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Massachusetts Congress to Continental Congress



In Provincial Congress, June 27, 1775.

MAY IT PLEASE YOUR HONOURS: Were you now in the Continental Army which invests Boston, it would beget unutterable vexation and torment in your hearts, to behold so large a body of so active brave men as that army consists of, insulted by the fire and blaze of the enemy' s cannon and mortars from their lines, ships, and floating batteries; and the same brave men, although possessed of divers good pieces of great ordnance, and willing, at any hazard, to improve them, yet wholly restrained from returning any fire of the kind, lest, by so doing, their little stock of gunpowder should soon be exhausted, and they reduced to the fatal necessity of laying down their arms or flying into the woods, leaving their houses to be burnt, their fields wasted; in short to give up and abandon the just claims of all America, and in effect to resign themselves and the lives of all the children of liberty in this whole Continent, to the arbitrary pleasure of a haughty Administration, instigated and influenced by enraged tories of our own breeding.

Your minds will be still more agitated and alarmed, if you knew our supplies of that article was so scanty as really to beget doubts in your minds whether the Army would be able to sustain so many attacks as we have reason soon to expect, without leaving them generally destitute of that necessary part of ammunition, even if no other expense of powder should be made in the defence than by the use of small arms. We cannot, therefore, delay one moment longer acquainting your Honours with the state of this Army in that respect, and in the most importunate manner begging your immediate attention to this matter, and that the utmost exertions be instantly made, at any hazard and expense, to procure and send to this Army all the gunpowder which can be obtained, either by manufacture, importation, seizures of the enemy' s ships, or in any other way, without stripping individuals of their private stocks for their own personal use; and that every quantity which can in any way be obtained, even if it shall not amount to more than one load for one horse carriage, be sent by land with all possible speed and safety to this Army.

We beg your Honours to realize that the force of all the British Troops in America, or destined to America, is levelled against this Army, and how shocking and terrible the effects of a defeat and dispersion of this Army would be, not only to this Colony, but to all the Continent. We feel the warmest sentiments of gratitude to your Honours for your great attention and care for the Army, expressed in your appointment of able and experienced Generals to command the same; but we beg your Honours to contemplate of what significance either officers or soldiery can be for the intent of annoying the enemy or defending the Country, without the necessary means. Besides, we ask your Honours' pardon when we pray you to consider how inexpressibly afflictive it must be to those honourable and worthy gentlemen, appointed by your Honours, to arrive at our Army, (which would be an honour to any General in Europe, if they were well supplied,) to find that they had not the necessary means of acting offensively, and the supplies


for defence so very slender, as to fill them with perpetual solicitude and even anguish of spirit, lest by defending, even with small arms, against frequent attacks, their ammunition should be wholly spent, and they constrained to turn their backs on their enemy; when, if the Army was well found with ammunition, they would be able, not merely to defend themselves and their Country, but to bear down and triumph over the enemy.

Your Honours, therefore, will be most certainly convinced that nothing can so much merit your immediate and earnest attention, as the ways and means of supplying this Army, in the speediest manner, with the article of gunpowder. We cannot find words to express the importance of this proposal with sufficient emphasis. Our all very much depends upon success in this particular, and we cannot forbear repeating our request, that whatever quantity your Honours may find it in your power in any way to avail yourselves of, whether greater or less, may be sent forward with the utmost expedition.

We humbly conceive that it cannot be by any means prudent to venture an article of this importance any part of the way by water, nor by land, without a sufficient guard, as the same is in a manner as precious as our very blood.

This Colony is making the utmost efforts, running every risk, and trying every experiment, and hesitating at no expense, to procure good supplies of the abovesaid most important article for this Army. Nothing can be more remote from the temper of this Colony than to solicit the exertions of the other parts of the Continent, with a view, in any degree, to relax or render unnecessary our own utmost assiduity and endeavour; but our foregoing importunate applications proceed only from the fullest conviction that the largest contributions which the whole Continent is capable of, and the most immediate, vigorous, and unremitted efforts of every part of our Country, will be little enough, not to say inadequate, to effect such a supply of that commodity as the exigencies of the present crisis require.

The foregoing representation has been, by order of Congress, considered by our Committee of Supplies, who fully agree that nothing therein is expressed in too strong terms, or deserves the epithet of high colouring.

We are, may it please your Honours, with the greatest esteem and deference, your most obedient servants,

Committee of Congress,

The foregoing letter is made by us as a Committee of Congress, without its having been read publickly, (for reasons which your Honours will not be at a loss about,) and this by express order of Congress.