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General Gage to Lord Dartmouth



At Sea, October 15, 1775.

It will give me pleasure, as I think it my duty, to send your Lordship every hint or intelligence that can be of use at this important crisis; nor am I disposed to do it in a secret manner, as it behooves every man, in such times as these, to declare his sentiments openly. People agree, now, that there has been a scheme for a revolt from the Mother Country, long conceived, between those who have most influence in the American councils, which has been preparing the people' s minds, by degrees, for events that at first view they regarded with horrour and detestation. If the Boston Port Bill had not furnished a pretext for rebellion, something else would have brought it forward. Unfortunately, few could believe it possible for them to prevail with the people to rise, and to the last the friends of Government assured them it was only threats and menaces, meant to intimidate. Misfortune has arisen from this incredulity; for the Rebels have been prepared to exercise their plan, while the Government, not apprehensive of so general a revolt, has been unprepared to oppose it. The conduct of the leaders on the 19th of April evinced their


intention to begin hostilities; and had they not commenced then, they would only have been deferred. Your Lordship has a perfect idea of the transactions of that day, which were so far unlucky as it put an immediate stop to supplies of every kind. Otherwise, our magazines would have been better filled.

I am convinced that the promoters of the rebellion have no real desire of peace, unless they have a carte blanche. Their whole conduct has been one scene of fallacy, duplicity, and dissimulation, by which they have duped many well inclined people. Your Lordship will judge if the last petition of the Congress to the King is to be relied upon; and yet we are told that this petition was obtained by the most moderate of the members with great difficulty, and after very long debate. There has been much heat and division in the Congress, and a jealousy of the New-England members; and I am told it was owing to jealousy that Washington was appointed to the command of the Rebel Army, in which there is much discontent. Lee is neither respected nor esteemed among them, though it is said that he is supported by the Boston rulers in opposition to Washington; and that he is for making an attack, without delay, upon the troops; but that the rest think it too desperate an undertaking. The Rebel forces are well fed, but in general ill clothed and badly paid, though paper money has been issued to them lately. The credit of the paper is now kept up by force, and I have not heard that any plan has been fixed upon to redeem it.

They give out that they expect peace on their own terms, through the inability of Britain to contend with them; and it is no wonder that such reports gain credit with the people, when letters from England and English newspapers give so much encouragement to rebellion. Many people are of the opinion that the Rebels will not hold together another year; but, though the Country will be very greatly distressed, and the people tired of the work, I will take the liberty to say, that from their presumption, arrogance, and encouragement from England, we can rely on nothing but our force to procure even decent terms of peace; and that if it was ever necessary to obtain peace through the means of war, it is highly so in the present juncture. I transmit to your Lordship a packet of letters that were picked out from a number of papers scattered about Cushing' s house. They contain no intelligence of present transactions, but show the nature of the correspondence that the two Lees, Dr˙ Franklin, and others, kept up with the leaders of this rebellion.