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The Minute Intelligencer

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

April 1.—Amongst those who left Philadelphia on the approach of the enemy to that city, a gentleman who had with him a portable printing press, took refuge somewhere near Egg Harbor. By means of a well-conducted correspondence with a friend in the city, he obtained constant and authentic intelligence of the most minute occurrences there. Thus provided, he, for the amusement of himself and a few friends, publishes a paper every fortnight, which he calls Pasquin, or the Minute Intelligencer. As these papers are not for sale, and but a few copies struck off, they do not circulate, and are but little known. Being an old acquaintance, he constantly sends me some of his performances. As a specimen of the work, I have selected the following articles:

“It is said that the English ministry, having no hopes of subduing America by force of arms, whilst the inhabitants retain their native virtue, have instructed the officers in their army to try a more certain method of success, by debauching the morals of the men, and seducing the virtue of the women. For this purpose play houses are opened, gaming tables established, and balls promoted in a city languishing under a scarcity of the necessaries of life.

“His Excellency General Howe, ever attentive to the health of his army, took the advantage of some fair weather in December last, and determined to give his troops an airing, of which they stood in great need. For this purpose he ordered the whole of his forces out, and heading them himself, took a walk into the country. His benevolent intention was to proceed as far as Lancaster, but finding the roads about Edge Hill much infested with armed rebels, he thought to return to the city, which he did with considerable precipitation, being apprehensive of an approaching storm. Some think he might have forced his way through the banditti, but he was too prudent a general to expend his Majesty’s powder and shot on such a ragged crew.

“We have the pleasure of assuring the public that the disputes respecting the arrangement of the Royal African Regiment are now at an end, his excellency having determined that arrangement in the following manner:

“Quacko—Colonel; Sambo—Lieutenant-Colonel; Cuffy —Major; Toney and Cudjoe—Captains.

“The contest for pre-eminence between Quacko and Sambo, was long and obstinate; it is evident that Sambo has the thickest lips, and the whitest teeth, but his excellency is partially in favor of Quacko, as he has honored him with the command; and at the entertainment lately given by the officers of the Royal African Regiment, his excellency opened the ball with Colonel Quacko’s lady, and danced very gracefully to the music of a full orchestra of banjoes and hurdy-gurdies. How far the superior beauty of Colonel Quacko’s lady may have contributed to his promotion, is uncertain.

“We hear that general orders have been issued for having the Royal African Regiment shorn every three months, in order to supply the ladies of the court of Great Britain with wool sufficient for the present fashionable head-dress.”1



“Now in the press and shortly will be published, neatly bound in calf, the miscellaneous works of his Excellency General Howe, in prose and verse, containing, amongst many other curious particulars, the following articles:

“1st. The history of the American war; or the art of insuring infamy in this world and misery in the next. 2d. A dissertation on the cardinal virtues, in which it is proved that justice and mercy ought to be excluded from holding any rank amongst them. 3d. The game of picquet in a new way, by which is shown how a person may win ten thousand gold guineas at a game, and yet the loser remain perfectly satisfied. By this method, cards become not only an amusement, but very useful in the settlement of accounts. N. B.—In this learned work his excellency acknowledges that he has been assisted by Mr. Ware, the commissary-general. 4th. The value of British gold; or the art of paying off large accounts with small sums; illustrated by a variety of real cases, particularly one, in which a just bill of £550 was discharged by fifty guineas and a receipt in full obtained. 5th. Men immortalized, and death defeated; or, the returns of the British army; wherein is shown how the pay and rations of a thousand soldiers may be drawn, who have long since died of putrid fevers, or been slain in battle. 6th. The contented cuckold; an heroic poem. 7th. Songs and amorous odes in the eastern style; a hymn to Venus; Chloe, or the African beauty; an invitation to Bacchus, in the German taste; the progress of cruelty, in six cantos, &c.

“The work will be comprised in three vols., octavo; a fourth volume will contain congratulatory addresses to his excellency, from the several provinces wherein he has restored constitutional liberty. But these addresses have not yet come to hand.

“Now publishing in sheets, and to be sold at Philadelphia, The Political Liar, or the new Fairy Tales, wherein is related how a shameful defeat may with ease be converted into a glorious victory—how large reinforcements may be obtained by magic arts—how France is abandoning America by sending her large supplies of warlike stores and other necessaries—how General Washington lost his senses, and left a portemanteau containing all his original letters and secrets of State with a sick negro, whereby they fell into the hands of the British officers, and are now publishing at large in the Political Liar,2 with many other entertaining articles of the same kind.

“A great price in hard money will be given for a little heart’s ease. Apply to the superintendent-general.”


“From the late London Papers.

“To be sold by public auction, on the 1st April, 1778, at the Royal Exchange, Hanover with all the private estate of George Whelps. The vast sums arising from this sale are by his Majesty’s most gracious promise, to be distributed amongst the Tories in America, who have suffered so much on his account.” 3


1 A carpenter the other day, walking behind a little woman, dressed in the latest European method, took occasion gently to measure her head-dress, when it was found to be just one-half of her height.—Carver.
2 Rivington’s Gazette.
3 New Jersey Gazette, April 15.