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Doctor Church' s Intercepted Letter


[No˙ 2.]


I hope this will reach you. Three attempts have I made without success. In effecting the last, the man was discovered in attempting his escape; but fortunately my letter was sewed in the waistband of his breeches. He was confined a few days, during which time you may guess my feelings; but a little art and a little cash settled the matter.


' Tis a month since my return from Philadelphia; I went by the way of Providence, to visit mother. The Committee for warlike stores made me a formal tender of twelve pieces of cannon, eighteen and twenty-four pounders; they having taken a previous resolution to make the offer to Gen˙ Ward. To make a merit of my services, I sent them down; and when they received them, they sent them to Stoughton, to be out of danger, even though they had formed the resolution, as I before hinted, of fortifying Bunker' s Hill, which, together with the cowardice of the clumsy Colonel Gerrish and Colonel Scammons, was the lucky occasion of their defeat. This affair happened before my return from Philadelphia. We lost one hundred and sixty-five killed then, and since dead of their wounds; one hundred and twenty now lie wounded; the chief will recover. They boast you have fourteen hundred killed and wounded in that action. You say the Rebels lost fifteen hundred, I suppose with equal truth. The people of Connecticut are raving in the cause of liberty. A number from this Colony, from the Town of Stamford, robbed the King' s stores at New-York, with some small assistance the New-Yorkers lent them; these were growing turbulent. I counted two hundred and eighty pieces of cannon, from twenty-four to three-pounders, at Kingsbridge, which the Committee had secured for the use of the Colonies. The Jerseys are not a whit behind Connecticut in zeal. The Philadelphians exceed them both. I saw twenty-two hundred men in review there by General Lee, consisting of Quakers and other inhabitants, in uniform, with one thousand Riflemen and forty Horse, who, together, made a most warlike appearance. I mingled freely and frequently with the members of the Continental Congress; they were united, determined in opposition, and appeared assured of success. Now, to come home. The opposition is become formidable. Eighteen thousand men, brave and determined, with Washington and Lee at their head, are no contemptible enemy. Adjutant Gen˙ Gates is indefatigable in arranging the Army. Provisions are very plenty; clothes are manufacturing in almost every Town for the soldiers. Twenty tons of powder lately arrived at Philadelphia, Connecticut, and Providence; upwards of twenty tons are now in camp. Saltpetre is made in every Colony. Powder Mills are erected, and constantly employed, in Philadelphia and New-York. Volunteers, of the first fortunes, are daily flocking to the camp; one thousand Riflemen in two or three days. Recruits are now levying, to augment the Army to twenty-two thousand men. Ten thousand Militia are appointed in this Government, to appear on the first summons. The bills of all the Colonies circulate freely, and are readily exchanged for cash; add to this, that unless some plan of accommodation takes place immediately, these harbours will swarm with privateers; an army will be raised in the Middle Provinces, to take possession of Canada. For the sake of the miserable convulsed Empire, solicit peace, repeal the acts, or Britain is undone. This advice is the result of warm affection to my King and to the Realm. Remember I never deceived you; every article here sent you is sacredly true. The papers will announce to you that I am again a Member for Boston; you will there see our motley Council. A general arrangement of officers will take place, except the chief, which will be suspended but for a little while, to see what part Britain takes in consequence of the late Continental petition. A view to independence grows more and more general. Should Britain declare war against the Colonies, they are lost forever. Should Spain declare against England, the Colonies will declare a neutrality, which will doubtless produce an offensive and defensive league between them. For God' s sake, prevent it by a speedy accommodation. Writing this has employed a day. I have been to Salem to reconnoitre, but could not escape the geese in the capitol; to-morrow I set out for Newport, on purpose to send you this. I write you fully, it being scarcely possible to escape discovery. I am out of place here, by choice, and therefore out of pay, and determined to be so unless something is offered in my way. I wish you could contrive to write me largely in cipher, by the way of Newport, addressed to Thomas Richards, merchant. Enclose it in a cover to me, intimating that I am a perfect stranger to you; but being recommended to you as a gentleman of honour, you took the liberty to enclose that letter, entreating me to deliver


it as directed; the person, as you are informed, being at Cambridge. Sign some fictitious name. This you may send to some confidential friend at Newport, to be delivered to me at Watertown. Make use of every precaution, or I perish.

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