You will see by the Newspapers, which I from time to time inclose, with what Rapidity, the Colonies proceed in their political Maneuvres. How many Calamities might have been avoided if these Measures had been taken twelve Months ago, or even no longer ago than last december?
The Colonies to the South, are pursuing the same Maxims, which have heretofore governed those to the North. In constituting their new Governments, their Plans are remarkably popular, more so than I could ever have imagined, even more popular than the "Thoughts on Government." And in the Choice of their Rulers, Capacity, Spirit and Zeal in the Cause, supply the Place of Fortune, Family, and every other Consideration, which used to have Weight with Mankind. My Friend Archibald Bullock Esq. is Governor of Georgia. John Rutledge Esq. is Governor of South Carolina. Patrick Henry Esq. is Governor of Virginia &c. Dr. Franklin will be Governor of Pensilvania. The new Members of this City, are all in this Taste, chosen because of their inflexible Zeal for Independence. All the old Members left out, because they opposed Independence, or at least were lukewarm about it. Dickinson, Morris, Allen, all fallen, like Grass before the Scythe notwithstanding all their vast Advantages in Point of Fortune, Family and Abilities.
I am inclined to think however, and to wish that these Gentlemen may be restored, at a fresh Election, because, altho mistaken in some Points, they are good Characters, and their great Wealth and numerous Connections, will contribute to strengthen America, and cement her Union.
I wish I were at perfect Liberty, to pourtray before you, all those Characters, in their genuine Lights, and to explain to you the Course of political Changes in this Province. It would give you a great Idea of the Spirit and Resolution of the People, and shew you, in a striking point of View, the deep Roots of American Independence in all the Colonies. But it is not prudent, to commit to Writing such free Speculations, in the present State of Things.
Time which takes away the Veil, may lay open the secret Springs of this surprizing Revolution.... But I find, altho the Colonies have differed in Religion, Laws, Customs, and Manners, yet in the great Essentials of Society and Government, they are all alike.
SIR: I am now to acknowledge the receipt of your two favours of the 4th and 6th instant, which came duly to hand, with their important enclosures.
I perceive that Congress have been employed in deliberating on measures of the most interesting nature. It is certain it is not with us to determine, in many instances, what consequences will flow from our counsels; but yet it behooves us to adopt such as, under the smiles of a gracious and all-kind Providence, will be most likely to promote our happiness. I trust the late decisive part they have taken is calculated for that end, and will secure us that freedom and those privileges which have been and are refused us, contrary to the views of nature and the British Constitution. Agreeable to the request of Congress, I caused the Declaration to be proclaimed before all the Army under my command, and have the pleasure to inform them that the measure seemed to have their most hearty assent — the expressions and behaviour, both of officers and men, testifying their warmest approbation of it. I have transmitted a copy to Genaral Ward, at Boston, requesting him to have it proclaimed to the Continental troops in that department.
It is with great pleasure that I hear the Militia from Maryland, the Delaware Government, and Pennsylvania, will be in motion every day to form the Flying-Camp. It is of great importance, and should be accomplished with all possible despatch. The readiness and alacrity with which the Committee of Safety of Pennsylvania and the other conferees have acted, in order to forward the associated Militia of that State to the Jerseys for service, till the men to compose the Flying-Camp arrive, strongly evidence their regard to the common cause, and that nothing on their part will be wanting to support it. I hope, and I doubt not, that the associated Militia, impressed with the expediency of the measure, will immediately carry it into execution, and furnish in this instance a proof of the continuance of that zeal which has so eminently marked their conduct. I have directed the Commissary to make necessary provision for their reception, who will also supply the Army for the Flying-Camp with rations. A proper officer will be appointed to command it.
In pursuance of the power given me by Congress, and the advice of my General Officers, I have written to General Ward, and desired him forthwith to detach three of the fullest regiments from the Massachusetts Bay to join the northern Army, esteeming it a matter of the greatest importance to have a sufficient force there to prevent the enemy' s passing the lake, and making an impression in that quarter. The gondolas and galleys will be of great service, and I am hopeful the carpenters you have sent from Philadelphia, and that will go from the eastward on your application, will be able to build a sufficient number in time to answer every exigency.
I have requested Governour Cooke, if the duck mentioned in Mr. Greene' s letter is proper for tents, to have it made up as early as possible, and forwarded here. I have also desired him to send the flints and small-arms; as I leave General Ward those of the latter that were taken out of the Scotch transports, our deficiency in those necessary articles being still greater.
Observing that Congress have particularly mentioned a bounty of ten dollars to be paid to men of some corps directed to be raised in two or three instances, since their resolve of the 26th of June allows such bounty, I have been led to doubt how that resolve is to be construed; whether it is a general regulation, and extends to all men that will engage for three years: for instance, the soldiers of the present Army, if they will inlist for that time. If it is, and extends to them, it will be necessary to forward a large sum of money; many, perhaps, would engage. I also observe, by the resolve of the 25th June, for raising four regiments of Militia in the eastern Governments, to augment the troops in the Northern Department, that the Assemblies of those Governments are empowered to appoint Paymasters to the said regiments. This appears to me a regulation of great use, and I could wish that it was made general, and one allowed to every regiment in the service: many advantages would result from it.
The Connecticut Militia begin to come in; but from every account, the battalions will be very incomplete, owing, they say, to the busy season of the year. That Government, lest any inconveniences might result from their Militia not being here in time, ordered three regiments of their Light-horse to my assistance, part of which have arrived; but not having the means to support them, (and if it could be done, the expense would be enormous,) I have thanked the gentlemen for their zeal and the attachment they have manifested upon this occasion, and informed them that I cannot consent to their keeping their horses, at the same time wishing them to stay themselves. I am told that they, or part of them, mean to do so.
General Mercer is now in the Jerseys, for the purpose of receiving and ordering the Militia coming from the Flying-Camp, and have sent over our Chief Engineer to view the grounds within the neighbourhood of Amboy, and to lay out some necessary works for the encampment, and such as may be proper at the different passes in Bergen Neck and other places on the Jersey shore, opposite Staten Island, to prevent the enemy making impressions and committing depredations on the property of the inhabitants.
The intelligence we have from a few deserters that have come over to us, and from others, is, that General Howe has between nine and ten thousand men, who are chiefly landed on the Island, posted in different parts, and securing the several communications from the Jerseys with small works and intrenchments, to prevent our people from paying them a visit; that the Islanders have all joined them, seem well disposed to favour their cause, and have agreed to take up arms in their behalf. They look for Admiral Howe's arrival every day, with his fleet and a large reinforcement, and are in high spirits, and talk confidently of success and carrying all before them when he comes. I trust, through divine favour and our own exertions, they will be disappointed in their views; and, at all events, any advantages they may gain will cost them very dear. If our troops will behave well, which I hope will be the case, leaving everything to contend for that freedom they hold dear, they will have to wade through much blood and slaughter before they can carry any part of our works, if they carry them at all; and at best be in possession of a melancholy and mournful victory. May the sacredness of our cause inspire our soldiery with sentiments of heroism, and lead them to the performance of the noblest exploits. With this wish, I have the honour to be, with the greatest esteem, sir, your most obedient servant...