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General Wooster to President of Congress



(Read March 4. — Referred to Mr˙ J˙ Adams, Mr˙ Wythe, Mr˙ Sherman.]

Montreal, February 11, 1776.

GENTLEMEN: This letter will be delivered you by Mr˙ Walker and Mr˙ Price, two gentlemen whose friendship and attachment to our cause is well known, and to whom the United Colonies are under many obligations. As they are the best acquainted with this Province of, perhaps, any two gentlemen in it, and as there are many transactions of great importance to be determined concerning it, I have requested them to wait upon the Congress, that you may know from them fully every thing necessary for your information.

I have permitted the merchants in this place, trading to the upper country, to choose a committee to prefer a petition to the honourable the Congress, concerning their Indian trade. You will have from them, and from Messrs˙ Walker and Price, what can be said for and against it; and your determinations in that, and every other matter, I shall strictly attend to.

Besides the operations of war, there are so many civil and political affairs that require the greatest care, and most delicate management, that I could wish a Committee of Congress might be sent into this Province.

General Arnold has, in a most surprising manner, kept up the blockade of Quebeck, and that with half the number of the enemy. He is now so well reinforced, that I apprehend but little danger from a sortie, should they make one. I intend to join him as soon as this place can be left with safety, and necessaries properly provided for forwarding the troops as they arrive from the Colonies. I fear we shall meet with difficulty in taking the place, for want of proper artillery, ammunition, &c˙, but every thing possible will be done. Unless we keep up a greater force in this Province, from the Colonies, than should be brought against us in the Spring, I fear we can place no great dependance upon the Canadians; and, in that case, it might be attended with very unhappy, if not fatal consequences. How great, a force the Ministry will send here is uncertain, yet many imagine they will make this Province the seat of war. I hope we shall be able to keep the field against them.

I enclose you copies of several letters to General Schuyler, with a couple of his to me. He writes me that he had observed to Congress that I had wrote him with unbecoming subacity. I think he might have pointed out to me the exceptionable parts of my letters, before he made his observations to Congress. It gives me pain that I am obliged, in my own defence, to trouble you with examining and determining which of us has the greatest reason to complain of ill treatment. I am conscious that my conduct


will bear the strictest scrutiny. I have ever studiously avoided entering into any altercation with him, fearing that the publick interest might suffer by it. He began to insult me immediately on my joining the Army, as you will see by his letter of the 23d of October last, though I know of no reason under Heaven why he should treat me thus cavalierly, but merely to indulge his capricious humour, which, in the course of the last year, he has dealt out very liberally upon many of the officers who have served in this Department, complaints of which have frequently been made to me. Happy would it be for him, and for our cause, if he could learn to bridle his passions. The letters between him and me will speak for themselves. I shall send him a copy of this letter, and also enclose with this a copy of my letter to him, of this date. No personal ill treatment will ever prevent my steadily and invariably continuing to pursue those measures which shall appear most conducive to the publick good, and shall think myself happy, if, by doing every thing in my power, I can be in the least instrumental in maintaining and preserving the rights and liberties of my country.

I am, with the greatest respect, gentlemen, your most obedient and very humble servant,


To the Honourable Continental Congress.