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The Life of Gouverneur Morris

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but I give you my word, that no active service is proposed, as you seem to apprehend.

‘If the ships of war are quiet, I shall be quiet, but I declare solemnly, that if they make a pretext of my presence to fire on the town, the first house set in flames by their guns shall be the funeral pile of some of their best friends.  But I believe, Sir, the inhabitants may rest in security on this subject.  I am convinced, and every member who considers a moment must be convinced, that the destruction of the seaport towns would, if possible, be a severer stroke to the Ministry and their instruments, than to the inhabitants themselves.  The seaport towns are the only holds they have in America; they are considered as the pledges of servitude; the menacing of destruction to them may indeed be of admirable use, but the real destruction of them crust extinguish all hopes of success.

‘In compliance, Sir, with your request, I shall only carry with me into town a force just strong enough to secure it against any designs of the enemy, until it shall please the Continental Congress to take measures for its permanent security.  The main body I shall leave on the western frontiers of Connecticut, according to your directions.  I hope, Sir, and persuade myself, that the Committee and inhabitants can have no objection to this plan.  If Mr. Tryon, and the captains of the ships of war, are to prescribe what numbers are, and what numbers are not, to enter the town, they are absolute dictators to all intents and purposes.  The condition is too humiliating for freemen to put up with.’

At the same time General Lee wrote to General Washington in the following terms.

‘It was unnecessary sooner to trouble you with my scrawl, as I could give you no -information the least interesting.  I find the people through this province more alert, and more zealous, than my most sanguine expectations.  I believe I might have collected ten thousand volunteers.  I take only four companies with me, and Waterberry's regiment, which is so

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From The Life of Gouverneur Morris: With Selections from His Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers; Detailing Events in the American Revolution, The French Revolution, and in the Political History of the United States, by Jared Sparks, Volume 1, Boston: Gray & Bowen, 1832, p 78. Some minor edits may have been made, but an attempt has been made to preserve the original spelling. Although some effort has been made to correct the limitations of OCR technology, if you find an error please report it to


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