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HANNAH WINTHROP TO MERCY WARREN
Feb. 4, 1778
Methinks I hear Mrs Warren wondring how they do at head Quarters at Cambridge. Perhaps her wonder may encrease when I tell her the British Officers live in the most Luxurious manner Possible, rioting on the Fat of the Land, Stalking at Large with the Self-importance of Lords of the Soil. G[enera]l B[urgoy]n has been allowed a Court Martial on a Continental Col[one]l for doing his duty in preventing an insurrection of British Troops.1 at which Court B―n took upon himself to Preside, interrogating and aiming to intimedate the Witnesses on our part, encouraging those on his own, displaying his Parliamentary Eloquence, Spouting forth his Contempt of Americans, Sometimes in insidious Ironical Compliments, at others by open direct abuse insulting and painting in the Blackest Colors Coll. Henly, whom he often Calld Criminal at the Bar. This Scene has Continued almost three weeks and the Court Sitting Tame hearers. I hope the Public will be favord with the whole of this Tryal,2 if not prevented by the interruption of an important Order just arrivd, to declare them all Prisoners of War. O amazing reverse of Circumstances! an Epithet G B―n constrained G1 Glover (who applied it to him on the Tryal) with the haughtiness of an Emperor of the whole world to retract and to confess it an inadvertant Slip and to call him only a Prisoner of Convention. What will be the Consequence of this Manuvre time must tell.
I enclose you a Letter which I think will entertain you if new to you. Forgive the bad writing. Please to return it with your comments For my time in Copying it I think I may with some degree of asurance ask to peep into your Cabinet and be Favord with some of your entertaining Manuscripts.
Pray accept of much affection from your ever Sincere
P.S Pray excuse an erasement. I was just now askd by a by
I David Henley to William Heath, January 8, 1778, in 7 Mass. Hist. Collections, iv. 201. Henley was acquitted.
2 The Proceedings of the court martial were printed both in Boston and London.
stander if I did not think my Scrips would make a pretty Figure in one of Gains N. York papers as Letters are often intercepted. the bad writing must be my Signature in Future.
P.S Upon further inquiry I find the order I mentioned not to be the declaring the British Prisoners of War, as was at first represented, But detaining them here Till the British King or Parliament Ratify the Convention.1 Don't you think the Continuance of these Cormorants will bring us into difficulty.
I sincerely hope the Sequel of this Court Martial will Lower the Crest of some of these high plumed officers.
MARTHA WASHINGTON TO MERCY Warren
DEAR MADAME, -I am now to thank you for the two very kind Letters which you have been pleased to favor me with, the one written some time last summer, and the other by Mr. Bowdoin. It gave me a peculiar pleasure to hear by that Gentleman that you and Genl. Warren enjoyd good health. And this pleasure was not a little increased by hearing from yourself that you are so very happy in your state- no traces of the enemy being left; but on the other hand, plenty of everything useful and necessary to be procured. indeed I think providence was very bountifull in her goodness to your state; even when the enemy was in it, we found there every article in plenty, and full sufficient for the use of the army. in Virginia we have had no British troops since the cruel Dunmore left us, but how soon we shall, is not at this time known. I hope, and trust, that all the states will make a vigorous push early this spring, if every thing can be prepared for it, and thereby putting a stop to British cruelties, and afford us that pease liberty and happyness which we have so long contended for.
I Congress on January 8, 1778, resolved, "That the embarkation of Lieutenant General Burgoyne, and the troops under his command, be suspended till a distinct and explicit ratification of the convention of Saratoga shall be properly notified by the Court of Great Britain to Congress." Journals of the Continental Congress, x. 35.
It has given me unspeakable pleasure to hear that Genl. Burgoyne and his army are in safe quarters in your state. would bountifull providence aim a like stroke at Genl. Howe, the measure of my happyness would be compleat.
I came to this place some time about the first of February, where I found the General very well. I left my children at our House. Mrs. Custis 1 has lately had a fine girl,2 which makes the second since she left Cambridge. she is so much confined with her children, that she stays altogether with them.
I left Mr. Bowdoin in Alexandria. he was a good deal distressed on account of Mr. Pliarne,3 a french gentleman, his partener who was by accident drowned crossing the Potomack river: his Body was not found when I left home; his behaviour and agreeable manners, rendered him a favourite with all that knew him, and caused his death to be much lamented.
The General is incamped in what is called the great valley on the Banks of the Schuylkill. officers and men are chiefly in Hutts, which they say is tolarable comfortable; the army are as healthy as can well be expected in general. The General's appartment is very small he has had a log cabbin built to dine in which has made our quarters much more tolarable than they were at first.
It would give me pleasure to deliver your compliments to Mrs. Gates, but she lives at so great a distance from me that I have not seen her since we parted at New York two years ago. The General joins me in offering our respectful compliments to Genl. Warren and yourself.
I am dr madam with esteem your affectionate Friend and very Hble servt.
I Eleanor Calvert, wife of John Parke Custis.
2 Martha Parke Custis, born December 1, 1777, married Thomas Peter.
3 Emanuel de Pliarne had come from France in 1775, with Pierre Penet to enter into contracts with the Continental Congress for arms and munitions.
4 Mary (Valence) Gates.
MERCY WARREN TO JAMES Warren
MY DEAREST FRIEND, — I am not out of spirits. Your Henry says I am not, and there is nothing he observes more or more ardently wishes than to support the spirits of his mamah. I hope this filial principle in him will ever coincide with the virtuous disposition heaven has bestowed to prevent his deviation from that line of conduct which can alone make him happy.
But we have here the most disagreeable reports. Faith, fortitude and courage are necessary to bear us up amidst the train of public evils even if the body was in health and the mind free from domestic anxiety.
War is likely to thicken upon us. Conspiracies at Cambridge, Traitors at Boston, among which it is said some very unexpected names appear, though we do not yet learn who.
Burgoyne's troops supplied with arms, our own army without clothes, without provisions and without tents, many of them deserting to the enemy and others on the borders of mutiny, General Washington under suspicions, about to be dismissed or to retire in disgust, the toast among the soldiers Washington or no army,1 and to complete the picture, the General Court laying on taxes and making regulations that the people are determined not to comply with. Yet I do not feel greatly terrified by these dismal accounts. We often see the clouds gather blackness and when big with the lowering storm they are suddenly dispersed by that almighty hand who sits at the helm and suffers no ill to befall his creatures but when necessary to promote the mighty designs of his providence; that providence has hitherto protected us. I strike out three fourths of this gloomy tale as only the vague rumours of the day and reverse the scene and view America finally triumphant though innumerable difficulties may rise up in her way.
We have two British transports now in this harbor.2 A number
I This refers to the Conway cabal and its design of placing Gates in command of the
2 For taking the Convention troops to England. The total number of transports was twenty-five, under the command of Hugh Dalrymple. A list, with the tonnage of vessels is in Heath Papers, VIII-177.
of our people went on board yesterday and returned mightily pleased with the civility and the presents they received. What a weakness! How easily are mankind duped by each other without either love confidence or esteem.
I have been better this day than any one since you left me. I know you pity me under this long confinement, were you to look in upon me and in your way “Come up spirits," and then paint some agreeable images as usual I know nothing that would have so ready a tendency to restore health; that cheerful voice has always a very happy effect on your
JAMES WARREN TO SAMUEL ADAMS1
BOSTON, May 8th, 1778
MY DEAR SIR, I hope by this Time you have got over the greater part of your long and tedious Journey to York Town, and you will soon get through, and find all things to your Wishes. Nothing material has occurred here since your departure but what you will have an account of before this can reach you. We are now enjoying the first fruits of our New Connections, several of the fleet from France are arrived, with large quantities of Cloathing, etc., and a French Man of War of 36 Guns, so that your beloved Harbour looks quite Brilliant. I want you should enjoy the prospect from your Windows. The public, and private Persons are treating the officers of the French Man of War with every Mark of Respect, and I understand they are highly pleased with Your Town. Tomorrow the Council entertain them with a public Dinner at Marston'. I am to be one of the Guests. you will certainly see among the Toasts, the Congress, and the King of France. You will remember the Embarrassments of the Navy Board for want of Money, and our Embarrassments Increase with the great Accumulation of Business which grows on us every Day, with six Sail of Ships and Brigantines on hand in this Port and a number of other Demands we can't at this time command 500 1 From the Samuel Adams Papers in the New York Public Library.