Braintree, 14 September, 1774.


FIVE weeks have passed and not one line have I received. I would rather give a dollar for a letter by the post, though the consequence should be, that I ate but one meal a day these three weeks to come. Every one I see is inquiring after you. When did I hear? All my intelligence is collected from the newspaper, and I can only reply that I saw by that, you arrived such a day. I know your fondness for writing, and your inclination to let me hear from you by the first safe conveyance, which makes me suspect that some letter or other has miscarried, but I hope, now you have arrived at Philadelphia, you will find means to convey me some intelligence. We are all well here. I think I enjoy better health than I have done these two years. I have not been to town since I parted with you there. The Governor is making all kinds of warlike preparations, such as mounting cannon upon Beacon Hill, digging intrenchments upon the Neck, placing cannon there, encamping a regiment there, throwing up breast* works, &c. The people are much alarmed, and the selectmen have waited upon him in consequence of it. The County Congress have also sent a commit tee ; all which proceedings you will have a more particular account of, than I am able to give you, from the public papers. But, as to the movements of this town, perhaps you may not hear them from any other person.

In consequence of the powder being taken from Charlestown, a general alarm spread through many towns and was caught pretty soon here. The report took here on Friday, and on Sunday a soldier was seen lurking about the Common, supposed to be a spy, but most likely a deserter. However, intelligence of it was communicated to the other Parishes, and about eight o'clock, Sunday evening, there passed by here about two hundred men, preceded by a horsecart, and marched down to the powder house, from whence they took the powder, and carried it into the other Parish and there secreted it. I opened the window upon their return. They passed with out any noise, not a word among them till they came against this house, when some of them perceiving me, asked me if I wanted any powder. I replied, No, since it was in so good hands. The reason they gave for taking it was, that we had so many Tories here, they dared not trust us with it ; they had taken Vinton in their train, and upon their return they stopped between Cleverly's and Etter's and called upon him to deliver two warrants. Upon his producing them, they put it to vote whether they should burn them, and it passed in the affirmative. They then made a circle and burnt them. They then called a vote whether they should huzza, but, it being Sunday evening, it passed in the negative. They called upon Vinton to swear, that he would never be instrumental in carrying into execution any of these new acts. They were not satisfied with his answers ; however, they let him rest. A few days afterwards, upon his making some foolish speeches, they assembled to the amount of two or three hundred, and swore vengeance upon him unless he took a solemn oath. Accordingly, they chose a committee and sent it with him to Major Miller's to see that he complied ; and they waited his return, which proving satisfactory, they dispersed. This town appears as high as you can well imagine, and, if necessary, would soon be in arms. Not a Tory but hides his head. The Church parson thought they were coming after him, and ran up garret ; they say another jumped out of his window and hid among the corn, whilst a third crept under his board fence and told his beads.


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