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Claims and Memorials
Intelligence Report from Pierre DePeyster


May 26th 1782

Dear Sir

Its some time since you heard from me owing to the unsettled State you appear to be in on your side the water; and the seeming determination of not makeing use of information; what its owing to cannot conceive but suppose instructions from the other side the Atlantic;

The System that’s to be pursued we are ignorant of, but flatter ourselves that the Commander in Chief lately arrived comes with full powers as well in the field as in the Cabinet.

Under the impression of that Idea if any information that may that may [sic] come within my knowledge and will be of the least Service or contribute in the smallest degree to advance any measures that Sir Guy may think necessary you will make a tender of then and in short whatever is [in] my Power shall not be wanting.

At present the most material Intelligence I can furnish you with is respecting the Bank the flourishing state of which you have heard so much of an[d] so often extol’d has stopped discounting notes, which presages no good to them;

money is exceedingly scarce so much so that they cannot Comply with their contracts; the Consequences of which are that most of the Contra[c]tors for the army have declined for the want of Cash they were to be furnished with from the Bank.

Mr. Morris who is the financier absolutely declared to one of the Contractors who is a friend of his, and he puts the utmost confidence in, that unless Congress cou’d fall upon some means or other to furnish the Bank with the money they assured him they shou’d, and be more punctual in seeing the taxes paid, which he apprehended wou’d not or cou’d not be the Case, as the chief dependance was upon their trade and from the command the British had of the sea, Chesepeake, & Delaware in particular that the fleet momently expected from the Havannah wou’d be intercepted; which if they were the Consequences must be fatal;

much more conversation passed similar to the above.

I have been thus particular to shew you the Idea they entertain of the Consequence of their Bank, and the fears and apprehensions they are under least it might fail.

Mr. Morris points out to you in his Conversation the very method you are to pursue to destroy the Fabrick that they with so much pains have been creating and are now exerting every nerve to support, you have the financier for Authority, better you cannot have.

Therefore my Dear Sir proffit from the advice an[d] whatever Interest you have with the Admiral make use of in urging the Blocking up the Delaware, and Chesepeake without delay it will not only be advancing the fortunes of the Gentlemen of the Navy but doing a most esential piece of service to their Country.

The season is now arrived that will admit the Cruzing in Boston Bay where last spring there arrived 57 Sail of Vessels within 12 Days.

You recollect what I pointed out [to] you last fall and urged so much, I wish it cou’d be put in execution at this time it would have many good effects though not altogether these happy ones it would have been attended with at that time, as to success if you wish it you Can have it, it depends upon yourselves it wants nothing but Vigorous exertions on your part and no delays.

I fear I have tired your patience however as I have got upon the strain shall give you what knowledge I have of the army.

The french troops have orders to hold themselves in readiness to march to the Northward the Rhode Island troops are under similar orders they Winter’d at Philadelphia and buried near 200 men owing to a fever they Bro’t with them from Virginia;

The Jersey Line are at Bottle Hill within 3 miles of Morris town they Consist of about 600 men; The New York line Near Pompton.

The Eastern troops Garrison West Point and its environs under Genl. Heath. The Park of Artillery 42 pieces of Different Callibers with that corps commanded by Colonel Lamb (Genl. Knox being gone on to New Windsor) are at Burlington, and most of that taken with Lord CORNWALLIS is at Philadelphia.

Genl. Washington is at Newburgh he’s indefatigable in the Disciplining his army and examining into every thing that requires his attention he generally goes down to West point about 5 in the morning and remains untill 3 in the afternoon.

Great preparations have been and are makeing at that place a large Quantity of Powder arrived there a short time since and five thousand stand of Arms, the Boats of which they have a number are all ordered to be repaired;

a Large contract for Shells & Shot entered into by the French; And the Washington armed ship (late his Majesties sloop Monk) dispatch’d to the West Indies though it was generaly thought to France by the the [sic] French and American Generals;

from all these circumstances you may judge that something is intended; and as a further confirmation it is the general opinion that the Marquis Fayette is expected with either men, money, or ships, which of these or if any I cannot determine;

the Delaware and Chesepeake is held out as the places of his intended arrival, though in my Opinion it will be a more Eastern port; from this reason, that he will be less liable to be intercepted by your Cruizers.

From what has been Observed we wou’d conclude your City to be the place that these preprations are intended against, though I cannot but help being of opinion they have their Eye upon Canada from some Conversations I had formerly and from some others matters that have occurred since, I hope you are guarded there and have a Sufficient water force.

All these matters will Depend upon the Operations of the Fleet in the West Indies; nothing more occurs to me at present worth your attention, if any of Consequence turns up and you wish to know it you shall have it any Interrogatories will be attended to.

Let the Colonel & major know that one of the Machines is Completed and will proceed in the course of a few Days unless they countermand it.

Yrs. &c &c

[Pierre DePEYSTER]

Great Britain, Public Record Office, Audit Office, Class 13, Volume 109, folios 22-24.

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