what, for the good of the common cause, I am bound to say, that it is probable the Regiment will be much dissatisfied if the Lieutenant-Colonel be displaced; and one Company, I am informed, have already expressed great uneasiness about it. I am, gentlemen, your most obedient servant,


To the Committee of Safety.