George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Joshua Wentworth, 10 January 1776

From Joshua Wentworth

Portsmouth [N.H.] Jany 10t[h] 1776


Yesterday came to Town, from London last from Pool in England, (via Casco Bay) four masters of Vessels belongg to this Port;1 from whom I have collected all the News Papers, I Possibly Cou’d, with Sundry packages & Letters, and as I have it in Direction from your Excellency to forward any letters that arrive here, I take the readiest method of there reaching your Excellency, by Dispatching my Young man.

The newspapers are much defaced previous to there coming to my hand, the anxiety of Americans, occation’d a frequent Perusal, which I hope may appoligize for there present state.

The Captains Intend setg out for Head Quarters in a day or two, who have Verbal Informations to your Excellency from some Gentlemen of Note in London.2

In the Interim I have to inform your Excellency that a number of Transports sail’d on or about the time these Gentlemen left England (say 6 novr) with Stores for Boston, without Convoy, Three of which were large Ships, formerly in The service of the India Compy & are defenceless—I sincerly wish some of the American Arm’d vessels may Conduct them safe to other Ports than there first destination. I am with much respect Your Excellencys most obe. h[umbl]e Servt

Josha Wentworth


Robert Hanson Harrison replied to Wentworth on 14 Jan.: “I am commanded by his Excellency to acknowledge the receipt of your favour of the 10th Inst. with Sundry News papers, packages &c. by your Young man & to return you his thanks for the same & your great attention to the directions he has given you—he is much Obliged for your Information respectg the Store Ships & wishes with you, that they or some of them may be brought safe into Port by our Armed Cruzors, as they will be of immense value to us” (DLC:GW).

Wentworth also wrote to Stephen Moylan on 10 Jan. informing him that the newspapers and letters from England were sent to GW and adding: “I have discharg’d the potatoe Vessel [the Rainbow] by Storeing about 550 bushels in a celler, soon as disposed Off I shall transmit you Sales &c.” (ibid.). Moylan replied about 14 Jan. directing Wentworth to dispose of the potatoes “at any price rather than have them perish” and “to Libel Sd Schooner agreeable to Resolves of Congress Sent him herewith.” The memorandum of Moylan’s letter in DLC:GW is misdated 10 January. No copy of the full letter has been found. For the capture of the schooner Rainbow by Winborn Adams on 25 Nov., see GW to Hancock, 30 Nov. 1775, n.2. For the resolves sent to Wentworth, see Circular to Jonathan Glover, William Bartlett, and William Watson, 3 Jan. 1776, n. 1.

1It was reported in the Essex Journal and New-Hampshire Packet (Newburyport, Mass.) of 12 Jan. 1776 that “On Wednesday the 3d of January, arrived in Pemaquid harbour, the brig Squirrel, Richard Willis, master, from Poole, in England, which place he left the 6th of November, in whom came passengers the Captains [Thomas] Palmer, [Josiah] Shackford, [Stephen] Meeds and [John] Hart, of Portsmouth, and Capt. Gideon Crawford, of Providence.” Poole has one of the best harbors on the south coast of England. Casco Bay is off the coast near Portland, Maine. Pemaquid Harbor is northeast of Casco Bay near present-day Bristol, Maine.

2For the intelligence that the captains gave GW, see GW to Hancock, and GW to Joseph Reed, both 14 Jan. 1776.

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