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Letter from Henry Laurens to Richard Caswell
Laurens, Henry, 1724-1792
June 10, 1778
Volume 13, Pages 156-158

[From Executive Letter Book.]

York Town 10th June 1778.


Authenticated intelligence by Congress from many quarters leave it no longer doubtful in what manner the enemy mean to conduct their plan of conciliation.

Under delusive appearances of pacific acts, and Peace making commissioners, already their Military reinforcements begin to arrive and already they have commenced in many places with acts of cruelty and devastation.

Indian irruptions and warning arouses in the moment of dispersing propositions for Peace, evince the insidious designs of the Enemy, and demonstrate the necessity of wisdom in Council, of strength and vigour in the field. The former may be employed to distress the enemy greatly, by with holding from them the provisions of America, and the latter by quickly collecting powerful armies to take advantage of their present weakness.

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In duty therefore to their constituents Congress earnestly call upon you Sir, and your State to adopt the most effectual and vigorous measures for reinforcing the Continental Army with your quota of Troops. The present moment unimproved may be productive of the most pernicious consequences, and the public safety demands strong and united efforts.

Experience has shown that the Marine forces of our Enemies enable them to secure for the support of their armies almost the whole of our exported provisions, and therefore Congress impressed with the necessity of preventing the supplies derived to our foes from this source, and desirous of supplying the armies of the United States, have upon mature deliberation laid an Embargo on provisions of all kinds, and they earnestly request the vigorous exercise of the powers of your State to carry into effectual execution this most necessary measure.

I have the honor to be with the highest esteem Sir,
your Excellency's ob. and mo. hble. Servt.
Prest. Congress.

P. S. Private.

Your Excellency will find enclosed several copies of Lord Abingdon's speech & protest in the British House of Lords upon the acts of Parliament, for removing all the doubts concerning Taxation &c. these as I endeavour to do all papers proper for public information shall dispersed as extensively as possible.

I shall add copies of a late correspondence between Lord Howe, Sir H. Clinton, Genl. Washington & Congress.

Last night late I received a letter from Genl Washington. Sir H. Clinton had requested a passport for Doctr Ferguson Secretary of the Commissioners to attend Congress. General Washington demurred until he should inform Congress. This will be the subject of our consideration at 10 O'clock.

Doctor Ferguson was tutor to Lord Chesterfield at Geneva, where a young Gentleman with whom I correspond in Camp knew him intimately. He says “the Doctor is known in the literary world, and whose profound knowledge makes him very respectable.”

“Preparations for abandoning the City still continue. The Enemy pretend 'tis impossible for them to continue there much

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longer. They are not to march through the Jerseys, but on the Jersey side down the Delaware and embark at some convenient place.” Very serious, pretty trifling; when they are gone I will believe them. I shall not be surprised if they march down and in one week's time return with all their ships and a reinforcement. Several Transports with 800 Troops are arrived at New York and more daily expected.

H. L.