George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Hancock, 10 July 1775

From John Hancock

Philadelphia July 10th 1775


Since my last to you, nothing has Taken place in Congress particularly Respecting your Department.

I by order of Congress forward you the Declaration, & Address to the People of England.1

I must beg the favour you will Reserve some birth for me, in such Department as you may Judge most proper, for I am Determin’d to Act under you, if it be to take the firelock & Join the Ranks as a Volunteer. I have the Honor to be with profound Respect, Sir Your most Obedt servt

John Hancock

I hope to be with you soon, as there seems to prevail an Opinion that we may have an adjournmt in a little Time[.]2 We Expect soon to hear from you, all Military matters are suspended till your State arrives.


1On 8 July Congress approved an address to the inhabitants of Great Britain, which professed a continued desire on the part of the colonists for reconciliation with the mother country (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 2:162–70).

2Congress adjourned for several weeks beginning on 2 August. During the recess, Hancock, who had earlier harbored some hope that he would be offered command of the Continental army, went to Massachusetts, but he did not join the army in any capacity. Both his lack of significant military experience and his recurring spells of gout argued against such a step, nor did GW know how to employ him. See GW to Hancock, 21 July 1775 (second letter). On 28 Aug. Hancock married Dorothy Quincy, whom he had courted for some years, at Fairfield, Conn., and shortly afterwards he returned to Philadelphia to continue serving as president of Congress.

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