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the flank of Mr. Howe's army. How much longer Congress will stay is uncertain. I hope we shall not move until the last necessity, that is, until it shall be rendered certain that Mr. Howe will get the city. If we should move, it will be to Reading, Lancaster, York, Easton, or Bethlehem, some town in this State. It is the determination not to leave this State. Don't be anxious about me, nor about our great and sacred cause. It is the cause of truth and will prevail. If Howe gets the city, it will cost him all his force to keep it, and so he can get nothing else.

My love to all friends.




York Town, Pennsylvania,
Tuesday, 30 September, 1777.

It is now a long time since I had an opportunity of writing to you, and I fear you have suffered unnecessary anxiety on my account. In the morning of the 19th instant, the Congress were alarmed in their beds by a letter from Mr. Hamilton, one of General Washington's family, that the enemy was in possession of the ford over the Schuylkill and the boats, so that they had it in their power to be in Philadelphia before morning. The papers of Congress belonging to the Secretary's office, the War office, the Treasury office, &c.,

were before sent to Bristol. The President, and all the other gentlemen were gone that road, so I followed with my friend Mr. Marchant, of Rhode Island, to Trenton, in the Jerseys. We stayed at Trenton until the 21st, when we set off to Easton, upon the forks of Delaware. From Easton we went to Bethlehem, from thence to Reading, from thence to Lancaster, and from thence to this town, which is about a dozen miles over the Susquehannah river. Here Congress is to sit. In order to convey the papers with safety, which are of more importance than all the members, we were induced to take this circuit, which is near a hundred and eighty miles, whereas this town, by the direct road, is not more than eighty-eight miles from Philadelphia. This tour has given me an opportunity of seeing many parts of this country which I never saw before.

This morning Major Troup arrived here with a large packet from General Gates, containing very agreeable intelligence, which I need not repeat, as you have much earlier intelligence from that part than we have. I wish affairs here wore as pleasing an aspect. But alas, they do not.

I shall avoid every thing like history, and make no reflections. However, General Washington is in a condition tolerably respectable, and the militia are now turning out from Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania in small numbers. All the apology that can be made for this part of the world is, that Mr. Howe's march from Elk to Philadelphia, was through the very regions of passive obedience. The whole country through which he passed is inhabited by Quakers.

There is not such another body of Quakers in all America, perhaps not in all the world.

I am still of opinion that Philadelphia will be no loss to us. I am very comfortably situated here in the house of General Roberdeau, whose hospitality has taken in Mr. S. Adams, Mr. Gerry and me. My health is as good as common, and I assure you my spirits not the worse for the loss of Philadelphia. Biddle in the continental frigate, at South Carolina, has made a noble cruise and taken four very valuable prizes.


Yorktown, 7 October, 1777.

I HAVE no time nor accommodation to write of late; besides, I seldom know what to write, and when I do,

I don't love to write it. One thing is now becoming more and more certain every day, that is, that our people will and do fight. And although they make a clumsy hand of it, yet they do better and better. I am lodged in the house of General Roberdeau, an Israelite indeed, I believe, who with his sisters and children and servants does every thing to make us happy. We are highly favored. No other delegates are so well off. I am as well as usual. Your dream will never come to pass. You never can be coolly

received by me while my heart beats and my senses remain.

I had no letter from you by the last post.

Yours, yours, yours.



Yorktown, 15 October, 1777.


I HAVE not been able of late to keep up my correspondence with you so constantly as my heart inclined me to do. But I hope now to write you oftener; but I don't incline to write very particularly, lest my letters should be intercepted. I am in tolerable health, but oppressed with a load of public cares. I have long foreseen that we should be brought down to a great degree of depression before the people of America would be convinced of their real danger, of the true causes of it, and be stimulated to take the necessary steps for a reformation. Government and law in the States, large taxation, and strict discipline in our armies, are the only things wanting as human means. These with the blessing of Heaven will certainly produce glory, triumph, liberty, and safety, and peace; and nothing but these will do.

I long with the utmost impatience to come home.

Don't send a servant for me. The expense is so enormous that I cannot bear the thought of it. I will crawl home upon my little pony, and wait upon myself as well as I can. I think you had better sell my horse.

The people are universally calling for fighting and for blood. Washington is getting into the humor of fighting, and Howe begins to dread it. And well he may. Fighting will certainly answer the end, although we may be beaten every time for a great while. We have been heretofore greatly deceived concerning the numbers of militia. But there are numbers enough, if they knew how to fight, which as soon as their Generals will let them, they will learn. I am, with every tender sentiment,

Yours forevermore.


Yorktown, 24 October, 1777.


It is with shame that I recollect that I have not written you more than two or three letters these five weeks, and those very short. News I am afraid to write, because I never know, until it is too late, what is true. From last Sunday to this moment, Friday afternoon four o'clock, we have been in a state of tormenting

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