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General Washington to Governour Cooke



Cambridge, December 20, 1775.

SIR: The letter accompanying this was written before your favour of the 19th, per express, came to hand. Under my present instructions, and in my present situation, I could not justify the sending a regiment from these lines to you, unless there was an apparent design of landing a body of Ministerial troops on Rhode-Island. At present, I do not think this is to be apprehended, as a deserter out of Boston, since my last, is particular in declaring that only four companies, amounting to little more than four hundred men, embarked, as was said, for Halifax; agreeing with others that invalids, and the officers of the Eighteenth and Fifty-Ninth Regiments, who are going home to recruit, had sailed for England.

The intention of my last, containing the information as it was received, was only designed to put you upon your guard, not that I expected a visit was intended you. If any small body of troops move from hence southerly I have no expectation of their stopping short of Virginia, unless it should be on a pillaging party. To conclude, sir, when I inform you that I have been obliged to call in five thousand militia to supply the deficiency of the Connecticut regiments and those absent upon furlough, you will do me the justice to believe that not a want of inclination but of ability, prevents me from complying with your request; unless, as is before observed, I had some obvious reasons to believe the visit of more men than we are well assured are embarked, was intended for your Government.

I am, with very great esteem and regard, sir, &c˙,


To Governour Cooke, Rhode-Island,