February 11, 1776

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Georgia Governor Sir James Wright escapes from  his residence to one of the British warships anchored at the mouth of the river.

John Adams, in a reflective mood, writes to his wife Abigail.  “There is a deep Anxiety, a kind of thoughtfull Melancholly, and in some a Lowness of Spirits approaching to Despondency, prevailing, through the southern Colonies, at present, very similar, to what I have often observed in Boston, particularly on the first News of the Port Bill, and last year about this Time or a little later, when the bad News arrived, which dashed their fond Hopes with which they had deluded themselves, thro the Winter. In this, or a similar Condition, We shall remain, I think, untill late in the Spring, When some critical Event will take Place, perhaps sooner. But the Arbiter of Events, the Sovereign of the World only knows, which Way the Torrent will be turned. Judging by Experience, by Probabilities, and by all Appearances, I conclude, it will roll on to Dominion and Glory, tho the Circumstances and Consequences may be bloody.

In such great Changes and Commotions, Individuals are but Atoms. It is scarcly worth while to consider what the Consequences will be to Us. What will be the Effects upon present and future Millions, and Millions of Millions, is a Question very interesting to Benevolence natural and Christian. God grant they may and I firmly believe they will be happy.”

Benjamin Franklin writes to Charles Lee about British opinions, and his belief that the army should be furnished with bows and arrows:  They still talk big in England, and threaten hard; but their Language is somewhat civiler, at least not quite so disrespectful to us. By degree, they may come to their Senses, but too late I fancy for their Interest.

We have got in a large Quantity of Saltpetre 120 Ton, and 30 more expected.2 Powdermills are now wanting. I believe we must set to work and make it by hand. But I still wish with you that Pikes could be introduc’d; and I would add Bows and Arrows.3 Those were good Weapons, not wisely laid aside.

  1.  Because a Man may shoot as truly with a Bow as with a common Musket.
  2.  He can discharge 4 Arrows in the time of charging and discharging one Bullet.
  3.  His Object is not taken from his View by the Smoke of his own Side.
  4.  A Flight of Arrows seen coming upon them terrifies, and disturbs the Enemy’s Attention to his Business.
  5.  An Arrow sticking in any Part of a Man, puts him hors du Combat ’till ’tis extracted.
  6.  Bows and Arrows are more easily provided every where than Muskets and Ammunition.

Polydore Virgil speaking of one of our Battles against the French in Eduard the 3d’s reign, mentions the great Confusion the Enemy were thrown into Sagittarum nube from the English; and concludes, Est res profectò dictu mirabilis, ut tantus ac potens Exercitus a solis ferè Anglicis Sagittariis victus fuerit; adeò Anglus est Sagittipotens, et id genus armorum valet.4If so much Execution was done by Arrows when Men wore some defensive Armour, how much more might be done now that is out of Use.

I am glad you are come to New York; but I also wish you could be in Canada.

There is a kind of Suspense in Men’s Minds here at present, waiting to see what Terms will be offer’d from England. I expect none that we can accept; and when that is generally seen, we shall be more unanimous and more decisive. Then your propos’d solemn League and Covenant will go better down; and perhaps most of your other strong Measures adopted.”

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