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uncertainty concerning our affairs at the northward. On Sunday, we had news from the committee of Albany through Governor Clinton and General Washington of a capitulation of Burgoyne and his whole army. To this moment we have no express from Gates nor any authentic confirmation.
Howe has drawn his army into the city, and Washington is at Germantown. Supplies will be cut off from the British army in a great measure.
I am, &c., yours forever.
We shall finish a plan of confederation in a few
Yorktown, 25 October, 1777.
MY BEST FRIEND,
THIS town is a small one, not larger than Plymouth. There are in it two German churches, the one Lutheran, the other Calvinistical. The congregations are pretty numerous and their attendance upon public worship is decent. It is remarkable that the Germans, wherever they are found, are careful to maintain the public worship, which is more than can be said of the other denominations of christians, this way. There is one Church here erected by the joint contributions of
Episcopalians and Presbyterians, but the minister, who is a missionary, is confined for Toryism, so that they have had for a long time no public worship. Congress have appointed two chaplains, Mr. White and Mr. Duffield, the former of whom, an Episcopalian, is arrived, and opens Congress with prayers every day. The latter is expected every hour. Mr. Duché, I am sorry to inform you, has turned out an apostate and a traitor. Poor man! I pity his weakness and detest his wickedness.
As to news we are yet in a painful suspense about affairs at the northward, but from Philadelphia, we have accounts that are very pleasing. Commodore Hazelwood with his galleys, and Lieutenant Colonel Smith in the garrison of fort Mifflin, have behaved in a manner the most gallant and glorious. They have defended the river and the fort with a firmness and perseverance which does honor to human nature. If the news from the northward is true, Mr. Howe will scarcely venture upon winter quarters in Philadelphia. We are waiting for news from Rhode Island.
I am wearied with the life I lead, and long for the joys of my family. God grant I may enjoy it in peace. Peace is my dear delight. War has no charms for me. If I live much longer in banishment I shall scarcely know my own children. Tell my little ones, that if they will be very good, papa will come home.
Philadelphia, Monday, 8 September, 1777.
THERE has been a very general apprehension during the last week, that a general action would happen as on yesterday, but we hear of none. Our army is encamped between Newport and White Clay Creek, on advantageous ground. The General has harangued his army, and published in general orders, in order to prepare their minds for something great, and has held up the example of Stark, Herkimer, Gansevoort and their troops to animate his officers and men with emulation. Whether he expects to be attacked, or whether he designs to offend, I can't say.
A general action which should terminate in a defeat of Howe, would be complete and final ruin to him. If it should terminate only in a drawn battle, it would be the same thing. If he should gain a victory and
maintain possession of the field, he would lose so many men killed and wounded, that he would scarcely have enough left to march to Philadelphia, surrounded as he would be with militia and the broken remains of the continental army. But if there should be no general battle, and the two armies should lounge away the remainder of the campaign in silent inactivity, gazing at each other, Howe's reputation would be ruined in his own country and in all Europe, and the dread of him would cease in all America. The American mind, which, I think, has more firmness now, than it ever had before, since this war began, would acquire a confidence and strength, that all the efforts of Great Britain afterwards would not be able to relax.
You will see by the papers enclosed that we have been obliged to attempt to humble the pride of some Jesuits, who call themselves Quakers,' but who love money and land better than liberty or religion. The hypocrites are endeavoring to raise the cry of persecution, and to give this matter a religious turn, but they can't succeed. The world knows them and their communications. Actuated by a land-jobbing spirit like that of William Penn, they have been so
1 See Journals of Congress for the 28th of August, and Gordon's History, Vol. ii. p. 505.
General Sullivan, when on an expedition to Staten Island, captured certain papers belonging to the Quakers, which were sent by him to Congress, and by that body referred to a committee of three, Mr. J. Adams, Mr. Duer, and Mr. R. H. Lee, who reported on the afternoon of the same day.