My Dear Sir:
I am extremely sorry to hear of poor Bob's Situation, which I have heard from Mr. Peters, who has been favored with a Letter from Mrs. Gates desiring some Things which, from Mrs. Peters being in the Country, unfortunately could not be sent by the Return of the Bearer of the letter. She mentions something about Tea from Col. Blaine, who is in Camp. The public Departments are so ill supplied with Cash that I fear little can be expected even in the trifling Way from them. I would therefore advise you not to depend much on them. I hope Mr. Rob'r will recover with a little Time, good Spirits, gentle Exercise, light Diet & above all—Patience..
My uneasiness for you is, both on a private and public score, distressing. You can from the present Aspect of affairs get very little if any Assistance from this Quarter—I mean the substantial Assistance produced by Money. From the distress which reigns here universally on this Account, but small effects will be produced by Applications here; & therefore jealous and uneasy Minds will attribute to Neglect what i really Owing to Incapacity. I mention this to you that you may Stimulate the States to exert themselves, as their Salvation must depend in the greatest Degree on their own Endeavors. I hear the most affecting accounts of the Situation of the Southern Army for Want of Provisions. I hope Things will mend with them, for I cannot see how they can possibly keep together under the Circumstances they were in when the last Accounts come away. There are so many difficulties everywhere that it requires all the strength of Mind I am Master of to keep me in tolerable Spirits. But I never despond, nor do I think there is any Reason for it, as all our affairs but those of Finance look well & necessity will teach us Resources & Econemy.
All the first Division of the French Fleet (the missing Transport included) are safe arrived. They have upwards of 5,000 Men & 5 Sail of the Line & 5 Frigates. As many more Men are expected in the other Division, by how many Sail of the Line, &c., I know not. Graves is at Block Island with nine Sail of the Line & 5 or 6 Frigates. But Mons. La Luzerne informs me he has no Fears for the 2d Division on this Score. This looks as if they were to be strong in ships. The Troops at Rhode Island are under no Apprehensions. The combined Forces in the W. Indies have gone against Jamaica, as I have heard from good Authority. A great Stroke either in Europe or the W. Indies would revive our affairs beyond all systems on paper. I always hope for the best & prepare for the worst; therefore I think we shall have good News soon, principally because we want it. If we do not get it soon we may wait for it with all the patience we can muster.
I do not think that Armstrong can have the rank of Lt. Colonel The former Ajt. General of the Southern Army was only a Captain til, by a course of promotion in the Line, he became a Major.