George Washington Papers

To George Washington from David Forman, 1 September 1780

From David Forman

Freehold [N.J.] 1st of Sepr 1780


I This afternoon recd information from my Inteligencer on the High lands of Middle Town That a Large Number of Shipping Appeared Early This Morning in The Narrowes—At Twelve OClock One Hundered Sail had Come too at Sandy Hook and a Number of Large Ships Then on There way down from The Narrowes—Some of Them he Thinks are Large Ships of War, but Could not determin with Certainty when he sent of the Express to me.1

All Accts from New York agree that There has been an Amazingly severe press there for Some time past and still Continues2—That the People are very generally dissatisfied and dispirited—it was allso said Sir Harry was Imbarking his Troops for Rhode Island—As Soone as The fleet makes sail and any Opinion Can be formed of there Course your Excly shall be informed of it.3 I have The Honr to be Your Excellencys Most Obdt Huml. Servt

David Forman


1William Smith, royal chief justice of New York, wrote in his memoirs for 4 Sept.: “The Fleet 150 odd Sail leave the Hook for England” (Sabine, Smith’s Historical Memoirs [1971] description begins William H. W. Sabine, ed. Historical Memoirs from 26 August 1778 to 12 November 1783 of William Smith. . .. New York, 1971. description ends , 329). GW erroneously interpreted this transport fleet as a threat against the French forces at Rhode Island (see GW to Rochambeau, 3 and 8 Sept., and Rochambeau to GW, 6 and 14 Sept.).

2For British efforts to impress sailors, see Rochambeau to GW, 31 Aug., n.6.

3GW acknowledged this letter when he wrote Forman on 4 September.

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