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General Greene to Governour Ward



Prospect-Hill, October 16, 1775.

It gives me great pleasure to hear that the troops from Rhode-Island stand as high in publick esteem as the troops of the neighbouring Colonies. I have spared no pains, night or day, to teach them their duty. How far I have succeeded, I leave to his Excellency to say. Col˙ Varnum and Col˙ Hitchcock are excellent disciplinarians˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ knows nothing about it, and never will.

With regard to paying the troops part of their wages, and the Committee part, it will be productive of a multitude of inconveniences. The Colonels can regain part of their wages for their families at home; the people may give orders to those who supply their families, to receive


it. This will give less dissatisfaction, and answer every salutary purpose. A man from each Town or County may undertake to supply the families of those that are engaged in the Army. The Colonels are the best judges of the prudence and good economy of their soldiers; those who behave well, and make a prudent use of their money, want no agent, for they will receive monthly payments, and such parts as they can spare for the support of their families can easily be conveyed home. As the troops are considered Continental, and not Colonial, there must be some systematical plan for their payment, without any reference to any particular Colonies; otherwise, they will be partly Continental and part Colonial.

His Excellency has a great desire to banish every idea of local attachments. It is next to impossible to unhinge the prejudices that people have for places and things which they have long been connected with. But the fewer of those local attachments which discover themselves in our plan for establishing the Army, the more satisfactory it must be to the Southern people. For my part, I feel the cause, and not the place. I would as soon go to Virginia as stay here. I can assure the gentlemen to the southward, that there could not be any thing more abhorrent to ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ , than an union of these Colonies for the purpose of conquering those of the South.

The pay and provision of the troops cannot be lowered at present; they do not feel themselves under a necessity to enter the service for the support of themselves and families, and, therefore, would refuse to enlist again. This might produce a recess at the termination of their present enlistment, which would be dangerous to the liberties of America. At some future period, if the people are obliged to resort to the Army for employment, such a measure might be prudent and practical, but by no means at present.

The Committee from the Congress arrived last evening, and I had the honour to be introduced to that very great man, Doctor Franklin, whom I viewed with silent admiration during the whole evening. Attention watched his lips, and conviction closed his periods. Colonel Harris is a very facetious, good humoured, sensible, spirited gentleman; he appears to be calculated for military employment. Mr˙ Lynch was much fatigued, and said but little, but appeared sensible in his inquiries and observations. You may depend upon our paying the gentlemen every mark of respect mid attention during their stay.

I had the pleasure to hear from your son, Samuel, the 26th of September; he was at Fort Western; just going to set off on their journey, all in health and good spirits. I had the same apprehensions with regard to Samuel' s health and strength to endure the fatigues of such a campaign, as you had. I advised him to decline it; but the heat of youth, and the thirst of glory, surmounted every obstacle, and rendered reasoning vain, and persuasion fruitless. Col˙ Christopher Greene is gone with him; his going made me the more readily consent to your son' s going. I gave the Colonel a particular charge to lend him a helping hand in every case of difficulty, and he promised that his aid never should be wanting.

By several letters from Quebeck, things wear a promising appearance there. If the expedition succeeds, and we get possession of Canada, we shall effectually shut the back door against them; and I make no doubt of keeping them from entering at the front. You may depend on my influence to obtain Charles a commission in the new establishment.