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Letter from General Washington to Governour Cooke: The Town of Newport should not be permitted to supply Captain Wallace' s Ships with Provisions



Cambridge, January 6, 1776.

SIR: I received your favour of the 1st instant, and return you my thanks for the blankets, and your promise of having more procured, as they are much wanted. I did not see Mr˙ Earl, who brought them, nor the account, or


the money should have been transmitted you by his return. You will please to draw on the Quartermaster-General, and it shall be immediately paid. I have seen General Lee since his expedition, and hope that Rhode-Island will derive some advantage from it. I am told that Captain Wallace' s ships have been supplied, for some time, with provisions by the town of Newport, on certain, conditions, stipulated between him and the Committee. When this treaty first obtained, perhaps it was right — there then might have been some hopes of an accommodation taking place; but now, when every prospect of it seems to be cut off by His Majesty' s late speech; when the Throne, from which we had supplicated redress, breathes forth vengeance and indignation, and a firm determination to remain uaalterable in its purposes, and to prosecute the system and plan of ruin formed by the Ministry against us, should not an end be put to it, and every possible method be fallen upon to prevent their getting necessaries of any kind? We need not expect to conquer our enemies by good offices, and I know not what pernicious consequences may result from a precedent of this sort. Other places, circumstanced as Newport is, may follow the example, and, by that means, their whole fleet and army will be furnished with what it highly concerns us to keep them from; this, however, with all deference, I leave to your consideration.

I received a letter from Governour Trumbull, of the 1st instant, by which I am informed, that the Connecticut Assembly are very unanimous in the common cause; and, among others, have passed an act for raising and equipping a fourth of their Militia, to be immediately selected by voluntary inlistments, with such other able, effective men, as are not included in their militia-rolls, who inclined to inlist, to act as Minute-Men, for their own, or the defence of any of the United Colonies, and this under proper encouragements. Another act, for restraining and punishing persons inimical to us, and directing proceedings therein; no person to supply the Ministerial army or navy, to give them intelligence, to inlist, or procure others to inlist, in their service, to pilot their vessels, or in any way assist them, under pain of forfeiting his estate, and an imprisonment not exceeding three years; none to write, speak, or act against the proceedings of Congress, or their acts of Assembly, under penalty of being disarmed, and disqualified from holding any office, and be further punished by imprisonment. For seizing and confiscating, for the use of the Colony, the estates of those who put or continue to shelter themselves under the protection of the Ministerial fleet or army, or assist in carrying on their measures against us. A resolve to provide two armed vessels, of sixteen and fourteen guns, with a spy schooner of four, and six row-galleys. An act exempting the polls of soldiers from taxes, for the last and ensuing campaign. Another for encouraging the making of saltpetre and gunpowder; a considerable quantity of both, Mr˙ Trumbull hopes to make early in the Spring. He says, the furnace at Middletown is smelting lead, and likely to turn out twenty or thirty tons, and that ore is plenty. They have, also, passed an act, empowering the Comrnander-in-chief of the Continental Army, or officers commanding a detachment or out-posts, to administer an oath, and swear any person or persons to the truth of any matters concerning, and relative to, the publick service. The situation of our affairs seems to call for regulations like these, and I should think the other Colonies ought to adopt similar ones, or such of them as they have not already made. Vigorous measures, and such as, at another time, would appear extraordinary, are now become absolutely necessary for preserving our country against the strides of tyranny making against us. Governour Trumbull, in his list, has not mentioned an act for impressing carriages, and agreeable to the recommendation of Congress; this I hope they have not forgot. It is highly necessary that such an authority should be given, under proper restrictions, or we shall be greatly embarrassed, whenever the Army, or any detachment from it, should find it necessary to march from hence.

I am, sir, with very great esteem, your most obedient servant,


To Governour Cooke.


P˙ S. I have received certain intelligence of the fitting out of a fleet at Boston, of the embarkation of some troops, and that all the ships that were in Nantasket Road are gone, except two men-of-war; their destination is not known, but I am persuaded it is for the southward; I think for Long-Island or New-York.