From Thomas Cushing
Watertown [Mass.] May 3d 1776
By order of a Committee of the General Court of this Colony, whereof I have the Honr to be Chairman, I enclose you a Copy of a piece of Intelligence, which is of the greatest Importance, received by Capt. John Lee, a Gentleman who may be depended upon.1 We would humbly submit it to your Excellency whether, as the British Troops left this Colony in Disgrace, they will not return here to retrieve their Character. On this occasion we take leave to suggest to your Consideration whether it would not, considering the Number which are gone out of this Colony, be for the public Safety to reinforce the Detachment under General Ward’s Command, as soon as may be; as the Regiments under his Command are by no means full. I am, with great Respect, your Excellency’s most hume Servt
LS, DLC:GW; Df, M-Ar: Revolution Letters; LB, M-Ar: Revolution Letters; copy, enclosed in GW to Hancock, 7 May 1776, DNA:PCC, item 152; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; copy, DLC: Hancock Papers.
At the end of the LS, GW wrote: “Genl Washington Would remark upon the above that one of the 5 Regiments left at Boston was compleat, & that the other 4 containd the average of those brought away.” This notation also appears on the copies of this letter in DNA:PCC.
1. The intelligence is contained in a letter that Timothy Pickering, Jr., chairman of the Salem committee of safety, wrote on behalf of that committee to the Massachusetts General Court at 9 p.m. on 2 May. Most of the committee of safety’s information came from Richard Derby, Jr., of Newburyport, Mass., who had heard it that afternoon from Capt. John Lee, a shipmaster just arrived at Newbury from Bilboa, Spain. A similar version of Captain Lee’s intelligence appears in Artemas Ward’s letter to GW of this date. The Salem committee of safety also included an excerpt from a letter dated 27 Mar. that Lee had brought to Isaac Smith from Joseph Gardoqui, a merchant in Bilboa. “No other news from England,” Gardoqui wrote, “but that 17,300 German troops were going to Boston and Canada some of which were embarking about 3 Weeks ago” (DLC:GW). Cushing conveyed the same intelligence to John Hancock in a letter of this date (DNA:PCC, item 65).