From the Northampton Committee of Safety
No. Hampton [Mass.]
17th Janry 1776
May it please your Excellency
The Gentlemen of the Navy who have been sent to this place by your Excellencys Order were permitted to go five Miles from No. Hampton,1 The Towns of Hatfield & Hadley are within those Limits in the former of which Towns several Persons live who are considered as unfriendly to the Country, with which Persons those Gentlemen have already become intimate to the great Uneasiness of the People. Complaints have been made to this Committee by the Inhabitants of both the Towns abovementioned of the ill Effects of the sd Indulgence, they supposeg it in our Power to lessen it. We beg leave also to Inform your Excellency that divers Gentlemen who have been sent to this Town by the Council of this Colony & Governor Cooke of Rhode Island are confin’d to the Town. The distinction gives Uneasiness, We therefore respectfully submit it to Your Excellency whether it wou’d not be prudent to contract the Limits of those Who are allowed to go five Miles from No. Hampton that thereby the same Indulgence be shewn to all.2 We are Sir with great Respect Your Excellencys most obedient and most Humble Servants
Chairman of the Committee of Safety
LS, DLC:GW; Df, NN: Joseph Hawley Papers. On the reverse of the draft is a canceled draft of an earlier version of this letter dated 12 Jan.: “We the Committee of Safety for the Town of No. Hampton, having had divers complaints from the Inhabitants of the Towns of Hatfield & Hadley against the Officers Your Excellency was pleased to send to Our care, who are permited by their Parole taken at Head Quarters to go to those places which Occasions much uneasiness (as we are informed) on that Acct as they frequently resort there and Associate with Persons (as the Complainants say) Unfriendly to the Country, which they imagine will be attended with bad consequences &c. We therefore have thought it expedient in order to quiet the Minds of the People, to Order the Officers aforesaid to keep within the limits of this Town ’till further Orders from Your Excellency.”
1. For the sending of prisoners to Northampton, see General Orders, 29 July, n.1, Committee of the Massachusetts Council to GW, 11 Aug., and note 3, GW to Thomas Gage, 19 Aug., n.1, GW to Cooke, 7 Dec. 1775, and John Knight to GW, 10 Jan. 1776.
2. Robert Hanson Harrison informed the committee on 24 Jan. that it was GW’s desire “that the Gentlemen of the Navy under your care, should be confined to North Hampton & not be permitted to go out of It’s limits—When he granted them permission to go five miles from thence, he did not Advert to the extent of the Towns in these Governments” (NN: Joseph Hawley Papers). See also Horatio Gates to John Knight, 24 Jan., quoted in Knight to GW, 10 Jan., n.2, and Henry Edwin Stanhope to GW, 16 Jan. 1776.