George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Hancock, 2 December 1775

From John Hancock

Philadelphia Decemr 2d 1775.


Your severall Letters from the time the Committee left the Camp to the 19th of November inclusive being duly Rec’d, were laid before Congress, on which, as well as on the Report from their Committee, they have Come to sundry further Resolutions, which I have the honour to inclose you1—The Money order’d is getting ready and will be forwarded with all possible Expedition—The Congress have Resolved to make a further Emission of Three Million of Dollars, which I hope will be finished, & such supplies forwarded as will Answer your Exigencies and enable you for the future to pay the Army Monthly, and fulfill your other Engagements.2

I have nothing further in Command from Congress.

Yesterday we Rec’d Advice by an Express from the Committee of Frederic in Maryland, that Conolly & three Associates were taken prisoners and are now in Confinement in that County—By his Examination taken and the Papers found with him, the Deposition of his Servant, which you Transmitted to Congress, is fully Confirm’d.3

This Day we Receiv’d Advice from Northampton in Virginia, that Lord Dunmore has Erected his Standard at Norfolk, proclaim’d Martial Law, invited the Negroes to Join him, and offer’d them Freedom, for which purpose he has issued a proclamation from on board the Ship where he Resides; and that Two Counties have been Obliged to Submitt to him4—However I hope such measures are taking as will speedily and effectually Repel His Violences and secure the peace & safety of that Colony.

The Committee have just brought in their Report on the Vessell taken by the People of New Hampshire. As soon as the Congress have come to a Determination thereon I shall do myself the pleasure of Transmitting it to you.5 In the mean while with sincere & hearty wishes for your Safety, Happiness & prosperity, I have the Honor to be, Sir Your most Obedt hume servt

John Hancock President

I forward you severall Commissions for the Officers of the Arm’d Vessells, also a Number of printed Articles for the Regulation of the Army as Amended[.]6 For the Recommendation of Mr Crafts & Trott to be Appointed Officers in the Regiment of Artillery, and the Steps to be pursued with Respect to the Release of Coll Ethan Allen, I beg leave to Refer you to the Resolves Inclos’d.7

I inclose you a Commission for Henry Knox Colonell of the Regimt of Artillery.

The Inclos’d Accott of Advances to the Rifle Companies you will please to order the Pay Master to Deduct from their Pay agreeable to the severall Charges.

Please to forward the Inclos’d Letters.8

ALS, DLC:GW; LB, DNA:PCC, item 12A.

1Hancock is apparently referring to GW’s letters to him of 24, 30 Oct., and 2, 8, 11, 19 November. The enclosure, which is docketed “Sundry Resolves from 25 to 30 Nov. & 2 Dec. on difft Subjects about Prizes &c.,” is in DLC:GW. Included are resolutions of 17 Nov. appointing Knox commander of the artillery (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 3:358–59), of 25 Nov. concerning ships liable to capture and the disposition of prizes (ibid., 373, 374–75), of 30 Nov. authorizing GW to raise two battalions of marines independent of the army and rejecting reenlistment bounties (ibid., 393), of 1 Dec. ordering funds sent to GW as soon as possible and urging the New England colonies to promote recruiting (ibid., 394), and of 2 Dec. regarding a variety of military matters (ibid., 398–402). Near the end of the document Charles Thomson, who copied these resolutions from the minutes of Congress, adds: “The rules, regulations & orders for the navy of the united colonies & the blank commissions for the Officers are in the press & when printed will be forwarded.” The document is signed by both Thomson and Hancock.

2Congress authorized $500,000 for GW’s army on 11 Nov. and approved the emission of $3 million in bills of credit on 29 Nov. (ibid., 352, 390).

3GW enclosed William Cowley’s letter to him of 30 Sept.—12 Oct. in his letter to Hancock of 12 Oct. 1775. For an account of the arrest of John Connolly and his companions near Hagerstown on 19 Nov., see Lund Washington to GW, 3 Dec. 1775.

4See the Northampton County Committee of Safety to Hancock, 25 Nov. 1775, in DNA:PCC, item 171. For Lord Dunmore’s proclamation of 7 Nov., see Van Schreeven, Revolutionary Virginia description begins William J. Van Schreeven et al., eds. Revolutionary Virginia: The Road to Independence. A Documentary Record. 7 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1973–83. description ends , 4:334–35.

5Congress appointed this committee on 25 Nov. in response to the part of GW’s letter to Hancock of 5 Oct. asking Congress to establish procedures for disposing of captured vessels and their cargoes as in the case of the Prince George taken at Portsmouth on 2 Oct. (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 3:375). A copy of the resolution appointing the committee was enclosed with this letter (see note 1). For Congress’s decision on this matter, see Hancock to GW, 22 Dec. 1775, n.4.

6On this day Congress approved the form of the commissions “for the Captains or Commanders of the ships of war in the service of the United Colonies” and ordered 300 of them to be immediately printed (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 3:396–97). The articles of war were revised on 7 Nov. as recommended by the committee of conference that sat at Cambridge 18–24 Oct., and on 13 Nov. Congress ordered the articles to “be published, with the additions and alterations lately made” (ibid., 330–34, 352).

7Congress today approved the organization of the artillery regiment and directed Hancock to inform GW “that two Gentlemen, viz: Thomas Crafts, jun. and George Trott, Esqrs. have been recommended to Congress as proper persons for field officers in said regiment, and that the General enquire into their characters and abilities; and if, upon enquiry, he shall judge them proper, and that the appointment of them will occasion no disturbance and disgust in the regiment, that he appoint them, and acquaint Congress thereof” (ibid., 399). Before the war, Thomas Crafts, Jr. (1740–1799), who now lived in Leominster, and George Trott, who now lived in Braintree, resided in Boston where they were members of the Sons of Liberty and officers in Capt. Adino Paddock’s artillery company. Both men declined the commissions that GW offered them. See GW to Hancock, 14 Dec. 1775 (first letter). In 1776 Crafts commanded a state regiment of artillery with the rank of lieutenant colonel, and Trott served under him as major.

The resolution regarding Ethan Allen directed GW to apply to Gen. William Howe for his exchange (ibid., 402). For GW’s compliance with this order, see GW to Howe, 18 Dec., and Howe to GW, 21 Dec. 1775.

8The enclosed accounts and letters have not been identified.

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