From George Washington to the Massachusetts General Court

“As to the Expedition proposed against Nova Scotia by the People of Machias; I cannot but applaud their Spirit & Zeal, but after considering the Reasons offered for it several Objections occur which seem to me unanswerable. I apprehend such an Enterprize inconsistent with the general Principle upon which the united Colonies have proceeded. It is true, that Province has not acceded to Measures of the Congress and they have therefore been excluded from all commercial ⟨Intercourse with the other Colonies; But they have⟩ not commenced Hostilities against them, nor are any to be apprehended: to attack them therefore is a Step of Conquest rather than Defence, & may be attended with very dangerous Consequences. It might perhaps be easy with the Force proposed to make an Incursion into the Province; to overawe those of the Inhabitants who are inimical to our Cause and for a short Time prevent their supplying the Enemy with Provisions, but the same Force must continue to produce any lasting Effects. As to the furnishing Vessels of any Force, you Gentlemen will anticipate me, in pointing out our Weakness, & the Enemy’s Strength. There would be great Danger, that with the best Preparation we could make, they would fall an easy Prey, either to the Man of War on that Station, or some who would be detached from Boston. I have been thus particular to satisfy any Gentlemen of the Court who incline to adopt the Measure: I could offer many other Reasons against it, some of which I doubt not will suggest themselves to the Honbe Board: But it is unnecessary to enumerate them, when our Situation as to Ammunition absolutely forbids our sending a single Ounce out of the Camp at present. I am with great Respect & Regard Gentlemen Your most Obedt and very Hbble Servt, Go: Washington”

(The Patriots at Machias in the District of Maine Proposed to seize Windsor, Nova Scotia, with a force of one thousand men and a fleet consisting of four armed vessels and eight transports and then use the town as a rallying place for Patriot sympathizers in the province. A general uprising, they hoped, would ensue, enabling them to march on Halifax and take control of the provincial government. Although this expedition was not undertaken, a similar plan was put forward a few months later. See GW to Hancock, 30 Jan. 1776).

“From George Washington to the Massachusetts General Court, 12 August 1775,” Founders Online, National Archives, https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/03-01-02-0199