February 10, 1776

george_washington

The North Carolina delegation to the Congress warns that accounds from England are indicating an attack on the colony.  Meanwhile, in North Carolina, the HMS Cruizer under command of Captain Francis Perry captured the USS America as it sailed up the Cape Fear River.

Meanwhile, George Washington writes to Colonel Joseph Reed about his public standing:  “If my dear Sir, you conceive that I took any thing wrong, or amiss, that was conveyed in any of your former Letters you are really mistaken—I only meant to convince you, that nothing would give me more real satisfaction than to know the Sentiments which are entertaind of me by the Publick, whether they be favourable, or otherwise—and, urged as a reason that the Man who wished to steer clear of Shelves & Rocks must know where they lay—I know—but to declare it unless to a friend, may be an argument of vanity—the Integrety of my own Heart—I know the unhappy predicament I stand in. I know, that much is expected of me—I know that without Men, without Arms, without Ammunition, without any thing fit for the accomodation of a Soldier that little is to be done—and, which is mortifying; I know, that I cannot stand justified to the World without exposing my own Weakness & injuring the cause by declaring my wants, which I am determined not to do further than unavoidable necessity brings every Man acquainted with them—If under these disadvantages I am able to keep above Water (as it were) in the esteem of Mankind I shall feel myself happy; but, if from the unknown, peculiarity of my Circumstances, I suffer in the opinion of the World I shall not think you take the freedom of a friend if you conceal the reflections that may be cast upon my conduct. My own Situation feels so irksome to me at times, that, if I did not consult the publick good more than my own tranquility I should long e’re this have put every thing to the cast of a Dye—So far from my having an Army of 20,000 Men well Armd &ca I have been here with less than one half of it, including Sick, furloughd, & on Command, and those neither Arm’d or Cloathed, as they should be. In short my Situation has been such that I have been obligd to use art to conceal it from my own Officers.

The Congress as you observe, expect I believe, that I should do more than others; for whilst they compel me to Inlist men without a bounty they give 40/ to others; which will, I expect, put a stand to our Inlistments, for notwithstanding all the publick virtue which is ascribd to these people, there is no nation under the Sun (that I ever came across) pay greater adoration to money than they do—I am pleasd to find, that your Battalions are Cloathed and look well, and that they are filing of for Canada—I wish I could say that the Troops here had altered much in Dress or appearance—Our Regiments are little more than half compleat & Recruiting nearly at a stand—In all my Letters I fail not the mention of Tents & now perceive that notice is taken of the Appli[catio]n.”

Washington goes on to write of his desire for a Declaration of Independence to be written:  “With respect to myself, I have never entertaind an Idea of an Accomodation since I heard of the Measures which were adopted in consequence of the Bunkers Hill fight. The Kings Speech has confirmd the Sentiments I entertaind upon the News of that Affair—and, if every Man was of my Mind the Ministers of G. B. should know, in a few Words, upon what Issue the cause should be put. I would not be deceived by artful declarations, or specious pretences—nor would I be amused by unmeaning propositions. but in open, undisguised, and Manly terms proclaim our Wrongs & our Resolutions to be redressed. I would tell them, that we had born much—that we had long, & ardently sought for reconciliation upon honourable terms—that it had been denied us—that all our attempts after Peace had provd abortive and had been grossly misrepresented—that we had done every thing that could be expected from the best of Subjects—that the Spirit of Freedom beat too high in us, to Submit to Slavery; & that, if nothing else would satisfie a Tyrant & his diabolical Ministry, we were determined to shake of all Connexions with a State So unjust, & unnatural. This I would tell them, not under Covert, but in Words as clear as the Sun in its Meridian brightness.”

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