April 23, 1776

george-washington-writing-at-his-desk-by-candlelight

Congress accepts the resignation of General Artemus Ward and resolves that an expedition should be undertaken against Detroit.

John Adams writes to William Tudor in Boston to argue that the time has come for Massachusetts to institute a new government:  “Your Favour by Mr. Palfrey, I received this Evening, and it was the more agreable because it resolved a Question I had often asked and never before could obtain an Answer, vizt. whether the Judge Advocate was come with the Army to N. York.  Am very Sorry to hear that Boston is in so defenceless a Condition. That Harbour must be made impenetrable at all Events. I think our People will exert themselves. But I could have wished that more Troops had been left there at least for a Time.  It gives me Pleasure to learn that N. York is put in so good a Posture of Defence. But I wish I could hear that the Inhabitants, were better pleased with their military Visitants.  There is one Event, which I think would essentially alter the political Character and Conduct of those People, and that is the Institution of a new Government.  This Point must be accomplished, in that, and every other Colony. South Carolina, has nobly led the Way, and I hope, and from the best Intelligence believe, that North Carolina and Virginia will follow the Example, with equal Wisdom and Magnanimity. The Jerseys too have the Same Thing in Contemplation. This Province and Maryland will be the last. But not the least resolute when they do adopt the Measure.

I wish you would make this a Subject of Conversation as much as you can, both among the Gentlemen of the Army and the Citizens, and convince all, of the Expediency, Practicability and Necessity of this Measure. Believe me there is nothing upon which the Salvation of America more depends.  When this Step is taken, the new Legislatures, would exert themselves, with tenfold Alacrity in every warlike Preparation by Sea and Land. They would Study and labour to better Purpose, in manufacturing, Salt Petre, Powder, Arms, Cloathing and every Thing they want.  Besides it would cement the Whiggs and discourage the Tories.  It would introduce order in the Place of Confusion.  In short the Advantages are innumerable and the Disadvantages, none.  How is it possible for People to hear the Crier of a Court pronounce G—d save the King, and for Jurors to Swear well and truly to try an Issue between our Soverign Lord the King, and a Prisoner, or to keep his Majestys secrets, in these days I cant conceive. Dont the Clergy pray that he may vanquish and overcome all his Enemies, yet? Who do they mean by his Enemies? Your Army?  Have People no Consciences, or do they look upon all Oaths to be Custom house oaths?  You must not mention my Name. You know the Reason. It will do more good to come from yourself.”

General George Washington, however, is more concerned about New York, which he believes will be the next place that the British will attack.  He writes to the New York Committee of Safety as follows:  “It being necessary that I shou’d know the number of Troops to Compose the Army here, I must request the favour of your Honourable body to inform me how many Regiments are raising in this province for the Continental service by order of Congress, & what their state is as to men and arms. From the accounts I have had, I have reason to fear there is a great deficiency in the latter; which at a Crisis, when nothing else seems left to decide the contest we are engaged in, is truly alarming & calls aloud on every power for their utmost exertions to procure ’em; The pleasing & ready assurances I have received from you to cooperate with me in every measure advancive of the Common ⟨ca⟩use leave me no room ⟨to doubt⟩ but proper ⟨s⟩teps will be pursued for Obtaining them, and ⟨l⟩ead me to ask, what expectations and Source you have for getting a Supply.mmIf any Officers have been commissioned by you, I shall be obliged by having a List of their appointments.  I have been informed that there is a number of Arms at Kingston, that were taken from the Tories in Dutchess County, If so, are they not at your disposal & can they be had?”

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