Gunston-Hall August 24th. 1778.
We have such various & vague Accounts of our Affairs to the Northward, & of the Movements of the French Fleet, that I am extreamly anxious to know, with Certainty, what is doing. Is our Army drawn near to King's Bridge? Are the Enemies Out-Posts abandoned? Is N. York effectually besieged? Are or can the Enemie be prevented from foraging upon Long Island & Staten Island? Is the Cork Fleet of Victuallers arrived at N. York; or was the Report a Peice of Artifice, or has any such Fleet actually sailed? Has Lord Howe's Fleet left Sandy Hook, & gone to Rhode Island, or were the English Ships which appeared there a Fleet lately from Great Britain; & what has been the Consequence of their Meeting with the Count De Estaings Squadron? Are the french Land Forces landed upon Rhode Island, to act in Concert with Genl. Sullivan, & are they thought able to [hold] Burgoyne [and] the British Troops there? I am almost ashamed of having asked you so many Questions; I think they are nearly equal to the String with which old Colo. Cary once harrass'd Doctr. Francis, upon his coming on Show at Hampton. If L[or]d. Howe, with his Fleet, has really left N. York, the British Army must be in the most desperate Circumstances, & his Intention must be to draw off the Attention of the French Squadron, until the Troops can embark, & run down to the Southward, where they can get Provisions; for I hardly think they can have Provisions for a long Voyage.
The Money recd, for your Tobo. is sent down to Mrs. Lee at Bellvieu, as you desired. I wish the Tobo. had not been sold so soon, as the Price has risen 15/ hund. since.
If the Congress, or any of yr. Friends shou'd have Occasion to purchase a Quantity of Tobo. in this Part of the Country, I wou'd beg Leave to recommend my Friend & Neighbour Mr. Martin Cockburn. He was regularly bred to Business in a very Capital House in London, & I know no Man whose Attachment to the American Cause, or whose Integrity Diligence & Punctuality can be more thoroughly confided in. I am not fond of giving Recommendations, but I am so well acquainted with Mr. Cockburn, that I know I can recommend him with Safety. God bless you, my Dear Sir, & believe me, Your affecte. Friend & Servt.