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Lord George Germaine to Major General Howe



Whitehall, February 1, 1776.

SIR: Since my letter to you of the 5th of January, every effort has been exerted in the different Departments to bring forward the preparations for the ensuing campaign in North America; and, though the severity of the weather, almost beyond what has ever been known in this country, very much obstructs the service in the Naval Department, yet I am encouraged to hope that the reinforcement for the army under your command will be embarked before the end of March, and that the armament intended for Quebeck will be ready much sooner.

The unfortunate events which have happened in Canada make it necessary that we should not only exert every endeavour for the relief of Quebeck as early as possible, but also for having a force there ready to commence its operations as soon as the season will admit.

The great attention which the King shows, upon all occasions, to the rank and merit of his officers, would have led His Majesty to have appointed Major-General Clinton to command upon this service, under Major-General Carleton; but as His Majesty' s pleasure has been already signified that he should command the body of forces to be employed upon an expedition to the southward, and he is by this time probably sailed for Cape-Fear, in order to, wait their arrival, His Majesty has thought fit that Major General Burgoyne should act as second in command to, General Carleton in Canada, and that be should-proceed thither with the eight regiments from Ireland, which I hope will be ready to sail by the 20th of next month.

If Quebeck should fall before any relief can be got thither, and Major-General Carleton should unhappily not survive the loss of it, the King' s intentions are, that in such an event, the command of the whole of His Majesty' s forces in North America should devolve upon you. It is also His Majesty' s intentions immediately to appoint


Major-Generals Clinton, Burgoyne, Lord Percy, and Lord Cornwallis, Lieutenant-Generals in America. The old Colonels who now act as Brigadiers are to have commissions as Major-Generals, and the other Colonels will be appointed Brigadiers.

In case of Major-General Carleton' s death, it will remiain with you to dispose of the different commands as you, in your discretion, shall think fit. It will, consequently, be in your power to leave the command of the troops on the side of Canada to Major-General Burgoyne; or, if you think it more advisable, you may appoint General Clinton to that service; and it being His Majesty' s pleasure that Major-General Lord Cornwallis should be employed in Canada, he and his regiment are to be sent thither as soon as he joins the army under your command.

In the present state of affairs in North America, the security of Nova-Scotia and Newfoundland are objects of attention; and I am commanded by the King to signify to you His Majesty' s pleasure, that the two battalions of marines now serving under your command, or any part of them you shall judge necessary, should be posted at Halifax; and that a detachment of Major Gorham' s corps be posted at St˙ John' s, in Newfoundland, as a garrison will be wanted there. It is also His Majesty' s pleasure that as many of the private men of the Sixty-Fifth Regiment as are fit for service should be turned over to the Twenty-Seventh Regiment, and, if there are more than will complete it, you will incorporate them in any other corps; that the Twenty-Seventh Regiment, when so completed, be joined to the army under your command; and that the commissioned and non-commissioned officers and invalids of the Sixty-Fifth be sent home to England.

I must not omit to acquaint you, before I leave the subject of military arrangement, that the officers of the Guards have expressed such spirit and zeal for His Majesty' s service, that His Majesty has ordered a detachment of a thousand men, rank and file, with officers in proportion, to serve under you in America; and I have only further to add, that the King is so desirous of expressing, upon every occasion, his Royal approbation of the General Officers serving in the principal ranks in America, that he has declared his intentions that he will not employ any General Officer from hence who may be superior in rank to Major-Generals Clinton, Burgoyne, Lord Percy, or Lord Cornwallis.

This letter will be intrusted to the care of the commander of His Majesty' s ship Greyhound, who will also deliver up to you the officers of the privateer fitted out by the Rebels, under a commission from the Congress, and taken by one of Admiral Graves' s Squadron. The private men have all voluntarily entered themselves on board His Majesty' s ships; but the officers having refused so to do, it has been judged fit to send them back to America, for the same obvious reasons that induced the sending back the Rebel prisoners taken in arms upon the attack of Montreal, in September last.

It is hoped that the possession of these prisoners will enable you to procure the release of such of His Majesty' s officers and loyal subjects as are in the disgraceful situation of being prisoners to the Rebels; for, although it cannot be that you should enter into any treaty or agreement with Rebels for a regular cartel for exchange of prisoners, yet I doubt not but your own discretion will suggest to you the means of effecting such exchange, without the King' s dignity and honour being committed, or His Majesty' s name used in any negotiation for that purpose; and I am the more strongly urged to point out to you the expediency of such a measure, on account of the possible difficulties which, may otherwise occur in the case of foreign troops serving in North America.