BARTLETT, Josiah (1729-1795), Signer, New Hampshire. Autograph letter signed ("J.B.") to an unidentified correspondent (almost certainly WILLIAM WHIPPLE (1730-1785), fellow Signer, in Philadelphia attending the Continental Congress), Exeter, N.H., 1 March 1777. 3 pages, folio, boldly penned, paper very lightly browned.
SIGNER TO SIGNER: "NOTHING WILL CONTENT THEM BUT A DISSOLUTION OF ALL GOVERNMENT HERE"
An exceedingly fine, candid letter of Bartlett, written at a critical time in the Revolution, reporting on affairs in his home state, including problems in establishing a state government, enlistment problems, the independence movement in the New Hampshire grants (later Vermont), the defence of New England and the need of aid from France and Spain. Bartlett has met with "Col. [Mesech] Weare and Mr. Wentworth for 4 weeks trying to settle the difficulties about our government...but without the success I wished for. The towns near Hanover and under the influence of the college [Dartmouth] seem obstinately determined to rule this state or to keep everything in confusion...Col. Bidel [Timothy Bedell], since his return from Philadelphia seems very busy and officious with the malcontents. He was appointed chairman of the committees...who call themselves a Convention. Nothing will content them but a dissolution of all government here, and that in future every town in the state should have an equal number of representatives, though some have more than a hundred times as many inhabitants as others. The New Hampshire grants so called have declared themselves a separate state and have sent men to Congress to get it confirmed...I think it is a wrong time to enter on their disputes...." (The New Hampshire Grants, long the subject of dispute between New Hampshire and New York, had declared themselves the republic of New Connecticut; the territory finally entered the Union in 1791 as Vermont.)
"...Col. Bedell and some others are trying to get a regiment raised. ..If such a regiment should be raised, I believe his appointment would be very disagreeable to this state...I sincerely wish he may receive more advantage from his correspondence with Canada than our enemies...." Enlisting the Continental regiments is proving difficult, in spite of "the enormous bounty given," and "they are not much more than half full." Very few men, he adds "have sufficient arms, nor do I know how they will be supplied. But, he resolves, "everything will be done that can be to supply them," and "we are sending them up to Ti [Fort Ticonderoga] for the supply of our men this summer. He asks for news from "the courts of F[rance] & S[pain], and whether we are to expect any foreign assistance, or must encounter the whole power of Britannia and all her allies." New Hampshire has been forced, he adds, "to strike off [£40,000] in large treasury notes...to carry [6 interest to pay off the state bounty to the soldiers...." Continental regiments in the south, people report, are much better equipped "than ours," and most of the new uniforms have been sent there. In closing he sends greetings to Col. Matthew Thornton (ca. 1714-1803), another New Hampshire delegate to Congress.
At this date, Bartlett had left his seat in the Continental Congress, for health reasons, and returned to New Hampshire.