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[426] men and two cannon at the narrow pass of the Ce-
Chap. LXVII.} 1776. May.
dars. This pass was but fifteen leagues above Montreal; and Thomas, at Sorel, was but as many leagues distant below.

The American commissioners calmly looked at things as they were; and with manly resolution gave distinct advice. They observed that the invaders had lost the affections of the Canadian people; that for the want of hard money to support themselves with honor, they were distressed for provisions; that they were incapable of exact discipline, because sent for short periods of service; that, always too few in numbers, they were disheartened and wasted by the small pox; and they wrote: ‘We report it as our firm and unanimous opinion, that it is better immediately to withdraw the army from Canada,’ ‘and fortify the passes on the lakes.’ They even wished that Sullivan's brigade might be stopped at Fort George.

But the continental congress, which had summoned Washington to Philadelphia for consultation on the defence of the middle colonies, reasoned differently on learning the retreat from Quebec. It considered the loss of Canada as exposing the frontiers of New York and New England not to Indians only but to the ravages of the British; it therefore enjoined Thomas to ‘display his military qualities and acquire laurels.’ Of hard money it sent forward all that was in its treasury; which was no more than sixteen hundred sixty two pounds, one shilling, and three pence; and having vainly tried every method to collect more, and being still bent on supporting the expedition, it resolved to supply the troops in Canada with provisions and clothing from the other colonies.

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