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Whipple, William (1730-1785) to John Langdon

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC06692 Author/Creator: Whipple, William (1730-1785) Place Written: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 7 November 1776 Pagination: 4 p. : docket ; 32.8 x 19.7 cm.

Summary of Content: Docketed by Langdon on verso. Reporting on the difficulties supplying the army and navy, military plans, and the mood in Congress. Mentions a shipment of guns with defects. Comments on officer promotions. Mentions the Marine Committee's answer to a letter from the Committee of Providence. Mentions the petition of an officer to be "Releavd," which he describes as a "Petition for a Public Body to break their own Genl: Rules." He doubts it will pass but states that he will render assistance. Discusses clothing the troops, who he finds "in good spirit" though "almost naked." Doubts the states will respond to a recommendation to issue provisions. Reasserts his belief that independence will be achieved, but also expresses his wish to "put a speedy end to Slaughter & devastation which already is great, but must still be greater if the war Continues which nothing will prevent but the utmost exertions of the Friends to Liberty & Humanity[.] such Exertions under the smiles of Heaven, will restore peace & Establish Happiness in this western world." Also comments on military rumors. Has heard it is likely that General William Howe "has but two moves more in which we shall Check Mate him." Comments on a desertion by Hessians. Sends congressional resolutions relating to the navy. Includes a long post script on the departure of General Howe from White Plains, New York, General George Washington's dispatch of 4000 troops to protect New Jersey, and British retreat from Crown Point.

Background Information:

Full Transcript: Philadelphia 7th Novr 1776
My Dr Sir
My last was by the Schooner Betsy by whom thro' Your favour I ship'd 12 Barrels flour I now take the Liberty to inclose James ...Millers receipt for the same have desird Mrs. W to settle the freight with you & shall also desire her to apologize for the trouble I give you - I have got an order on the Treasury & shall Honour Your Draughts whereon they appear - I mention'd by Col: Bartledt how matters stood respecting the Gum & cannot help flattering myself you'll have them from Connecticut the Furnices here have been very unfortunate the Guns that were brought down before I left this place last Augt have been try'd a second time and many of them would not stand the proof so that there is not Guns in this City for one ship - The President, tels me he has forwarded the Commisions for the Officers. Its happen'd unlucky for the Officers of the Raleigh [inserted: that] the Bank was establish'd before my arival had not that have been the case I am inclin'd to think they wod have been higher on the list, however their Merit I am in no doubt will recommend them to promotion ---- The Marine Committee have receiv'd a letter from the Committee of Providence in answer to one sent them in consequence of what your wrote Col: Bartlett, a Copy of which also a Copy of one from Gov: Hopkins (who is now [2] at Providence) I shall procure & transmit, & leave you to comment on them , in the mean time I'll undertake to defend you against Calumny~
I have just receiv'd Your favor of the 21lttto your giving up to Capt: Plance his small adventure is in my opinion very right, but by some hints that have been dropd am inclin'd to think that some Gentn suppose you have exceeded your Power, Capt: Bowden I find has preferr'd a Petition which is refer'd to a Committee I have a letter from Colo: Wentworth on the Subject, which I shall answer in a day or two, I heartily wish these may be some method [struck: may be] adopted whereby that Gentlemen May be Relado'd but must confess am doubtful of the success of his Petition ~ for a Public Body to break their own Genl: Rules may be attended with evil consequences, however I shall do all in my Power to have this matter determin'd as speedily as possible, & shall use my endeavours to serve Capt Bowden so fare as (in my opinion) is consistant with the Public Good. - I have no news to tel you, aust from abroad are any favorable hope to have it in my Power to Transmit you some Pleasing intelligence shortly, in the meantime I wish effectual measures may be taken to procure Cloathing for the army, Congress pass Resolves & send them aborad, but Gentm , even those who compose Public Bodies suffer their attention to be so much ingross'd by their private interest that the Public concerns of the utmost importance is neglected notwithstanding their own & their Countrys Salvation is at stake, Our armys are in good Spirits but can it be expected that that will be case long, when they are almost naked? Congress have been disappointed in some Goods, that was expected some time ago, perhaps they will still arrive, no doubt some will, in the mean time it has been recommended to the several states to make all the provisions [3] they can but I dont see that such Recommendation has any Effect, I have write very freely, but hope you'll make a prudent use of it, I by no means wod Discourage; my desire is to animate every one, to exert himself, in the Glorious cause in which America, is ingag'd, for my own part I have not a doubt of Success, in the end, but my wish is to put a speedy and [struck: the] to slaughter & devastation which already is great, but must be still greater if the [inserted: war] continues which nothing will prevent but the utmost exertions under the Friends to Liberty & Humanity such Exertions under the Smiles of Heaven , will restore peace to & Establish Happiness in this western world --- (Our last accounts from the Army is favorable, Genl: Lee in a private Letter to a friend says that Howe has but two moves more in which we shall Check Mate him I must leave the Explanation of this to those who understand the Game of Chess; a Report is just ariv'd that many Hessians has deserted, if this proves true it's a favorable circumstance, great pains has been taken to persuade those people that they wod be Masscurd if they fell into the hands of the Americans, those that have been taken are very agreeably disapointed & say that if their Country men were indeceiv'd there wod be a general Revolt, some measures have been taken for this purpose & perhaps with effort- ) inclosed you have some late Resolutions of Congress respecting the navy, some farther proposals are before Congress, which I expect will be soon taken up ~ present my Regard wherever due, & be assured of the best wishes of Your Friend Lee ---
Wm: Whipple

[4] 10th: Note Genl: Howe (not liking the Situation of our army) remov'd very suddenly in the night from white Plains, where he was encamped, this movement was a matter of great speculation in our army, but from the observations made on his motions it was conjectur'd that he intended to Crop over & New Jersey Genl: Washington has detached about 4, 000 under the Command of Genl: Putnam over the River above him, in order to give him a proper Reception on this side - advice is just arriv'd that the Enemy had retreated from Crown Point the Particulars of this affair is hourly Expected by [inserted: an] Express that's on the Road

Wm Whipple Esqr
Letter Phila
Nov. 7. 1776

See More

People: Whipple, William, 1730-1785
Langdon, John, 1741-1819

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: Continental CongressCongressRevolutionary WarMilitary HistoryMilitary SuppliesNavyWeaponryClothing and AccessoriesMilitary UniformsMilitary ProvisionsGlobal History and CivicsForeign AffairsRevolutionary War GeneralWartime Pillaging and DestructionDesertionHessians

Sub Era: The War for Independence

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