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son, Adjutant-General to the Army under command of General Howe, very politely offered to forward a letter to you, and as a Flag is to be sent in a day or two to Staten Island, I have taken the first leisure hour to assure you of my unalterable affection. My anxiety on your and Peggy's account has been very great. I have much to say, but the delicate situation we are in will prevent my giving you a long, circumstantial letter. It shall be my endeavor to confine myself to ideas, and sentiments that will not inake it inconsistent with Col. Paterson's duty to forward it. On the first intelligence of General Howe's determination to leave Boston I wrote you, and handed it in over the lines. Had it have reached you
Had it have reached you I am confident Mr. Simpson never would have left Boston. On Sunday, the 17th of March, we perceived the embarkation of the troops, and immediately entered the town in boats from the mouth of Cambridge River. I soon obtained leave, and flew on the wings of impatience to the well known mansion of my sisters and friends. Here would be a place for me to describe the various emotions of my heart, &c. Let your imagination paint, to you what I would, but cannot say. Our brother Joe, who had come down on purpose to see and meet you, entered the house with me. The fair inhabitants had fled. The house looked more like a covering for the dead than a habitation for the living
I waited on your friend Doctor Bulfinch, who gave me a particular account of Mr. Simpson's unsettled state of mind for several days before his departure. I can hardly forgive his conduct in doubting my affection, or imagining I should suffer him to be in any ways ill treated or insulted by our army or the country people. He knew I was in the family of a gentleman* who held a principal command, and whose sentiments of generosity and humanity have never been disputed by his greatest enemies. By repeated indulgencies granted me he must have imagined he would have protected any of my friends from ill treatment. Indeed there was not the most distant reason for any one who had acted in so neutral a line as Mr. Simpson to have quitted his mansion. That he differed in sentiment with us in the present most unhappy dispute, I was sensible, but had carefully avoided taking an active part, in that situaation he might have continued. No one would have desired of him to have taken arms, he might have retired in the country, lived in
* Gen'l Putnam.
a circle of friends without ever having occasion to enter upon & political subject, that he did not I am truly sorry. He, 'tis true, can endure hardships, and rough it through this troubled scene, but for yourself and Peggy I feel excessively unhappy. Your sister mourns your absence and most ardently wishes for the day that may make you happy in meeting. As soon as I found there was no probability of your return from Nantasket Road, I carefully packed the spinnet, desk, and book case, and other articles you left in the house and sent them immediately to Wethersfield. In Peggy's desk I found a number of papers, and little matter, which I carefully forwarded to the care of her friend Miss H. at Wethersfield.
Your afft. brother,
SAM'L B. WEBB.
HEADQUARTERS ON HARLEM HEIGHTS, 3d Oct., 1776. MY DEAR BR, :- I am not a little disappointed in not hearing from you by the post. I expected a circumstantial letter.
We have been up ever since two this morning, occasioned by our sentries firing on a reconnoitering party of the enemy. They then ran in and informed that the enemy were approaching. Our army were immediately turned out. A party of Rangers went out, fell in wh them and exchanged a few shot, without damage, when the enemy retired to their main body. I want my blue cloth immediately made into a coat. I have neither buttons, facings, lining or any other trimmings. These I beg you to forward me, or if you think Mr. Stanley can make it in the newest taste, agreeable to Gen'l Washington's new form, it will be more agreeable to me, and I will send you the cloth by next post. I am likewise in want of a a buff waistcoat and breeches. Mr. Stanley has my measure.
I wish you to furnish the cloth and have them made. The waistcoat is to be made with skirts and full trimmed, as the General's dress has no belts to the waistcoat.
Should anything new turn up, you may expect the particulars from me. The gentlemen of the family desire their compliments. Remember me affectionately to my good sister, J. Webb, to Hetty, Jack and Abby and believe ma, with unalterable affection yr friend and Br.
SAM'L B. WEBB.
A general court-martial has been sitting for three days past, trying one of the captains for not landing on Montressor's Island ye night young Henly fell. If our people are in a hanging mood I think he stands a chance to swing.
WETHERSFIELD, IN CONNECTICUT, 16th March, 1777. MY DEAR SISTER :-Your friendly and very affectionate letter, dated New York, February 11th, I duly received. With sincer'ty I can say it gave me more real satisfaction than any letter I ever read. It gave us to know you were enjoying Heaven's greatest gift, Health. That it may long continue my ever dear sister, is the fervent prayer of a fond brother. Inclosed you will find a letter wrote for you
last summer, while in New York. It would have been forwarded but for particular reasons which you may hereafter know.
Joe and myself have this afternoon given up church to do the last friendly office to our much loved brother and sister, that is to give them our free, candid and impartial advice. It is impartial because I am not interested (only in general terms for your welfare). "Tis candid, for it comes from a heart that despises dissimulation, and feels too sensibly for its partakers. Without further prelude, my dear Sally, let me tell you, for your present and future happiness in this world (futurity in another belongs to God alone) to come if possible to the tender embraces of your numerous friends and acquaintances. Persuade your good husband, Sister Peggy and brother Wm. that here they may find domestic ease and happiness. I would most cheerfully add your brother-in-law Jonathan; but that I know his conduct has been very exceptionable, and he might be liable to insult. But for brother Jack and family I will be answerable, even with life. He never has been censured but for one thing, which was, his leaving Boston in preference to trusting himself and interest to his friends here. But for this I have given sufficient reasons to those who have been the enquirers. If he comes, he at once collects all his debts, sets down in ease, and has a genteel sufficiency for a country life, till this cruel and unnatural war is at an end. If otherways and he still prefers the noise and bustle of an Army, and the gay scenes of a town without order, he must abide the consequences.
I will even go eo far as to suppose Britain will conquer in the end (which by Heaven I think is supposing an impossibility) where then
is the money due him in this State? No better to him than if sunk in the sea. Suppose on the contrary, he comes out and they conquer, surely his conduct has been so unexceptionable towards the Crown, that his own property will be safe. If he comes out—no one can doubt but he may collect his interest and dispose of it agreeable to his mind. But should you conclude still to follow the British Army, let us make another much the most probable supposition, —that America will rise triumphant and rout the cruel invaders of its once happy shores from the continent, where then are you? Gone to enjoy Britain's fall, and consequently her troubles. For God's sake, my dear brother and sister and friend, believe me truly sincere, if there is truth in a human being I declare I have no interest in view but yours. That it will add to my happiness to see you here I honestly and freely confess. Hetty, Joe, in a word all your friends,-feel extremely unhappy the expectation and present prospect we have of soon seeing you all.
[Torn and defaced so as to be illegible for many lines.]
I have much to say. The sum and substance I have given you. 'Tis impossible for me to give you my sentiments now, so fully as I hope to soon. Again, my dear sister, let me tell you to come. Send word to me when. What day you will be out, and I will meet you at the lines, prepared to convey Mrs. S. Miss P. and Mr. Wm. S. to this happy mansion. Should you conclude on this, inform the bearer, Capt. W- if it cannot be done while he is town aud you should afterwards conclude, you must find some safe and certain conveyance to give us notice.
[Hetty now sits leaning on my shoulder—and begs me to write as full as possible—however enough is said remember me affectionately to your good Mr. S. Miss P ...y & Wm.]
If Brymer is in existence, tell him God bless him.-his old friend S. B.W. has not forgotten him. I wish you lasting peace and happiness.
S. B. WEBB.
HEADQUARTERS, September 5, 1777. MY DEAR SISTER :-It is extremely disagreeable that our situation is such that we are debarred the pleasure of seeing each other. A little social conversation in the epistolary way adds much to the pleasure when now and then an opportunity offers in which we can write more freely. Miss whom I fell in company with this morning at breakfast, has very politely offered to convey a letter immediately to your hands. So good an opportunity I could not let pass without acquainting you of my and your other friends being in a state of health which renders them happy. Joe and his lady live in the cld Mansion House as happy as heart can wish. Hetty and Abbey are their companions. A few families which are genteel and clever make up an agreeable circle. I spent five months with them, which I shall count among the number of my happy daye-Hetty and myself used frequently to ramble where our sister Sally had been before and with us, much we wished for her good company. Hetty says she should be as happy as this world could make her, if her sister and friend (Peggy) was with her. They, I have reason to suppose, would be equally pleased in her comp'y. Whose fault has it been that they are not altogether, now at Wethersfield ? This I leave with you to answer. This I can with truth say—no pains on my part have been wanting--witness my former letters when at Cambridge.
Busy imagination yet paints to me a future day when we shall meet and spend many social, friendly hours together. Be it so. I wish it most fervently. Of this be assured that the Sons of America will reign Masters of the Land which God gave them. The combined powers of Europe can only distress, not conquer her free born sons. Of this I trust Britain is, or soon will convinced, But I must stop my pen; it leads me to a subject which I did not intend to mention. Rest easy, my friend and sister, on my account, it is the cause of virtue and country and the rights of man, I am engaged in, and He who ever has in the greatest dangers preserved me can continue his protection. If I fall, it shall be gloriously. Remember me with the warmest affection to Mr. Jack, Miss Peggy and other friends if such there are who may enquire after your friend aud Bro.
S. B. WEBB. Mr. Jack W. is at or near Peeks-kill in health.