Copyright 1999. Rhode Island Historical Society. All rights reserved.
The Underwriters would not presume to take up any of Your Excellency's precious Time, if it was not the highest necessity that obligeth them to it. Conscious of the Integrity of our Hearts, wherewith we always willingly bear our Share of the Difficulties of these Times, we boldly apply to the Testimony of the Generals Smallwood, Stephens, Colonells White, Washington, Majors Call & Hartmann, Captains Marbury, Gamble, & other officers of the Regulars, who have either lately been quarterd here or came thro' this Place, whether we did not readily supply them with every Thing they wanted, & our small Settlement could afford.
Tho' this Town was but inhabited in the years 1772 & 1773, which was 2 & 3 years before the breaking out of This War & consequently is but in its Infancy, not containing quite 20 Dwelling houses, & scarce one hundred grown Persons, Men & Women included besides the Difficulty of all Beginners, that we owe great part of our Stock in Trade & our Houses to others we have never been behindhand with any Part of the County but rather unsupported by the County Commrs. The whole Weight of providing for the Troops, is always fallen upon us.
The Commissioners of Military Stores however will attest, that we expressly built a large Loghouse, for the Reception of their Stores, & Colonell White that we made Sheds for his Horses, that large & small Houses were emptied for the Hospital and the Soldiers here quartered.
But these are not the Difficulties we properly labour under. We are willing to the utmost to bear our share in the Calamities of the Times, and all the officers and men will bear us Testimony, that what we did & were able to do for them we always did with Chearfullness.
Yet the great Excesses at all Times committed by the Militia both here & at the old Town called Bethabara and within a few Days past, since the regular Troops, the Hospital & the magazine of Ammunition were gone from hence, the renewed Excess of some Georgia & South Carolina People traveling thro' here the Robberies committed in our Neighbourhood, the unreasonable Treatment we just now receive of a couple of hundred militia of another County, come here under Pretence of going to join Your Excellency's Army, but far from that seeming to have much Time on their Hands, and continually exacting new Quantities of Brandy, Meat[,] Bread[,] Flower, Corn, Salt, pressing of Horses or having theirs shod; with horrid Imprecations, striking the people, coining of Stories, & threatning not to leave this place before they have killed a Number of us, besides many Pretences to pick a Quarrell or invade Peoples Properties.
These Sir are the Greivances which in the Distress of our Hearts we cannot help laying before Your Excellency.
The exemplary good order always observed by the Regulars which were here quartered, together with the express Declarations of General Smallwood, Colonell White & others, make us bold to hope, that your Excellency will condescend to send a few of Your Regulars here to protect the Place with such further Instructions as Your Excellency in your Wisdom shall think proper, and if it could be, in the same Time to grant us a Protection in Writing.
Should even Brittish Troops come here which we hope will not be the Case, both Duty & Gratitude would oblige us, to the utmost in our Power to prevent their being taken by them. The Bearers hereof, Geo. Buvighous and Charles Holder will be able to enlarge more upon the Contents hereof to Your Exy and we recoment our Petition to Your Excellency's most favourable Reception being
Your Excellency's most humble & most obedient Servants
Frederic Marshall, Peter Yarrell, John Michael Graff, John Rights, Traugott Bagge, George Buvighauss, Samuel Stotz, Charles Holder
The Papers of General Nathanael Greene,
ed. Dennis Conrad et al.
(Columbia, S.C.: Model Editions Partnership, 1999). Full texts of documents calendared in
The Papers of General Nathanael Greene
(Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 1994), Vol. 7, pp. 152-289. On the Web at http://mep.blackmesatech.com/mep/ [Accessed 16 January 2018]