George Washington Papers

From George Washington to James Warren, 9 November 1775

To James Warren

Cambridge 9 Novr 1775


A Mr Lewis who left Boston yesterday afternoon Informs me, that on account of the Scarcity of Wood and provisions in that place, General Howe has Issued a proclamation, desiring such of the Inhabitants as are Inclined to leave the Town, to give in their names & a List of their effects before Twelve OClock this day.

As the Caution necessary to be used with these people to prevent a communication of the small pox and the proper care of them when out, are Objects of Exceeding great importance, I submit them to the consideration of your Hon. body before it’s recess, & if the Honorable Council should likewise adjourn, I must also Recommend to your Attention, the necessity there is of constituting some Court, before whom all persons Inimical or Suspected to be Inimical to America, should be brought for Examination, my time is so much taken up with Military Affairs, that it is impossible for me to pay a proper attention to these matters1—There will be sent to you amongst others a James Smithwicke, who from an intercepted Letter, appears to have resolved to get into Boston, there is a small trunk belonging to him now in my possession which contains in Gold & silver about 500£ lawful money, which it is probable he Intended to carry in with him.2 The Owner & Captn of a Small Coaster put into Beverly in distress, bound from Boston to Nova Scotia, will appear before you, they have carryed on a Trade of supplying Boston with Provisions &c. for some time.3 I beg leave to refer them to your Examination & have the honor to be Sir Your Most Hble servt

G. Washington

Smithwicks Trunk will be sent to you with him.

LB, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1This afternoon the house of representatives appointed a committee to confer with Lewis, whom GW sent to Watertown, and the following day the house appointed another committee to consider the problems posed by a renewed exodus of refugees from Boston. On 11 Nov. the latter committee reported, and the house directed Thomas Crafts, Edward Proctor, and Isaac Pierce to provide transportation for poor refugees to Hampshire County or other suitable places in the colony and to prevent the spread of smallpox “by smoking, cleansing, airing, and detaining Persons or Effects, as they may judge necessary” (Mass. House of Rep. Journals, July–Nov. 1775 description begins A Journal of the Honorable House of Representatives of the Colony of the Massachusetts-Bay in New-England. Watertown, Mass., 1775. (Microfilm Collection of Early State Records). description ends sess., 253, 258, 265–66). Both the house and council recessed from 11 to 29 November.

2Smithwick’s case was referred to the council (ibid., 252).

3The council today ordered Andrew Ritchie (alias Dr. John Ritchie; born c.1729) of Boston and John Ritchie (born c.1752) of Salem, who were captured when their sloop North Britain wrecked on 4 Nov., to be confined in the Salem jail until further orders (Clark, Naval Documents description begins William Bell Clark et al., eds. Naval Documents of the American Revolution. 11 vols. to date. Washington, D.C., 1964—. description ends , 2:946, 1317).

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