Manuscript: Text Transcription

William Shepard to James Bowdoin

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Westfield, Sepr. 17th, 1786

May it please your Excellency,

From a prevailing report on this quarter of the Commonwealth that there is a design formed to seize the Artillery and other military stores which now are deposited in the Arsenal at Springfield, by the persons who have impeded the operation of law, and are endeavoring to subvert the Constitution, I thought it a duty of office, as well as a duty incumbent on me as a citizen to inform your Excellency, that if any preventive measures can and ought to be adopted, you might have notice, and take those which you shall judge best calculated to effect any object you will have in view. I know not whether a violence of this kind is really intended, nor, if it is, in what manner, or at what time the execution is to take place, but I thought it my duty to acquaint your Excellency even of common reports, while I assure you I shall endeavor to execute any orders I may receive with the promptitude and exactness, which the situation of affairs leaves in my power. There is now no guard over the stores at Springfield, and therefore a small body of men might easily put themselves in possession of those stores and destroy or remove them, and be able to convert them to their own use, to the disturbance of the state and publick at large. But whether placing a guard at those stores will not inspire the Insurgents with an idea of attempting, what, perhaps, they might not otherwise have determined to do, I shall leave with your Excellency to judge, and wait your orders, if you think it fit to give any in this case.

I have the honor to be, with very great esteem, your
Excellency's most obedient humble servant,
Wm. Shepard, Major Genl 4th Division

His Excellency James Bowdoin Esqr