George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the Massachusetts Delegates, 22 June 1775

From the Massachusetts Delegates

Phyladelphia June 22. 1775


In Complyance with your Request We have considered of what you proposed to us, and are obliged to give you our Sentiments, very briefly, and in great Haste.

In general, Sir, there will be three Committees, either of a Congress, or of an House of Representatives, which are and will be composed of our best Men; Such, whose Judgment and Integrity, may be most rely’d on; the Committee on the State of the Province, the Committee of Safety, and the Committee of Supplies.

But least this Should be too general, We beg leave to mention particularly Messrs Bowdoin, Sever, Dexter, Greenleaf, Darby, Pitts, Otis of the late Council—Hon. John Winthrop Esq. L.L.D. Joseph Hawley Esqr. of Northampton, James Warren Esqr. of Plymouth Coll Palmer of Braintree, Coll Orne and Elbridge Gerry Esqr. of Marblehead, Dr Warren, Dr Church Mr John Pitts all of Boston, Dr Langdon President of Harvard Colledge, and Dr Chauncey and Dr Cooper of Boston. Coll Forster of Brookfield.1

The Advice and Recommendations of these Gentlemen, and of Some others whom they may introduce to your Acquaintance may be depended on.

With great Sincerity, We wish you, an agreable Journey and a glorious Campaign; and are with much Esteem and Respect, Sir, your most obedient Servants.

Samuel Adams John Hancock
John Adams Thomas Cushing
Robt Treat Paine

LS, in John Adams’s writing, DLC:GW. John Hancock addressed the cover, and each delegate signed his name to the letter. See John Adams to GW, 19 or 20 June 1775, source note, for a comparison of that letter and this one.

Three of the Massachusetts delegates were Bostonians: John Hancock, Samuel Adams (1722–1803), and Thomas Cushing (1725–1788). John Adams lived in Braintree and Robert Treat Paine in Taunton. Samuel Adams wrote to James Warren on this date: “Our patriotick General Washington will deliver this Letter to you. The Massachusetts Delegates have joyntly given to him a List of the Names of certain Gentlemen in whom he may place the greatest Confidence. Among these you are one. We have assurd him that he may rely upon such others as you may recommend to him” (Harry Alonzo Cushing, ed., The Writings of Samuel Adams, 4 vols. [New York and London, 1904–8], 3:219). Adams wrote a similar letter to Elbridge Gerry on this date (ibid., 218–19), and on 21 June Thomas Cushing wrote a letter to James Bowdoin introducing GW (Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 1:530).

1All but nine of the names listed here appear in John Adams’s letter to GW of 19 or 20 June 1775 and are identified there. Former councillors Benjamin Greenleaf (1732–1799) of Newburyport and James Otis, Sr. (1702–1778), of Barnstable were elected to the reestablished Massachusetts council on 21 July 1775. Otis, father of the famous political pamphleteer James Otis, Jr. (1725–1783), served for a time as president of the new council. Richard Derby, Jr. (1712–1783), of Salem was elected to the old council in May 1774, but he did not become a member of the new one until May 1776. Both of the two militia colonels, Azor Orne (1731–1796) and Jedediah Foster (1726–1779), were elected councillors on 21 July 1775. Orne declined to sit on the council, but he served as a member of the committee of safety. John Pitts (1737–1815), son of former councillor James Pitts, was on the committee of supplies and had served on the committee on the state of the province before it ceased to exist at the end of May 1775. Samuel Langdon (1723–1797), Charles Chauncy (1705–1787), and Samuel Cooper (1725–1783) were Congregational clergymen with honorary doctorates from Scottish universities, the first two from Aberdeen, and Cooper from Edinburgh. Langdon was pastor of a church in Portsmouth, N.H., until October 1774, when he became president of Harvard College. He served as chaplain to the American troops at Cambridge from 29 April to 30 Oct. 1775. Chauncy, pastor of the First Church of Boston from 1727 to 1787, left Boston in May 1775 and lived with his wife at Medfield during the British occupation of the city. Cooper, pastor at Boston’s Brattle Street Church from 1746 to 1783, fled Boston with his wife on 8 April 1775 after learning that the British authorities intended to arrest him for his outspoken opposition to the royal government. He stayed for a time at Weston and then moved to Waltham before returning to Boston when the British evacuated the city in March 1776.

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