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captivity, myself in particular—now anxiously awaiting a decision
SAM'L B. WEBB.
The officer commanding at the Bridge must all times be very vigilant and alert. Suffering no person to pass without a written passport from General Heath or his Excellency Governor Clinton. Persons recommended by Esquire Honeywell will be permitted to pass to and from Bedford on business—their passports being signed by the commanding officer in the lines. All flags of truce from the enemy are to be detained at the bridge—their papers secured and an officer of equal rank to attend them until the commanding officer on the lines is informed of their business.
Gen'l Knox to Col. Swift.
(Werk prieg Friday, 6th Dec., 1782. DEAR SIR :—The General Committee are requested to meet at Morton's Tavern to-morrow to sign the address and take the last steps respecting its being forwarded to Congress. Will you please to inform Colonel Webb. We shall go from hence about ten o'clock to-morrow morning.
Your ob’t Serv't,
J. Knox. vt. Folio 50
A British Officer to Col. Webb. DEAR SIR :—There are no magazines come over for sale. I am promised the loan of some: if I get them you shall have a perusal. Inclosed you have three newspapers. Let no person see them but yourself, and when you have read them, send them back to me. I have promise of a parcel of English papers, which if I get them, shall be sent over to you.
I am sorry Business prevents me the pleasure of seeing you.
GENEVA, Jan'y 12th, 1881. MY DEAR GEN’L:—After a separation, and I may add a silence, of twenty years, will it be considered as an intrusion on your time for an old Friend & Brother Soldier, deprived of doing it otherwise, to pay his respects to you by Letter for the purpose of enquiring after your Health and the state of your Family, of giving you some account of his own which he has the vanity to believe will not be altogether uninteresting, and in fine, of renewing an acquaintance and friendship which was begun & maintained with so much ardor while opportunity permitted ? I feel that it will not, & therefore have taken up my pen to do so. When we were last together you were a citizen of Connecticut, & I of the State of Maryland, and at that time neither you nor myself entertained an Idea that we should become citizens of the same State.
Fortune, however, has so decreed it, and I heartily wish that while she was in the humour of conferring her favors on me that she had extended them so far as to have fixed us in the same neighborhood. But, even as it is, I derive much consolation from the hope that we shall again have the pleasure of meeting before we quit the stage of human Life. Having a family of eight children, five Daughters & three Sons, to provide for, and foreseeing that, by
remaining in the Old World, my estate, which during my life could make them all comfortable, would by being divided into 8 parts be just sufficient to make them all discontented, I determined to turn my attention to some new & flourishing Country. For this purpose I prevailed on a few of my chosen friends to accompany me, about 18 months ago, to this country, and believing that we saw openings for the emolument of our Families in it, which no other country on the continent possessed, we all resolved to return to Maryland, dispose of our property with all possible expedition and remove with our Families to settle in the Genesee. This resolution I have been able to carry first into effect, tho' I am just informed one of my friends with a numerous family also is now on the road, and will probably reach us in the course of this week. On the 10th of November I took up my Line of march with my Family, consisting of about 40 in two coaches, three waggons and on several Saddle Horses, making our cavalry in number about 25, and were fortunate enough to reach our Destined home on the 13th of December without any material accident on the road and all in good Health & Spirits, tho’I must confess after a more tedious and fatiguing journey that I had ever contemplated, and rendered peculiarly so from the lateness of the season in which we performed it.
A few days after we commenced our journey we had some very cold weather. That produced smart frosts, and when we entered the wilderness we found the roads in such a state, that while the horses were lame perhaps four steps out of five, the carriages and waggons wheels were up to their Hubs in the mud with a crust of 2 6r 3 inches to be torn thro'. This prevented us from gaining more with every possible exertion than 3, 4 or 5 miles a day; and thus our journey, which, at a proper season, might have with great ease been accomplished in 14 or 15 days, was protracted to a most immoderate length. Untiring energy and perseverance have brought us thro', and we are now blest with the prospect of an ample compensation for all our troubles in getting here.
A brother of mine with a number of other friends made an exit to this country last summer with views similar to my own. They were delighted with the country, made considerable purchases, and are now busied in making arrangements to remove their Families this coming spring and summer. While here, my brother informed
me he met with an old acquaintance of mine in your brother John, who I think acted during the Campaign of '81, as an aid-de-camp to Gen'l Howe (Sergeant was the other aid).
My brother tells me he was on the same business with himself, but was not certain whether or not he had made or would make an establishment here. I have heard since my arrival in this country that your brother intimated that you had a wish to pay a visit to this country (I presume on a party of pleasure). This has awakened my hopes & expectations ; for, believe me, My Dear Gen’l, that no earthly event would give me more pleasure than to have an opportunity of embracing you at my own house, and the pleasure of your Lady's and Family's Company to pass a few weeks with us. A journey from your residence to this place might readily be performed in four days, and at a good sleighing season would be, I think, a very pleasing one, especially as you would find probably most excellent Stays on the road at the houses of our old military friends, Cochran, Walker, &c. Let me then entreat you as the season for sleighing now presents itself to step with Mrs. Webb & Family into a sleigh and make us the most wished for visit. Our house is very roomy & commodious, and Mrs. Fitzhugh and my daughters beg me to assure your lady and any others accompanying her that nothing shall be wanting on their part to render the visit as agreeable as possible. While you & myself (leaving the Ladies for a few days at a time to themselves), might make little excursions into the country to view the various delightful situations, both water and forest, whose — I must indulge the hope, tho' I will say no more on the subject at present. I cannot close my Letter without touching on the political situation of our country and yet at this era of political paroxysm when party feuds & animosities have been carried so far as to tear up by the roots friendships that had before stood the test of ages & to threaten the very existence of all social happiness, it may be a dangerous topic to touch on; the more so as I am ignorant what course of politicks you have pursued, or to what degree of madness your pulse under the prevailing influence may have beaten. I will, nevertheless, venture to observe that as the issue of this late electioneering struggle has been the choice of Thomas Jefferson for our President, and as this choice is made by a majority of our countrymen, I am content, the more so, as I believe he will make a good President, and grievously disappoint the most violent of his partizans. Mr. Jefferson is a man of too much virtue and good sense to attempt any material change in a system which was adopted by our late beloved Washington, and has been since steadily pursued by Mr. Adams, and which has preserved our country in peace and prosperity for 12 years, during which period almost the whole civilized world has been deluged in blood, and this too in defiance of the repeated attempts of France & England by open threats and secret intrigues to draw us into the vortex of their ruinous convulsions. I say Mr. J. will have too much prudence to attempt any serious change in this system, and unless he does, his red-hot partizans will be dreadfully disappointed. For my own part I must confess I should have been pleased if Mr. Adams had continued another term, when, like his illustrious predecessor, he would probably have made a voluntary retreat, and in his retirement have enjoyed the pleasing reflection that having devoted 30 years of his Life to his country's service, so long as he was a candidate for her favor she had the gratitude to bestow it. To the general rage for party spirit I think the State Government to have not been far behind its people, and in my opinion they have degenerated much from their wonted dignity in stooping to pass local & partial Laws to answer party purposes. I, however, live in hopes that the wisdom & moderation for which the American People have until lately been famed, will 'ere long again resume their reign, and that the State Government with their Central Government, like the Planets revolving round their common Sun, acting and acted upon according to their respective weights and distances, will produce that beautiful equilibrium on which our Constitution is founded, and which I doubt not it will exhibit to the world some day in a degree of perfection unexampled, but in the Planetary System itself. To this end ought every good American's wishes and exertions be directed, but now here let me stop.
For two reasons ; first, that I should wear out your patience, and secondly, that I should lose the opportunity of sending in my Letter by Mr. Bogart, who informed me last evening that he should this morning start for the very town where you resided & the hour which he fixed for his departure is at hand.
Let me then conclude with repeating the instructions made in the early part of my Letter, that you will not fail to take advantage of the present season to visit us.