George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Clark & Nightingale, 2 September 1775

From Clark & Nightingale

Providence Septr 2d 1775


Agreeable to your request by Captn George Baylor your Excellency’s Aid De Camp1 we have deliver’d him all the Gun Powder & Lead with what arms his Honr Govr Cooke thought would be expedient to spare, the remainder of the Powder & Arms which are but few & not yet come to Town, he thinks will be best to continue here in order to supply the Inhabitants in case of an Attack upon these parts.

As our vessel is not arrived here, & we have not been able to obtain the Captns Accounts with respect to the voyage2 we can not asscertain our proportion of these articles, The Provincial Congress of the Massachusets Bay being equally concerned with us in them, they having advanced four thousand Dollars to which we put the like sum to be invested in Military Stores if they could be procured, It will therefore be intirely out of our power to have this Matter adjusted till the Captns arrival; for which reason we must request your Excellency to inform Colo. Benj. Lincoln (to whom we wrote) as he was formerly one of the Committee of Supplies & now one of the Councel of the Massachussets Bay & the person with whom we contracted, that you have the Powder & Lead dld to you, & that the arms & five thousand flints will be sent by the first opportunity, for which your Excellency will please to settle with them, as soon as they know the amot which shall be, as immediately on the Captns arrival,3 we are with due respect Your Excellency’s Most Obedient & Most Obliged humble Servants

Clark & Nightingale


2The company’s vessel, commanded by John Burroughs Hopkins (1742–1796), arrived at Norwich on 28 Aug., and most of the cargo was forwarded to Providence by land (Nicholas Cooke to GW, 30 Aug. 1775). Hopkins, a resident of Providence, served as a captain in the Continental navy from 22 Dec. 1775 to sometime in 1779, when, despite his success in taking several prizes, he was suspended from the Continental service for violating his instructions. During the following two years Hopkins commanded privateers.

3In a letter to Benjamin Lincoln written on 7 Sept., Joseph Reed quotes the second paragraph of Clark & Nightingale’s letter of this date and goes on to say: “I am now by the General’s direction to acquaint you that 7298 lb. Nt Powder & 6 ct. 2 qt 3 lb. Lead have been received by the Commissary of Artillery of the Continental Army for which he will account with this Province whenever the Papers will enable him so to do” (DLC:GW). GW wrote Hancock on 7 Sept. that he had received 7,000 pounds of gunpowder from Clark & Nightingale and expected to receive 7 tons of lead and 500 firearms.

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