William Ellery Letter

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William Ellery Letter


William Ellery was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and a representative from Rhode Island. This letter is directed towards William Whipple who is a delegate from New Hampshire and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. This letter pertains to various issues being dealt with by the Continental Congress.


William Ellery


2 March 1778


John F. Reed Valley Forge NHP


Box 3, Folder 33, 18-08


Yorkstown Mh. 2d. 1778

Dear Sir.
Mr. Franey is here. He hath offer’d the Flamand to Congress; but we have not purchased here. We were informed by Mr. Langdon to whom we had written on the subject, that she was unfit for our Service. She is order’d to So. Carolina for a Load of Rice.
I take notice of what you say respecting the 74 Gunship. I was against building such huge ships; because I thought it would be very difficult if not impossible to man them.—But would not the timber now prepared be too large even for such a frigate as you mention? –and would not there be a loss in having it down to a proper sizes?—I shall lay this matter before the commees when they can be got together; which is as difficult to accomplish now, as it was formerly. I wish we could collect a number of our frigates together, and give the British ships a drubbing, which now block up Chesapeake, and the entrance into Charlestown So. Carolina. --- Nicholson hath made two attempts to get out; but was so narrowly watched as rendered it impracticable.--- A gentleman, who lately arrived here from thence, tells us, that Biddle, and these Stake? Vessels were to go over the bare the day after he left Charlestown, with a determination to attack the br[illeg] ships who were of about equal force. I am anxious for the event.---
France preservers here old equivocal line of conduct.--- We are constantly receiving supplies of one kind and another from [illeg] &c--- Several Vessels have lately arrived from the W Indies with necessary articles and more as expected; but notwithstanding this, and the unremitted exertions of Congress, so miserable is the conduct of every department that the army is not supplied with any one necessary article. We are altering the commissaries plan, and are looking out for a new commissary general. --- We have chosen Genl. Greene Quarter Master general, in the room of Genl. Mifflin resigned, and a Col. Cox and a Mr. Petit two very good characters assistant Q.M.G, so that I hope things will go on better in that department than they have done. That of the clothier general want rectifying. --- Avarice and corruption run thro’, disorder, and confound the execution of all our measures.
What effect the regulation of prices will have I can’t say. I wish it had been universal; that a full experiment might have been made of its efficacy; altho’ I was never fond of the measures unnatural restraints eventually do no good. ---
I delivered the account you inclosed to Mr. Penn who promised me that he would send it to their government. Such characters ought to be carefully watched; for they are capable of doing and disposed to do much mischief. Genl. [illeg] is upon the kidnapping plan at present and hath been not unsuccessful. To prevent this evil Congress have subjected all marauders and kidnappers to suffer death by a courtmartial, that are taken within 70 miles of the main army, or any detachment, under the command of a General. ---
Before this reaches you, you will have heard that the executive council of Massachusetts are authorized and requested to remove Genl Burgoynes Troops, separate and place them in such parts as that state as they may think proper. – The mulititular? General hath wrote a letter to Congress, endeavouring to exculpate himself from the charges, on which the suspension of the convention is founded, and desiring Congress to recede from their resolution. Upon which it is resolved that nothing therein contained is sufficient to induce Congress to recede from their resolution. Imagining that he might fail in this application, he hath by one of his aids laid before congress another, that he might with his suites by permitted to go to Britain on their parole. This is committed. – What a strange reverse of fortune this vainglorious man hath experienced! ----
The recd. Prelates letter was an old story when I got here. --- The virtuous Genl. You inquire after was allowed by his State 6 months absence from Congress, that he might settle his private affairs; about which and the adjustment of the accounts of the Secret commee I suppose he is employed, at his place about twenty miles from this place. It is true that L.D. is recalled and J [illeg] appointed in his room; and it is true that I am with much respect.
Yrs Wm Ellery

PS Fulsom is well at camp as a comee man Frost is hearty.