Primary tabs

Letter from Josiah Bartlett to the New-Hampshire Congress



Philadelphia, November 13, 1775.

GENTLEMEN: Enclosed I transmit to you the letter directed to the Speaker of our House of Assembly. I suppose it came from England, sent by the agents who presented the late petition of Congress. By it you will be able to guess what will be the fate of that petition.

I also send you a duplicate of the vote of Congress concerning our civil affairs. The first copy of the vote was sent November 6th. Yesterday Captain Langdon set off on his journey to Canada, so that I am left here alone to act in behalf of our Colony. I don' t expect him here any more during this session of the Congress.

When the Congress will rise, can' t say; but fear it can' t till winter, if it can before spring. The affair of the ships taken at Portsmouth has not been considered by Congress, by reason of urgent business; but I expect soon that that and several other captures will be taken under consideration, and some general rules adopted. When any thing is determined on it, will inform you by the first opportunity.

I am directed by the Congress to send you the enclosed resolves for making saltpetre, and I would earnestly recommend the putting them in practice. It appears, from several experiments in this Colony, that the surface of the earth that has been for some years kept from the rain will produce saltpetre. The floor of a meeting-house being taken up, the earth under it produced one pound from every bushel; under barns, stables, &c˙, much more. There appears to be no more art in making it than in making potash. When the liquor is properly boiled, and put into pans to cool, it shoots and sticks to the bottom and sides very beautifully. The liquor may then be easily drained off, and either boiled over again or put on another mash. Though probably the Continent will be well supplied with powder in the spring, yet it is best by all means to put it out of the power of our enemies to defeat us of


that necessary article, by supplying ourselves, and if we have a double or treble quantity it will be no damage, and in future save our cash from being sent abroad after it.

I am, Gentlemen, your humble servant,


The Committee of Safety, New-Hampshire.