Prince of Wales' American Regiment
Flushing long Island, Novemr. 21, 1776
I had the honor Yesterday of communicating to your Lp. the circumstances attending the dismembering the Kings Garrisons at New Providence, my being carry'd away from thence a prisoner and the wretched state to which my Government is at this Juncture reduced, to which letter I take leave to refer your Lordship.
By the copy of a letter dated August the 1st which I wrote General HOWE when a prisoner at Connecticut, Your Lordship will see that I have during my confinement exerted every power of mine for the good of his Majestys Service, when this letter (copy of which I take the liberty to inclose) was conveyed to the General, I had actually Three Thousand four hundred & Thirty seven picked men enlisted and ready at three days notice to embark at Guildford, Stradford, Norwalk, Nursing Island &c as by my return to the General will fully appear; many of them were English, Irish, Scots, & Germans, all true friends to Government, who never meant returning to Connecticut but purpos'd availing themselves of the encouragement I have given them on the river Mississipi.
It was with infinite concern I found that the Admiral could not at that Juncture (tho' his Lordship has since done it) afford me the assistance I required for the purpose of covering the Embarcation of my men with a couple of Frigates or Sloops of War.
The Consequences, my Lord, has been in some degree fatal, for so soon as Genl. Washington demanded all the Militia, & all the old & Young people from Sixteen to Sixty years of age of Connecticut, That well Known Rebel Governor Trumbull & his council finding ye difficulty to make these people march, & leave their family's insurmountable, issued a Proclamation purporting that every man refusing to obey orders, should imediately pay the sum of £ 10.- or be imprison'd for one Year.
This occasion'd many to run away to the Neighbouring Colonies, several were confined, and others suffered Corporal Punishments for speaking their minds freely;-- In short at leaving Connecticut, a few days ago, I was mortified beyond expression to find my Brigade dwindled away, to Thirty Companys, each Company consisting of One Captain, One Lieutenant, Three Sejeants, Three Corporals & Fifty men.
I have given temporary appointments to all my Officers, which General HOWE has chearfully promis'd to confirm, so soon as the men shall be approved by me, & mustered; to effect this desireable end, the General has by an official letter, on his Maiestys Service, desired I would fix some convenient place for assembling this Corps, which I have accordingly done at Flushing, (Long Island) to which place many of the officers (some of whom served with me last war) have already repaired with their men, & I doubt not, (unforeseen accidents excepted), to be able to shew in a very Short time a brigade of as good & as well looking men as was ever raised in America, amongst the number are a parcel of west of England Miners who have been employ'd some time past by the rebels in making of lead in the neighbourhood where I was a prisoner, & were absolutely obliged to work to Keep themselves from starving.
This last acquisition has given me unspeakable pleasure, as thereby the rebels find themselves exceedingly distressed and disapointed;-
I hope my zeal for his Majestys Service will be approved by administration, the more so, I flatter myself, when it is considered that my views are totally disinterest'd, having declined any appointment or emolument in the Generals power to give me. The only recompence I wish or desire, for the many perils & dangers I have Encounter'd in carrying my Plan into Execution, is his Majestys & your Lordships approbation.
I take the Liberty to inclose to Your Lordship the restraining act, also a proclamation ordered to be read in our Churches before they were shut up, by that great rebel of all rebels, Governor Trumbull who deserves to be ground in a mill;-
Swollen with madness & red with indignation have I frequently heard my King (whom may God ever Bless) my friends, & country abused, as well by those who have long since forgot their Benefactors while they riot on ye benefits, as that impious profaness from the Pulpit which scoffs at the Institutions of Heaven, & that Slander, which like the scythe of death mows down everything in its way, & with a Satanic smile exults over the Character it has ruined; a Preacher lately in Connecticut from the pulpit very solemnly addressed Almighty God to confound the Fleet and Armies of Great Britain, & to prosper the cause of America; or if God was unwilling to do so much, he beged, "That, at least he would be so kind as to stand neuter;"
What do these Presbiterian Oracles not deserve; I have mentioned this most extraordy. Doctrine at New York, & doubt not but your Lordship will see it in the New York papers, it is my Lord an absolute fact;--
I have requested of my Dear wife to endeavour to procure the Kings leave for me to return to England, provided your Lordship thinks it may be done with propriety;- but should you be of Opinion that my commanding the Brigade which I have raised (till his Majestys farther orders) would be received well at home, I flatter myself Your Lordship will please to signify it to me by a line.
I have wrote Mrs. BROWNE a letter which purports a request to your Lordship, which I hope you will not refuse, I have requested her to shew my Letter to your Lordship.
I have the honor to be with the most profound respect, duty & Esteem
The Account of the dismembering New
Staffordshire Record Office, Earl of Dartmouth Papers, Microfilm Edition, Reel 15, D(w) 1778/II/1714.
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