George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the Falmouth Committee of Safety, 2 November 1775

From the Falmouth Committee of Safety

Falmouth [District of Maine] Novr 2. 1775


We have receiv’d your polite Favour of the 24. ultmo. It gives us inexpressible Concern to find that it is out of your Power to afford us any Aid. And we are the more concern’d, on the Arrival yesterday of the Ship Cerberus, with a number of Men, said to be about four hundred. Those we expect will in a few hours land & take possession of the Town.1 How soon they will penetrate in the Country, God only knows, for what can a People do without Arms & Ammunition to defend themselves—The Poor distress’d People drove from their Habitations by the late cruel destruction of the Town, can scarcely find sufficient Places for their accommodation, & the Country is so engag’d in making provision for them, that we find it difficult to raise the Militia for our present defence—But we have only two half barrels of Powder in Stock, & we almost fear to make an Opposition.

We think it our Duty to represent our situation to you, not doubting that if you can think of any measures to relieve us consistent with the General Interest you will do it.

We are in great want of some Person of a martial Spirit to conduct the few Forces we already have.2 We are Sir, with great respect, Your most obedient, & very hume Servts

Enoch Moody Chairman of the Committee of Falmouth3

Inclos’d is a manifesto sent on shore by the Captain of the Cerberus—who verbally demanded of 2 or 3 Gentn who went on board Yesterday, 20 Sheep & to come on shore for Wood & Water unmolested—Allso is inclos’d Capt. Mowats Letter.4

LS, DLC:GW. For the reply to this letter, see GW to Enoch Moody, 6 Nov. 1775.

1The Cerberus left Falmouth a short time later without occupying or attacking the town.

2On 11 Nov. the Massachusetts General Court appointed Gen. Joseph Frye to command the militia of Cumberland County, the county in which Falmouth was located.

3Enoch Moody (c.1714–1777) moved to Falmouth from Newbury, Mass., in 1738. He served the town as a selectman as well as chairman of the committee of safety.

4Copies of Henry Mowat’s letter of 16 Oct. to the inhabitants of Falmouth and John Symons’s proclamation of 1 Nov. are both in DLC:GW. Symons warned the citizens of the town and its vicinity “that, if after this Publick Notice; any Violences shall be offered to any of the Officers of the Crown; or other peaceably disposed Subjects of His Majesty; Or, if any bodies of Men shall be raised, and Armed in the said Town, and Country adjacent, Or any Military Works erected; otherwise than by order of His Majesty, or those acting under His Authority, Or, if any attempts shall be made, to Seize, or destroy, any publick Magazines of Arms, Ammunition, or other Stores, It will be indispensibly my Duty, to proceed with the most Vigorous efforts against the said Town, as in open Rebellion against the King.”

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