Letter from Joseph Hewes to James Iredell
Hewes, Joseph, 1730-1779
Volume 10, Pages 457-458
[From MS. Records in Office of Secretary of State.]
Letter from Joseph Hewes, Delegate to the Continental Congress, to James Iredell.
Philadelphia, 17th May, 1776.
This being a day of humiliation, fasting and prayer (or in vulgar language Congress Sunday) I mean to steal as much time from my private devotions as will serve to acknowledge the receipt of your agreeable favour of the 29th ultimo, which has just reached me. Complaints of distresses made to our friends, it is said, is some alleviation of them. I cannot say the observation is true; however I must complain a little. An obstinate ague and Fever, or rather an Intermitting Fever, persecutes me continually; I have no way to
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remove it unless I retire from Congress and from public business; this I am determined not to do till N. Carolina sends a further delegation, provided I am able to crawl to the Congress Chamber. So much for self. A little politicks and I have done. Much of our time is employed in raising men, making Cannon, muskets, & merely finding out ways and means of supplying our Troops with Cloathes, provisions and ammunition. We appear to have everything we want. We resolve to raise regiments, resolve to make cannon, resolve to make and import muskets, powder and cloathing, but it is a melancholly fact that near half of our men, Cannon, muskets, powder, cloathes, &c., is to be found nowhere but on paper. We are not discouraged at this; if our situation was ten times worse I could not agree to give up our cause. To the whole force of Great Britain has been added near half of Germany, 25,000 Hessians, Waldeckers, and others have been expected for some time past. Indeed the report of this day is, that a large detachment of them with the Commissioners are arrived at Halifax in Nova Scotia. The latter, it is said, are coming here to treat with Congress; in the mean time the former are to wait the event of the Treaty; if it succeeds not, they are to spread the horrors and devastations of War from one end of the Continent to the other. Whether this be true or only the lye of the day, I know not. It is too ture that a great number of them, Germans, are taken into British pay. I have not heard anything from your Congress at Halifax since the 22d
of April. I am anxious to know how they go on in forming a Constitution, and more anxious to know how they defend their Country, for I expect a formal attack has been made on it before this day. This you will receive by Mr. Louther, to whom I must refer you. He is just from headquarters and will be able to give you some account of our Army. My compliments to Mrs. Iredell & Mrs. Blair. You and they have always the best wishes of
Your much obliged
and very huml svt,
James Iredell, Esq.