George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., 12 April 1777

To Jonathan Trumbull, Sr.

Morris Town April 12th 1777


As Mr Fornandez1 an Officer just released from Captivity by an exchange, informs me, that large and weekly supplies of fresh provision are brought into York, which, he was informed2 by a Friend of ours, came from Connecticut, but whether by Water or by Land he does not know—This information I have thought proper to transmit to your Honor by the earliest opportunity, that you may adopt such measures as its importance demands, and which shall seem most likely to prevent a practice so wicked, and so injurious in its consequences—It is probable3 the most common mode of conveyance is by water, and that the Supplies are from those who live on the Sound. However, it will be well to have the disaffected bordering on the State of York, watched with a scrupulous care, as well as those continguous to the Sound.

Mr Fornandez adds, that Colo. Rogers and other Officers, whose names he does not recollect, have left York on the recruiting Service and gone into Connecticut, as he was advised—It is also said by a Mr Deputy Commissary Frink who has been just exchanged too, that Selleck of Stamford is frequently in the City of York, and that one John Hart is gone to Rhode Island to pass Counterfeit Money4—It highly imports us to detect and apprehend these Villains whose Crimes are of great enormity, and I should hope, if this intelligence is communicated to some of our prudent—trusty Freinds in different parts of the State, in those5 most favorable to their views, that it might be effected—Rogers is an active instrument in the Enemy’s hands, and his conduct has a peculiar claim to our notice.6

I have nothing special to mention respecting the Enemy—As yet they have made no movement, but from our advices of their preparations, there are strong reasons to beleive, that they are upon the eve of doing it; and from a variety of combining circumstances it appears, that Philadelphia will be the first object of their attention. I only regret that I have not the means, the exigency of our Affairs requires, and that a strange unaccountable languor seems but too generally to prevail at a time, when the preservation of our Rights and of all that is dear, calls loudly for the most vigorous and active exertions. I have the Honor to be with great Respect Sir Your most obedient Servant

Go: Washington

LB, Ct: Trumbull Papers; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1The draft and Varick transcript read: “A Mr Fernandez.” For the recent exchange of Ens. James Fernandis of Maryland, see Robert Magaw to GW, 6 April, n.1.

2The draft and Varick transcript read: “he was told.”

3The draft and Varick transcript read: “most probable.”

4Fitzpatrick identifies the deputy commissary as Daniel Frink (Fitzpatrick, Writings description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed. The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745–1799. 39 vols. Washington, D.C., 1931–44. description ends , 7:403, n.9; see also Sabine, Fitch’s New-York Diary description begins W. H. W. Sabine, ed. The New-York Diary of Lieutenant Jabez Fitch of the 17th (Connecticut) Regiment from August 22, 1776 to December 15, 1777. New York, 1954. description ends , 119, 129). Selleck may be Thaddeus Selleck, who fled from Stamford, Conn., to the British army in New York in 1776, or Abraham Selleck, whose property in Stamford was confiscated in 1778. The Providence Gazette and Country Journal of 17 May 1777 says that on 12 May “a Person by the Name of Hart was taken at Exeter, and committed to Gaol here as a Spy. A Number of counterfeit Forty-eight Shilling Bills, dated November, 1776, in Imitation of the Massachusetts Money of that Date, were found on him, which he confesses he brought from New-York. He was Yesterday tried by a Court-Martial, and we hear is to be executed this Day, at Eleven o’Clock.”

5The draft and Varick transcript read: “particularly in those.”

6GW conveyed the intelligence about Rogers to Alexander McDougall on 13 April: “This information I have transmitted to the Governor, and have thought it expedient to communicate it to you. Rogers is an active Instrument in the hands of the Enemy and he may not confine himself to Connecticut—If it is possible, I wish to have him apprehended and secured” (LS, CSmH).

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