May 17, 1776


An order in council extends the ban on exports of gunpowder, saltpeter, and any type of arms or ammunition.  The order also bans the transportation of those products to the coast without the previous permission of the king or his privy council.

General Charles Cornwallis was on a secret mission with 900 British Regulars, was to sail up the Cape Fear River and burn Brunswick Town.  The town was a base for American rebels.  They burned the town and took some livestock.

John Adams writes to Abigail with his usual mix of philosophy, politicks, news, and personal tenderness.  “I have this Morning heard Mr. Duffil upon the Signs of the Times. He run a Parrallell between the Case of Israel and that of America, and between the Conduct of Pharaoh and that of George.  Jealousy that the Israelites would throw off the Government of Egypt made him issue his Edict that the Midwives should cast the Children into the River, and the other Edict that the Men should make a large Revenue of Brick without Straw. He concluded that the Course of Events, indicated strongly the Design of Providence that We should be seperated from G. Britain, &c.  Is it not a Saying of Moses, who am I, that I should go in and out before this great People? When I consider the great Events which are passed, and those greater which are rapidly advancing, and that I may have been instrumental of touching some Springs, and turning some small Wheels, which have had and will have such Effects, I feel an Awe upon my Mind, which is not easily described.  G[reat] B[ritain] has at last driven America, to the last Step, a compleat Seperation from her, a total absolute Independence, not only of her Parliament but of her Crown, for such is the Amount of the Resolve of the 15th.  Confederation among ourselves, or Alliances with foreign Nations are not necessary, to a perfect Seperation from Britain. That is effected by extinguishing all Authority, under the Crown, Parliament and Nation as the Resolution for instituting Governments, has done, to all Intents and Purposes. Confederation will be necessary for our internal Concord, and Alliances may be so for our external Defence.  I have Reasons to believe that no Colony, which shall assume a Government under the People, will give it up. There is something very unnatural and odious in a Government 1000 Leagues off. An whole Government of our own Choice, managed by Persons whom We love, revere, and can confide in, has charms in it for which Men will fight. Two young Gentlemen from South Carolina, now in this City, who were in Charlestown when their new Constitution was promulgated, and when their new Governor and Council and Assembly walked out in Procession, attended by the Guards, Company of Cadetts, Light Horse &c., told me, that they were beheld by the People with Transports and Tears of Joy. The People gazed at them, with a Kind of Rapture. They both told me, that the Reflection that these were Gentlemen whom they all loved, esteemed and revered, Gentlemen of their own Choice, whom they could trust, and whom they could displace if any of them should behave amiss, affected them so that they could not help crying.

They say their People will never give up this Government.

In one or two of your Letters you remind me to think of you as I ought. Be assured there is not an Hour in the Day, in which I do not think of you as I ought, that is with every Sentiment of Tenderness, Esteem, and Admiration.

Meanwhile, General Washington writes to General Schuyler about the growingly difficult situation in Canada.  “I this Morning received Your Favor of the 13th Inst. with Its Inclosures, Conveying Intelligence of the Melancholly Situation of our Affairs in Canada; & am not Without My Fears, I confess, that the Prospect we had of possessing that Country of such Importance in the present Controversy is almost Over, or at best, that It will be Effected with much More Difficulty and Effusion of Blood than were Necessary, had our Exertions been timely applied. However we Must Not despair, a Manly & spirited Opposition can only ensure Success, & prevent the Enemy from Improving the Advantage they have Obtained. I have forwarded the Letters to Congress, & their Answer to You & the Honble Commissioners I will transmit You, as soon as they come to Hand.

I am fully sensible that this unfortunate Event has greatly deranged Your Schemes, & will involve You in Difficulties only to be Obviated by Your Zeal & Assiduity, which I am well satisfyed will not be wanting in this or any other Instance where the Good of Your Country require them.  Notwithstanding the most diligent Pains; but a small Part of the Nails You wrote for, is Yet Collected, Nor will there be a possibility of Getting more than half the Quantity; the Qr Master expects that they will be here to Day When they will be instantly forwarded with the five Tons of Lead.”

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