From William Gordon
Boston July 2. 1778
My dear Sir
I just catch a few minutes before the post goes off to acquaint you that Lord Chatham is dead—that no troops whatsoever are coming either from G.B. or Ireland—that tho’ an English fleet of 1–90 guns 9–74 & 1–64 may be sailed from St Helens, a powerful provision has been made for counteracting them when they are upon the American coast; their opposers may possibly be at the Rendezvous before them. A vessel arrived from France yesterday.1 My prayers are daily offered for your Excellency’s success; & tho’ you have not met with so early or so full a support as you had a right to expect, I hope Clinton’s army will by your military skill be speedily rendered as harmless as Burgoynes. With great esteem I remain your Excellency’s sincere friend & very humble servant
1. The news of a British fleet “in the Road of St. Helens, near Portsmouth,” England, was contained in a letter of 18 May from the American commissioners in Paris, which was published in Boston newspapers of this date. The letter was apparently brought by Capt. Joseph Chapman, who left Nantes, France, in late May. Chapman also brought news that Lord Chatham had died, that “No reinforcements have been sent, nor are to be sent to the armies at Philadelphia or New York,” and “that a Fleet of 21 Sail of Men of War, sailed from Nantz on the 13th April, for America” (see Independent Chronicle. And the Universal Advertiser, 2 July, and Continental Journal, and Weekly Advertiser, 2 and 9 July; see also Boston-Gazette, and Country Journal, 6 July).