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Letter from the Committee for Newburyport to the Massachusetts Council


Newburyport, February 24, 1776.

The Committee of Safety, Correspondence, and Inspection, of Newburyport, beg leave to acknowledge the receipt last evening of a resolve of the honourable General Court, passed the 8th of this present month, appointing them, "with


Captain Jeremiah Obrien, a Committee to prepare, and, in all respects, equip and man, with fifty men each, including officers, the Sloop Machias Liberty and Schooner Diligent, now lying at Newburyport," &c. The Committee, with pleasure, will undertake and perform all in their power, and can engage to purchase the necessary articles wanted, except gunpowder. Of that essential article they, with reluctance, say, not a cask can be procured here at any rate.

The pressing demands of this town have called for every exertion in their power to raise moneys, notwithstanding the town is greatly in debt, not being able to furnish enough to pay the necessary current services. Therefore, to make it possible to comply with the aforesaid resolve, the Committee humbly hope the honourable Council will furnish them, by the bearer, (Captain Michael Hodge, one of their members,) with as much money as the present occasion calls for, which, by a moderate calculation, for two months' cruise only, with the fixing the vessels, will amount to five hundred pounds, lawful money, exclusive of the cost of gunpowder, (which is not to be had here,) and of which Captain Obrien thinks there ought to be five hundred pounds weight, besides one hundred and twenty pounds now on board. The Committee apprehend that the fifty men for each vessel, or any considerable number of them, cannot be found in this town, owing to a large number being in the Continental Army, and to several privateers out on cruises. Captain Obrien says he can make up the deficiency in the eastward harbour, if your Honours think it proper to let him depart hence without his full complement. As Captain Obrien must probably collect his men from thence, and his present officers, whom be approves of, may be most agreeable to such men, the Committee hope the honourable Council will excuse them from recommending said officers, for this reason only, that they are entire strangers to them.

Per order of the Committee:

TRISTRAM DALTON, Chairman pro tempore.

To the Honourable the Council of the Colony of Massachusetts-Bay.