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Letter from General Washington to the Pennsylvania Associators



Head Quarters, August 8, 1776.

GENTLEMEN: I had fully resolved to pay you a visit in New Jersey, if the movements of the enemy, and some late intelligence, indicating an early attack, had not induced me to suspend it. Allow me, therefore, to address you in this mode, as fellow-citizens and fellow-soldiers engaged in the same glorious cause; to represent to you that the fate of your country depends, in all human probability, on the exertion of a few weeks; that it is of the utmost importance to


keep up a respectable force for that time; and there can be no doubt that success will crown our efforts, if we firmly and resolutely determine to conquer or die. I have placed so much confidence in the spirit and zeal of the Associated Troops of Pennsylvania, that I cannot persuade myself an impatience to return home, or a less honourable motive, will defeat my well-grounded expectation that they will do their country essential service at this critical time, when the powers of despotism are all combined against it, and ready to strike their most decisive stroke. If I could allow myself to doubt


your spirit and perseverance, I should represent the ruinous consequences of your leaving the service, by setting before you the discouragement it would give the Army, the confusion and shame of our friends, and the still more galling triumph of our enemies; but as I have no such doubts, I shall only thank you for the spirit and ardour you have shown in so readily marching to meet the enemy, and am most confident you will crown it by a glorious perseverance. The honour and safety of our bleeding country, and every other motive that can influence the brave and heroick patriot, call loudly upon us to acquit ourselves with spirit. In short, we must now determine to be enslaved or free. If we make freedom our choice, we must obtain it by the blessing of Heaven on our united and vigorous efforts.

I salute you, gentlemen, most affectionately, and beg leave to remind you that liberty, honour, and safety, are all at stake; and I trust Providence will smile upon our efforts, and establish us once more the inhabitants of a free and happy country.

I am, gentlemen, your most humble servant,

To the Officers and Soldiers of the Pennsylvania Association.