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Benedict Arnold to the Continental Congress



Crown Point, June 13,1775.

GENTLEMEN: As commanding officer here, I think it my duty to acquaint you that having lately sent one Mr˙ Hoit, an Indian interpreter, to Montreal and Caughnawaga, to consult with some gentlemen of my acquaintance in the former place, and with the Indians in the latter, to know their intentions in the present dispute, he has returned with the agreeable intelligence that the Indians are determined not to assist, the King' s Troops against us. They have made a law, that if any one of their tribe shall take up arms for that purpose, he shall immediately be put to death; this is confirmed by five of their chief men, who are now here with their wives and children, and press very hard for our Army to march into Canada, being much disgusted with the Regulars. The Stockbridge Indians, whom I lately sent to them with a belt of wampum and speech, confirm the above. My friend in Montreal, a merchant and gentleman of probity, writes that I may depend on the truth of the above, and that great numbers of the Canadians have expected a visit from us for some time, and are very impatient of our delay, as they are determined to join us whenever we appear in the Country with any force to support them. This I am confirmed in by a party of the Canadians, having just returned from a short excursion to the Isle-au-Noix, (Nut-Island,) where a number of them offer to join us.

Governour Carleton, by every artifice, has been able to raise only about twenty Canadians, and those of the, noblesse, who are in expectation of places of profit or honour. He is now at Montreal, and has threatened the English merchants, if they will not defend it in case of an attack, he will set fire to the city and retreat to Quebeck. There are now in Canada, of the Seventh and Twenty-Sixth Regiments, only five hundred and fifty effective men, who are quartered in the following manner: At St˙ John' s and Chamblee, three hundred; at Montreal, forty; at Lachine, twelve; at Trois Rivieres, forty; at Quebeck, one hundred and twenty; and some small parties at out-posts. From the foregoing matters of fact, which you may rely are undoubted, and from my personal knowledge of the country and disposition of the Canadians, I beg leave to observe, that if the honourable Congress should think proper to take possession of Montreal and Quebeck, I am positive two thousand men might very easily effect it; for which purpose I beg leave to recommend the following plan of operations.

The men to embark at Crown Point and proceed in the sloop, schooner, batteaus, &c˙, to within two miles of St˙ John' s; seventeen hundred men to form a grand division, of which one thousand to proceed directly to Montreal; the other division of seven hundred to cut off the communication between St˙ John' s, Chamblee, and Montreal, and the remainder to remain with the shipping to secure our retreat, who will be able, by a diversion in favour of the main body, until they show themselves off Montreal, whose gates, on our arrival at that place, will be opened by our friends there, in consequence of a plan for that purpose already entered into by them. Of course Chamblee and St˙ John' s must fall into our hands, as well as Quebeck, unless a number of troops should arrive there before this plan can be carried into execution, the utility of which the honourable Congress will be the best judges. But I must beg to observe, it appears to me the reduction of those places would discourage the enemies of American liberty, and, in a great degree, frustrate their cruel and unjust plan of operation, and be the means of restoring that solid peace and harmony between Great Britain and her Colonies, so essential to the well being of both; at least if will, in my humble opinion, be more advantageous, and attended with less expense, to reduce Quebeck and keep possession, where provisions of every kind are plenty, and a strong fortress built to our hand, than rebuilding Ticonderoga, as it will entirely deprive Great Britain of the lucrative branch, (the fur trade,) and be an inexhaustible granary in case we are


reduced to want, as there are annually shipped From Quebeck five hundred thousand bushels of wheat. I hope the exigency of the times, and my zeal in the service of my Country, will apologize for the liberty of giving my sentiments so freely on a subject which the honourable Congress are doubtless the best judges of, but which they in their hurry may not have paid that attention to the matter requires. I beg leave to add, that if no person appears who will undertake to carry the plan into execution, (if thought advisable,) I will undertake, and, with the smiles of Heaven, answer for the success of it, provided I am supplied with men, &c˙, to carry it into, execution without loss of time. I must beg leave to refer you to the bearer, Captain Oswald, for particulars, who is entrusted with an imperfect memorandum of such articles as are most wanted.

I have the honour to be, with the greatest respect, gentlemen, your most devoted humble servant,


To the Honourable the Continental Congress, now sitting at Philadelphia.

P˙ S˙ The American Colonies in general are equally in danger from Canada, whether it remain in the bands of Britain, under the present form of its Government, or should be restored to the French, which many suspect is intended by the Ministry in England. But should Canada be placed under a free Government, agreeable to the English Constitution, like the other Colonies, we should forever after be secure from any danger that way, as it would ever remain an English Colony, even though by the treachery of the British Ministry it should be given up to France; so that this measure, though at first view it might seem like going beyond our own province to invade the rights of Great Britain, yet a due regard to our own defence, as well as the advantage of the inhabitants of that Country, makes it necessary.

B˙ A˙


Propose, in order to give satisfaction to the different Colonies, that Colonel Hinman' s Regiment, now on their march from Connecticut to Ticonderoga, should form part of the Army — say one thousand men; 500 do˙ to be sent from New-York, including one company of one hundred men of the train of artillery, properly equipped; 500 do˙ B˙ Arnold' s Regiment, including seamen and marines on board the vessels: (no Green Mountain Boys.) The men, as many as can be, to be supplied with bayonets, cartridge-boxes, and powder-horns: 2 able engineers: 2 good armourers and tools: 100 tents and markees: 1000 blankets, one Regiment being already provided: proper camp-equipage, kettles, cups, &c˙, for one thousand men: 4 brass field-pieces and carriages furnished: two 7 & 8-inch brass mortars, do˙: shells and shot of every kind for do˙: 2000 pounds of gunpowder: 300 shovels and spades: 200 hoes: 200 pickaxes: 200 narrow do˙: 50 broad do˙: 500 hatchets: 50 hand-saws, sorted: 10 crosscut do˙: 10 whip do˙: 5 reams of cartridge paper: 10 pieces of raven' s duck for sails: 50 pounds of sewing twine: needles, palms, &c˙: match stuff, slow: 6 sets of house and ship carpenter' s tools: 6 sets of harness for horses: necessary provisions for two thousand men for two months.