George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the Massachusetts General Court, 18 August 1775

From the Massachusetts General Court

[Watertown, Mass., 18 August 1775]

May it please yr Excellency

This Court have attentively consider’d your Letter of the 12th Inst. & acquiesce in the Method propos’d of paying of the

Troops from the 1st Augst & would inform your Excellency that this Court have taken [Measures]1 that the Province may not be defrauded & Justice done to the Men & likewise fulfill their Engagemts made the Troops.2

As to the Cloathing propos’d we apprehend there is an absolute Necessity of our providing Coats for the Men & this Govermt having engag’d the same to our Troops a Part of which are already provided by the several Towns in this Govermt in Consequence of.3

Df, (incomplete), M-Ar: Revolution Letters. The document is endorsed “Draft of a letter to Gen. Washington as to paying troops Aug. 18, 1775 In Council read & accepted & ordered to be forwarded P. Morton, D. Secry.” No record of these actions appears in the council’s journal. The letter probably was not sent.

In the manuscript the letter is preceded by the statement “The Comte appointed to take into Consideration some Paragraphs in General Washington’s Letter take Leave to report the following Draft of a Letter to his Excellency in answer thereto. John Whetcomb per order.” This committee was the one that the two houses of the General Court appointed on 12 and 14 Aug. to consider part of GW’s letter of 12 August. See GW to the Massachusetts General Court, 12 Aug. 1775, source note. No report of this committee appears in the journal of either house. John Whitcomb (Whetcomb, c.1713–1783) of Bolton became a member of the council on 26 July 1775. A provincial colonel during the French and Indian War, Whitcomb was appointed a general by the provincial congress on 15 Feb. 1775 and first major general on 13 June. He received no rank from the Continental Congress, however, and exercised no command in the army after the end of June.

1This word is struck out in the manuscript, and no substitute is supplied.

2For the settlement of the pay accounts for the Massachusetts soldiers, see General Orders, 24, 31 Aug. and 5 Sept. 1775.

3The provincial congress resolved on 5 July to supply the colony’s forces with 13,000 coats “made of good plain cloth . . . in the common plain way, without lappels, short, and with small folds.” Each town and district in the colony, except Boston and Charlestown, was to provide a certain number of these coats in proportion to its share of the last provincial tax. The coats were to be delivered to the committee of supplies on or before 1 Oct. with “a certificate . . . sewed to the inside of each coat, purporting from what town it came, and by whom the coat was made, and if the cloth was manufactured in this country, by whom it was manufactured” (Mass. Prov. Congress Journals, 456–57 description begins William Lincoln, ed. The Journals of Each Provincial Congress of Massachusetts in 1774 and 1775, and of the Committee of Safety. Boston, 1838. (Microfilm Collection of Early State Records). description ends ).

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