George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Jacob Bayley, 26 February 1776

From Colonel Jacob Bayley

Newbury [Vt.] 26th February 1776


The Views I had in sending Men from hence to Canada was as follows.

That I had a Rumour of General Montgomerys Defeat at Quebec, but no Certainty, I wanted to know, that we might do every thing in our Power to strengthen and Encourage them.

That they in Canada might know that help even from Cambridge might be soon and Certain with them—And that Your Excellency might have some Certainty that the Plan I proposed to Colo: Little some time since to make a Road to Canada by way of Misisque was not founded on imagination or out of selfish Views, which may be suggested as I live near the Line the Road must go.1

I have also sent inclosed the Journal of the Men who went over as also a Copy of my Letter to Genl Wooster, with his Answer to satisfy your Excellency of the View I had,2 and can further assure Your Excellency that a Post may go from hence to Montreal without any difficulty or Obstruction the Point from hence is nearly N. West—I must beg Your Excellencys Pardon for troubling you with this Letter and beg leave to Subscribe myself Your Excellency’s most Obt hble Servt3

Jacob Bayley


1Bayley proposed the building of this road to Moses Little in a letter of 24 Nov. 1775. See GW to Hancock, 25 Dec. 1775, n.6. The Missisquoi River flows through northern Vermont to Missisquoi Bay at the northern end of Lake Champlain on the border between the United States and Canada.

2The journal of Frye Bayley and Abiel and Silas Chamberlain, who left Newbury for Montreal on 1 Feb. and returned on 18 Feb., is in DLC:GW. The three men carried to Montreal the letter of 21 Jan. 1776 that Jacob Bayley wrote to David Wooster on behalf of the Haverhill and Newbury committees of safety. “We have here,” Bayley informed Wooster, “the Malancholy News of a Defeat of General Montgomery at Quebec, tho’ we are not Certain of the Truth of it yet think it our Duty to send Men not only to get Intelligence ourselves but that the Situation of Affairs in Canada may be known at Head Quarters & the quickest way to March from Cambridge to Canada—We are apprehensive that from hence Men might March to you in Six or Seven days which the Bearers can inform you, If you have any Express to General Washington in three days from hence we can Convey it to him” (DLC:GW). Wooster replied to Bayley on 10 Feb. 1776: “The Publick are much Obliged to you, and to the Committees of Haverhill and Newbury for your Attention and Care to promote to [the] Interest of the Country—I was happy to find, and shall gratefully remember your patriotic and friendly concern for our little Army in this Country—We have truely been very critically situated since the Repulse at Quebec, but by being particularly vigilant, and doubling Duty, which has been very severe we have kept our Ground good, and as we have already received some Succours and daily expect more from our friends in the Colonies, we still hope to give an Account of our brave Countrymen who were unfortunately made Prisoners—The Congress seem determined to Support us—The securing this Province is truly an object of great importance to our Cause and I hope will be considerd in that light by all true friends to the Country and I doubt not proper Provision will be made for that purpose—The Rout from Cambridge to Canada by Misisque has been already represented at Head Quarters” (DLC:GW).

3George Lewis replied to Bayley on 7 Mar. 1776: “Colo. Little delivered to General Washington your favour of the 26th Ulto inclosing the journal of the Men who went to Canada through Misisqua and your proposal for cutting a road through that Country[.] His Excellency commands me to return you his thanks for the same, and to acquaint you that he has sent a Copy thereof to Philadelphia to be laid before the Congress and that whenever he receives their determination thereon he will write you fully on the Subject” (DLC:GW). For GW’s referral of Bayley’s proposal to Congress, see GW to Hancock, 25 Dec. 1775 and 5 May 1776, and GW to Samuel Adams, 22 Mar. 1776. On 10 May 1776 Congress directed GW to proceed with the road (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 4:342; see also GW to Bayley, 29 April, 25 June, and 17 Oct. 1776).

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