From the New Hampshire Provincial Congress
[Exeter, N.H., 4 January 1776]
Sir—A complaint being made to the Congress of this Colony by our pay-master Col. Saml Hobart Esq. residing at Medford that he has within a few Days past been extremely ill treated by a party of Colo Stark’s Regiment without any apparent just cause, By which means a sum of money to the amot of Two hundred & sixty pounds has been pilfer’d from him, and at the same time the Honour of the Colony was highly reflected upon.
We must beg leave to lay before your Excellency a Copy of Mr. Hobart’s letter in wch he particularly relates his case, being the only Evidence we have at present, and to request that an immediate Inquiry be made into the matter by such means as your Excellency may think most proper—that the persons who may be found culpable, receive the Punishment their ill behaviour may merit—that this Colony may not sustain so great a loss of money, & those illiberal Reflections be wiped out by suitable acknowledgments.1
We are sorry to trouble you with these complaints at this critical time when your mind must be fully employ’d upon affairs of the greatest moment, but the abuse which Mr. Hobart as an officer of this Colony appears to have suffer’d claims some notice and We trust will plead our Excuse.
In behalf of the Congress I am with all due Respect,
Most obt humb servt
M. T., Prest2
Colony of New Hampr
Exeter 4th Jany, 1776.
Bouton, N.H. Provincial Papers description begins Nathaniel Bouton, ed. Provincial Papers. Documents and Records Relating to the Province of New-Hampshire, from 1764 to 1776 . . .. In New Hampshire Provincial and State Papers, vol. 7. 1873. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends , 7:707–8.
1. “The complaint made by this Gentleman,” Stephen Moylan replied to Thornton on 11 Jan., “you may be assured shall have a fair & just enquiry made into it. This wou’d have been done imediately on receipt of your Letter, if Colonel Stark was in Camp. His Excellency communicated the matter of Complaint to General Sullivan, who cou’d not give him any positive opinion until Colonel Stark returns: when he does, all proper attention will be paid by the General to the subject matter of your letter” (ibid., 708; see also the memorandum in GW’s letter book and the Varick transcripts in DLC:GW). Hobart’s letter containing his account of the incident, which occurred on 30 Dec., has not been found. Sullivan gave his views in his letter to the New Hampshire General Court of 17 Jan.: “You may depend that notwithstanding I esteem Stark as a worthy good officer I will do every thing in my power to punish any Insult he may have been guilty of offering to the Colony. I repeatedly told Colo Hubbard [Hobart] the Evg after the affair happened when I found him and Stark together at my house on my return from Head Quarters that I would confine Stark Immediately if he Desired it and even his whole Regiment if necessary but he chose to omit it” (Bouton, N.H. State Papers description begins Nathaniel Bouton, ed. State Papers. Documents and Records Relating to the State of New-Hampshire during the Period of the American Revolution, from 1776 to 1783 . . .. In New Hampshire Provincial and State Papers, vol. 8. 1874. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends , 8:30–32). John Stark, who left camp to recruit men for his regiment, returned by 17 Jan., and on 25 Jan. a court of inquiry convened to hear Hobart’s complaint against him (see General Orders, 23 Jan. 1776). For the court’s finding and Stark’s account of the incident, see General Orders, 6 Feb. 1776, and note 1. Samuel Hobart (1734–1798) represented Hollis in the New Hampshire house of representatives and provincial congress for several years. The provincial congress appointed him one of the colony’s muster masters on 22 May 1775, a paymaster on 29 June, and colonel of a regiment of minutemen on 1 September. On 27 Dec. it directed him and two other men “to Proceed down to the army, and there Examin the several Pay Rolls of the Captains in the Regiments commanded by the Colonels Stark, Poor & Reid, . . . and after such examination as they shall be satisfied of the Propriety thereof, That the Paymasters may proceed in paying them off” (Bouton, N.H. Provincial Papers description begins Nathaniel Bouton, ed. State Papers. Documents and Records Relating to the State of New-Hampshire during the Period of the American Revolution, from 1776 to 1783 . . .. In New Hampshire Provincial and State Papers, vol. 8. 1874. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends , 7:479, 537, 608, 678, 697–98).
2. Matthew Thornton was president of the New Hampshire provincial congress, which on 5 Jan. resolved itself into a house of representatives and reestablished the council. Thornton was chosen a councilor on 6 January.