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Letter from John Moultrie to General Grant


Intercepted Letter transmitted to Congress by General Washington, with his Letter dated December 18, 1775.


St˙ Augustine, October 4, 1775.

I have the pleasure of yours by the St˙ Lawrence. By sending her you have done your old Government essential service; we wanted such a vessel very much; she appeared off one day, and came over the bar the next with ease and without a rub, and without unlading her guns or provision; our bar is better than ever I knew it.

By our steady attachment to our mother country, we are become an eye-sore to our sister Colonies; particularly so to our foolish young sisters Georgia and Carolina. They threatened, and have done every thing in their power to starve us, which is not in their power to effect. Their threats were of service, and alarmed the people here at first, but I told them I was glad of it; that it was a shame to trust our existence to others, and give them our money for what we could make as easily as they could; which they now find to be true. Almost every planter has made his provision; many a great deal to spare. I have above eight hundred bushels of corn to spare of the Bellavista crop; a fine crop of rice at the Musquetoe, already reaped, and in the barn yard; a second cutting of the same rice almost ripe.

I am surprised to find you and the army in the state you have been in. I flatter myself you will move to advantage soon. The southern people are madder than the northern, though I believe not such great rogues; they have got to the highest pitch of raving madness. You will have heard of one hundred and ten barrels of our powder taken out of Lofthouse, off our bar, by a vessel fitted out of Carolina, with an order from Laurens to proceed on that business; which order, by mistake, and through confusion, the pirate Captain left behind him, and is now in our possession. Laurens loves popularity; but I think he does not sleep many hours a night, and may perhaps dream. You know the man. Our neighbours talk of visiting us to take our ordnance stores; but this I look upon as mere vapour, and that they will not feel bold enough; if they do, well, we will do our best to dress them. I hope the General will not take anymore of the troops from this. I think he has already weakened us too much. Consider the fort and its contents; consider what our neighbours are willing to do; consider, above all, that this is now the best and only immediate communication between Great Britain and our red brothers. You judged right; the Rebels have been tampering and endeavouring to get the Indians with them. The best friends of Great Britain are in the back parts of the Carolinas and Georgia; if the Indians were put in motion these would suffer, and not the Rebels. But this will be delivered to you by Colonel Moses Kirkland, who comes express to General Gage; to him I refer you; what he tells you, you may depend on. I think he may be made a most powerful instrument in the hands of Government should any thing be done this way, which I think ought immediately to be undertaken. He knows every inch of Carolina, every road and by-road, every creek and swamp, every person, and has a most extensive influence; is resolute, active, and enterprising, and I think ought to receive the greatest encouragement. He has not had a liberal education, but possesses clear, strong, and manly sense, and I think him entirely to be depended on.

I have had Mulcaster with me; he will send you some papers. Some others shall be done on a larger scale. Kirkland can give you good intelligence. Wallace, who acts with so much spirit and honour, can also furnish you with rich materials on that head. I remember he was very busy when there in sounding and surveying.

I lament, as you may imagine, the present state of


affairs, and the situation of most of my friends, who have been worked powerfully on, and have, to my great sorrow, taken a wrong way. I need not say any thing further to you on the state of things in these parts of the world, as Kirkland will be better than a very long letter. I hope soon to see order drawn out of confusion, and peace restored; that good men may escape, but that every rogue and vile tool, and every wilful and violent opposer and oppressor may meet with their full and just reward.

Pray, dear friend, adieu. I am, most affectionately and sincerely, yours, MOULTRIE.

Mrs˙ Moultrie begs her best respects to you. We are happy and well. If you see Wallace, pray my compliments; I think and hear of him with pleasure.

To Brigadier-General Grant.