Providence Rhode Island June 21st 1780
I should be unworthy of the Confidence reposed in me at this time by your Excellency if I did not from time to time inform you of the progress I had made in the business you were pleased to send me on and I am Sorry indeed to inform your Excellency that notwithstanding all my exertions (which have been used to the utmost of my power) I have not a prospect of coming up to the Spirit of your Instructions to me. In my last of 11th Instant I mentioned my intention of waiting on the Assembly in hopes they would point out proper Buildings for Hospitals. Upon my being called before the House, I was Interrogated whether I had any particular places in View, which I thought would answer the purpose. I informed them that I had visited Several places, by desire of the Council of War, and could not say that I knew of any; except the College, which I mentioned to them with all the Advantages attending it. Another place called [Nussulls] Farm on Papusquash on which [are] four Barns and a Good Dwelling House was likewise mentioned—This place is fifteen miles down the River from Providence, on a Narrow neck of Land, well aired and watered, but in my Opinion very unsafe as Newport is so far a Frigate or two might easyly run up within Musket Shot & take the Paroles of all the Sick & go off with impunity. The House went fully upon the Matter and a Vote passed the Lower House two to one that I should take the College, upon which I came off, but it Seems before it was passed into a Resolve of both Houses a Remonstrance was obtained by the Parson (a Mr Manning) from the people of Providence which occasioned a Reconsideration; And as the Parson had taken great pains to Inflame the people and make them beleive that a Disease not less mortal than the Plague was to be brought in by the Fleet, the Vote was set asside, And a Resolve of both houses Substituted in its place, which I herewith Inclose. In which your Excellency will See that in place of having proper houses provided previous to the Arrival of the French Fleet and Army, I must wait untill the old Barracks are collected from different parts of the State & Erected. And notwithstanding I urged in the Strongest terms the impropriety of Depending upon Barracks for Hospitals And the uncertainty of the time they might be wanted, I have nothing left for it now, but to have those Erected as fast as possible and in the best manner I can and I am affraid when that is done (Could it possibly happen before the Arrival of the Fleet) that they will be insufficient for the number. The D.Q.M.G. here Colo. Bowen has been and is very Active in doing everything in his power to forward this important business. What Effect it may have upon Mr Corny when he Arrives here and not find the Houses ready, I cannot say, but it has given me more uneasyness than any thing I ever undertook—I should be glad of your Excellencys opinion whether this place upon Paupasquash should be occupied, as the best buildings are there, & it is well Situated for Milk & Vegetables—What other Buildings are not Erected there are to be removed and erected within three miles of this Place—Some difficulty is likewise in the way with regard to Flour. The Goverr of Connecticut has not yet granted liberty to have it brought from that State If it could be purchased in this state (which cannot be done) it would be excessive high—The Gentleman Appointed to make the purchases for the Sick has wrote Mr Mumford in new London the French Consul there to know if he will Supply him, could it come in that line it would be the cheapest way as he purchases there for the French—If there is anything further your Excellency thinks can be done in furthering this business I shall be happy to receive your Instructions for I have it much at heart and am much mortified and Chagrined at the Dissapointments I meet with in Executing it—With the greatest Respect I have the Honor to be Your Excellencys Most obedt huml. Sert
N.B. The houses now ready were the fleet to Arrive to day would not contain three hundred.
DLC: Papers of George Washington.
17 June 1780
Whereas His Excellency General Washington by his Letter to Goverr Greene of the 25th ulto hath requested this State to give their Assistance to Doctr Craik asst Director Genl of the Hospitals of the Army, who hath come in consequence of Instructions from the General into this State to provide Hospitals & Refreshments for the Sick which may be on board the Fleet of his most Christian Majesty when it Arrives—This assembly with an earnest desire to afford every possible Comfort and Accommodation to the Sick and distressed of the Illustrious Ally of the United States having considered the Generals request. Do Resolve that it be and hereby is recommended to Ephraim Bowen Esqr. D.Q.M.G. to Cause the Buildings on the Vassal Farm on Paupasquash immediatly to be put in proper repair for said purpose, and that he cause Such Additional Building to be erected on Said Farm & on the School Farm adjoining thereto as shall with the Buildings first mentioned be Sufficient to contain the numbers and for purposes pointed out in General Washingtons Instructions to Doctr Craik. And that John Innis Clark, Johnathan Arnold and Benjamin Bourne Esqrs. be and they are hereby appointed a Committee to advise with the D.Q.M.G. where and what other Buildings shall be taken up for their Accommodation & Comfort. and it is recommended to the D.Q.M.G. for them on Speedyly Effecting the above purposes that he cause Such Barrac[ks] as may be at Tiverton and at the North end of Rhode Island to be removed to said Farm, and also make use of a large Frame in Tiverton near Colo. Pardon Grays—And it is further Resolved that Doctr Johnathan Arnold and Doctr Isaac Senter be a Committee to advise with Doctr Craik, respecting the means & measures to be pursued to prevent any Contageous disorders which may be amongst sd Sick from being Communicated to the Inhabitants of this State—And for enabling the Said Ephm Bowen Esqr. D.Q.M.G. to Effect the purposes herein before mentioned & for Supplying Doctr Craik agreeable to General Washingtons request Resolved that he be hereby empowered to Dra[w] Ten thousand Pounds Lawful Money out of the General Treasury—June 17th 1780.
In the Upper House Voted & passed to the Lower house for Cuncurrence.
In the Lower House June 17th 1780 Read the Same day & Cuncurred.
Benjamin Bourne Clk