[dateline] Philadelphia. Wednesday July. 17. 1776
Yesterdays Post brought me your Letter of the 8th. instant with Several others containing
Intelligence of a Nature very interesting to me. The Prevalence of the Small Pox in
Boston, is an incident, which I cannot but esteem fortunate for the public, atho the
Stake I have in it, having all my nearest Connections among the earliest Adventurers
makes me feel an Anxiety too private and particular, for the situation I am in.
The Small Pox is really the most formidable Enemy We have to contend with, in the
whole Train. And I cannot but rejoice at the Resolution of my Countrymen to Subdue
this Enemy first. It is a great Satisfaction to see that no Dangers dismay, no Difficulties
discourage, the good People of America.
You ask when will America take Rank as a Nation? This Question, was answered before
it was put, but it Seems the answer had not reached Boston. Before now you are Satisfied
I hope. What would you have next?
Your Troops are all ordered to N. York and Crown Point. The small Pox will Stop all
who have taken it, at least for some time. We have not a sufficient Number of Men
at New York. I hope our Militia will go. It is a great Grief to me to find by the
Returns, that no Massachusetts Militia are yet arrived at New York. I almost wish
the Council would order the Regiments from Worcester Hampshire and Berkshire to march
Rank is not always proportional to Merit, and Promotion seldom keeps Pace with services.
The Promotions you mention, are I hope worthy Men: but their Merit and services might
perhaps have been Sufficiently rewarded with fewer Steps of Advancement. Or there
may be others, who have equally deserved. All that I can Say is that Time and Chance
happens to all Men and therefore I hope yours will come Sometime or other. Mine I
am pretty sure never will. If you come to New York, which I hope you will, you may
perhaps have a better Chance.
Our Privateers, have the most Skill or the most Bravery, or the best Fortune, of any
in America. I hope Captain Johnson was in a private Ship. I dont like to hear that
the continental Cruisers, have taken so many and the Provincial Cruisers and privateers
so few Prizes. Our People, may as well fight for themselves as the Continent.1