George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Robert R. Livingston, 12 June 1782

Philadelphia 12th June 1782

Dear Sir

I was honoured with your Letter of the 5th inst. A disapointment which the printers have subjected me to has hitherto prevented my sending you a cypher my secretary is now prepared in compleating one if he can finish in time it will accompany this Letter. As one great object of Britain in carrying on only a defensive war in this country is evidently to enable them to turn more of their resources into another channel to garrison their possessions in the the west indies & to equip greater fleets—do not our obligations to our ally & our desire of peace equally conspire to urge us to every exertion that may serve to defeat this design. In this view it might perhaps be important to collect the troops & have them placed in such a situation as would enable your Excellency to strike on the shortest notice—this indeed is already in a great measure the situation of your army but as it is well known that they are not sufficiently numerous to attempt any thing of themselves a junction with the french troops seems essential to keep the British under such apprehention, as would have the desired effect—I ought to appologize to your Excellency for touching upon a subject to which I am so little competent But you will I am persuaded see the propriety of it when I inform you that by advises so late as the 4th Ult. from the Cape we learn that [29] sail of the line (I imagine this must include the sagitair & the Experiment) had arrived there many of them much damaged notwithstanding which the Marquis De Vodruil Vaudreuil on whom the command devolved had declined proceeding on the expedition owing as is supposed to divissions that prevail in the fleet & suspicions entertained of Mr Bouganville—But the Marquis De Bouille was about to go to France to receive the orders of the court as then the french will probably want those orders at the Cape while the British [will] be under the necessity of leaving Jamaica during the Hurricane season I think it probable that they will in the mean time reinforce Jamaica from New York unless a shew of attack is kept up whereas while they labour under the apprehentions of a seige they will be reduced to the alternative of abandoning either N.Y. or Jamaica & I am much of opinion the last will appear the greatest object Besides which I am so persuaded it would have effects upon our negotiations to shew that instead of acquiescing tacitly on the plan of neutrality proposed for this country that we were preparing to take the earliest opportunity to act offensively—that I am anxious to know your Excellencys sentiments on this subject as far as you may think it proper to entrust me with them—I see indeed one obstacle to the moving of the american army—I can only lament it & wish that my hopes of its being removed were less distant.

The affair of Huddy will make some noise in Europe that I may be prepared to meet every misrepresentation there I wish to be informed by your excellency of steps the enemy take in that business & of every occurence that may thro light upon this interesting event—we are at present without a word of news that can contribute either to your information or amusement—I beg sir that you would do me the honor to return my most respectful comps to Mrs Washington in which Mrs Livingston would join but that she is at present out of town. I have the honor to be Dear Sir with the greatest respect & esteem Your Excellencys Most [Ob.] &c.

NHi: Robert Livingston Papers.

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