Headquarters, Cambridge, August 20, 1775
Dear Sir: Since my last of the 15th Inst. I have been favoured with yours of the 6th.--I am much concerned to find the Supplies ordered have been so much delayed. By this Time, I hope, Colonel McDougall, whose Zeal is unquestionable, has joined you with every Thing necessary for prosecuting your Plan.
Several of the Delegates from Philadelphia, who have visited our Camp, assure me, that Powder is forwarded to you, and the daily arrivals of that Article give us Reason to hope we shall soon have a very ample supply. Animated with the Goodness of our Cause, and the best wishes of your Countrymen, I am sure you will not let any Difficulties not insuperable, damp your Ardour. Perseverance and spirit have done Wonders in all Ages.
In my last (a copy of which is inclosed) I sent you an account of the Arrival of several St. Francis Indians in our Camp, and their friendly Dispositions. You have also a Copy of the Resolution of Congress, by which you will find it is their Intention only to seek a Neutrality of the Indian Nations, unless the ministerial Agents should engage them in Hostilities or enter into an offensive Alliance with them. I have been therefore embarrassed in giving them an answer when they have tendered their services and assistance. As your Situation enables you best to know the Motions of the Governour and the Agent, I proposed to him to go Home by Way of Ticonderoga, referring him to you for an answer, which you will give according to the Intelligence you have had, and the Judgment you have formed of the Transactions among our Indians; but as he does not seem in any Hurry to leave our Camp, your answer by the Return of this Express may possibly reach me before he returns and alter his Rout; Four of his Company still remain in our Camp, and propose to stay some Time with us. The Design of this Express is to communicate to you a Plan of an Expedition, which has engaged my Thoughts for several Days. It is to penetrate into Canada by Way of Kennebeck River, and so to Quebeck by a Rout ninety miles below Montreal. I can very well spare a Detachment for this Purpose of one Thousand or twelve Hundred Men, and the Land Carriage by the Rout proposed is too inconceivable to make an objection. If you are resolved to proceed, which I gather from your last Letter is your Intention, it would make a Diversion that would distract Carlton, and facilitate your Views. He must either break up and follow this Party to Quebeck, by which he will leave you a free Passage, or he must suffer that important Place to fall into our Hands, an Event, which would have a decisive Effect and Influence on publick Interests. There may be some Danger that such a sudden Incursion might alarm the Canadians and detach them from that Neutrality, which they have hitherto observed: but I should hope that with suitable Precautions and a strict Discipline preserved, any apprehensions and Jealousies might be removed. The few whom I have consulted upon it approve it much; but the final Determination is deferred until I hear from you.
You will therefore by the Return of this Messenger inform me of your ultimate Resolution. If you mean to proceed, acquaint me as particularly as you can with the Time and Force, what late Accounts you have had from Canada, and your opinion as to the Sentiments of the Inhabitants, as well as those of the Indians upon a Penetration into their Country; what Number of Troops are at Quebeck, and whether any Men of War with all other Circumstances which may be material in the Consideration of a Step of such Importance. Not a Moments Time is to be lost in the Preparations for this Enterprise if the Advice received from you favor it. With the utmost Expedition the Season will be considerably advanced, so that you will dismiss the Express as soon as possible. While the three New Hampshire Companies remain in their present Station, they will not be considered as composing a Part of the continental Army; but as a Militia under the Direction and Pay of the Colony whose Inhabitants they are, or for whose Defence they are stationed: so that it will not be proper for me to give any Orders respecting them. We still continue in the same Situation as to the Enemy as when I wrote you last; but we have had six and an half Tons of Powder from the Southward which is a very seasonable Supply. We are not able to learn any Thing further of the Intentions of the Enemy, and they are too strongly posted for us to attempt any Thing upon them at present. My best Wishes attend you, and believe me with much Truth and Regard, etc.