1777. Septr. 19. Fryday.
At 3 this Morning was waked by Mr. Lovell, and told that the Members of Congress were gone, some of them, a little after Midnight. That there was a Letter from Mr. Hamilton Aid de Camp to the General, informing that the Enemy were in Poss[essio]n of the Ford and the Boats, and had it in their Power to be in Philadelphia, before Morning, and that if Congress was not removed they had not a Moment to loose.1
Mr. Merchant and myself arose, sent for our Horses, and, after collecting our Things, rode off after the others. Breakfasted at Bristol, where were many Members, determined to go the Newtown Road to Reading. We rode to Trenton where We dined. Coll. Harrison, Dr. Witherspoon, all the Delegates from N.Y. and N.E. except Gerry and Lovell. Drank Tea at Mr. Spencers, lodged at Mr. S. Tuckers, at his kind Invitation.
1. Alexander Hamilton to John Hancock, 18 Sept. 1777 (Hamilton, Works, ed. Hamilton description begins The Works of Alexander Hamilton, ed. John C. Hamilton, New York, 1850–1851; 7 vols. description ends , 1:34–35). Congress had already agreed on the 14th that if it proved necessary to leave Philadelphia, “Lancaster shall be the place at which they shall meet” (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 8:742; see also p. 754). For some further details on JA’s departure and his circuitous route to Lancaster in order to avoid British scouting parties, see his letter to AA of 30 Sept. (Adams Papers; JA-AA, Familiar Letters description begins Familiar Letters of John Adams and His Wife Abigail Adams, during the Revolution. With a Memoir of Mrs. Adams, ed. Charles Francis Adams, New York, 1876. description ends , p. 314–315).