From Samuel Freeman
Boston April 23d 1777
The General Assembly of this State frequently receives Petitions from Soldiers who have met with losses while in the Army, some who were inlisted Soldiers and some who serv’d as Militia Men—praying that they may be made good to them. Others who were taken sick on the Road and have been at an Expence pray that their Accounts may be allowed. I mention this to you that if you think proper you may propose to Congress to give some general Order in this respect. I think if this State pays such Accounts they should be repaid by Congress, unless each State should pay their own Soldiers—and if so, it should be known.
I beg leave to inform you that We have given liberty to Privateers [&c.?] own’d in and mann’d from Towns that have rais’d their Quota of the Army to sail.
We have orderd 2000 Militia to be detached to Rh. Island.1
We have expell’d Coll Bowers from the House.2
We have impowerd Coll Craft to reinlist his Regiment for 3 Years.
The House has sent to the Board for concurrence a Resolve recommending the Town to instruct their next Years Delegates or Rep. to prepare a new Constitution of Government.
The Board have propos’d to us by Message that this matter might not be taken up now.3 The House have answered that this is the best time—and desir’d the Board to concur their Resolve.
We have granted Mons. Faneuil4 who lately applied to Congress for lieve to raise a French Regiment £700 to bear his and his Officers Expences that they may return home.
The House is determind to carry into Execution the Bill against Monopoly and Oppression5—and are about passing an Additional Act.
The Board have concurrd our Resolve relative to Government with an amendment—viz That in forming the Constitution the Board shall have a Right of negativing.
The House have not acted upon the amendment yet.6
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Freeman ans. May 6. 1777.”
1. On 12 April the General Court called upon the militia regiments of seven eastern counties plus Worcester co. to furnish the men to march at once to Rhode Island for reinforcing Gen. Spencer. They were to serve two months (Mass., Province Laws description begins The Acts and Resolves, Public and Private, of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, Boston, 1869–1922; 21 vols. description ends , 19:877–878).
2. For his refusal to accept Continental currency in payment for debts owed to him and for saying he had always opposed independence, Jerathmeel Bowers of Swansea was deemed on 7 April unworthy to hold any commissions under the Massachusetts government (same, 19:865–866).
3. The Council message stressed that the times were too dangerous and unsettled for constitution-making: Rhode Island was asking for military help; the British could descend on Boston; and secret enemies would seize upon any opportunity for trouble-making. The system of government approved by the congress and in use for nearly two years might better be continued until conditions were right. Pennsylvania, where some officeholders had resigned in disgust, was a good example of the consequences of hasty action (Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A.1a, Reel No. 13, Unit 2, p. 248–253).
4. Faneuil was one of a growing swarm of French officers who sought employment in the Continental Army. Washington, who had received from Faneuil more than one scheme for recruiting men, warned the congress of the uselessness of many of these foreign officers, who, he believed, were merely adventurers (Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick description begins The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745–1799, ed. John C. Fitzpatrick, Washington, 1931–1944; 39 vols. description ends , 7:169–171). On 13 March the congress responded by resolving to discourage them from coming to America. Their lack of knowledge of English and their desire for field-grade commissions put major obstacles in their path. Yet on 24 March the congress did give Faneuil a brevet commission of colonel, but without pay or rations (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 7:174, 196).
5. That is, the act regulating prices.
6. The resolution that passed on 5 May included the Council with the House in one body for the purpose of making a constitution (Mass., Province Laws description begins The Acts and Resolves, Public and Private, of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, Boston, 1869–1922; 21 vols. description ends , 19:932–933).