George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Sever, 11 December 1775

From William Sever

Council Chamber [Watertown, Mass.]
Decr 11th 1775


At the request of the Board I am to acquaint your Excellency, that in consequence of a Letter, received the 4 Instt from your Excellency’s Aid de Camp, Robt H: Harrison, Esqr. giving Information of a number of Persons coming out of Boston, who were apprehended to be infected with the smallpox; The whole Court immediately took Order thereon, an attested Copy whereof is inclosed1—This the Board apprehend precludes the Necessity of taking any further Order on your Excellency’s Letter of this Day2—If your Excellency should think otherwise, & that this Order will not effectually remove the Evil—On your Excellency’s suggesting the Deficiency, the earliest Remedy will be applied. In the name & behalf of the Board I am yr Excellency’s most Obedt and very hu[mbl]e Servt

W. Sever


1Robert Hanson Harrison’s letter to James Otis, Sr., of 3 Dec. is quoted in GW to Hancock, 4 Dec. 1775, n.11. The resolution passed by the house of representatives on 6 Dec. and approved by the council the following day directs the members of the General Court’s refugee committee to “retain at Point Shirley such of sd Inhabitants [of Boston] as they shall apprehend may have been in the way of receiving the Small Pox, for such a space of time as may be necessary to determine whether they had the infection.” The committee was empowered to impress “Carriages for the Removal of such of sd Inhabitants and their effects as shall have been sufficiently smoked & cleansed, to such Towns as the Committee shall Judge proper, given them Certificates, that they are of the Poor of Boston, and quite free from Infection.” If necessary, the committee was to establish hospitals for any refugees found to have smallpox symptoms (DLC:GW; see also Mass. House of Rep. Journal description begins A Journal of the Honorable House of Representatives of the Colony of the Massachusetts-Bay in New-England. Watertown, Mass., 1775. (Microfilm Collection of Early State Records). description ends , Nov. 1775–Feb. 1776 sess., 13, 19, and “Mass. Council Journal,” July 1775–Feb. 1776 sess. description begins In Journals, Minutes, and Proceedings, State of Massachusetts Bay, 1775–1780. (Microfilm Collection of Early State Records.) description ends , 335, 342–43). For the appointment of the refugee committee, see GW to James Warren, 9 Nov. 1775, n.1.

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