George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Hancock, 20 April 1776

From John Hancock

Philada April 20th 1776.


The polite Attention which your Goodness has induced you to pay to me and my private Affairs, particular[l]y while you were at Boston, makes me take the Liberty of requesting you to spare your Aid De Camp a few Days. If Mr Palfrey could, consistent with the Service, be permitted to pass two or three Days with me in this City, on Business of Importance to me, I shall esteem it a particular Favour. I would not however solicit his Presence here, or even think of such a Thing, if it cannot be done without Prejudice or Detriment to the Public Good, or any Inconvenience to you.1 I am Sir, with the truest Esteem, your most obedt & very hble servt

John Hancock


1Hancock revealed his real reason for making this request in his letter to William Palfrey of this date: “I have mention’d to the General my wish to See you here for a day or two, if he could consistently Dispense with your Absence for a few days, which I dare Say if possible he will Gratify me in. I have Rec’d a Letter of Resignation from Coll Warren, & laid it before Congress, which they have Accepted, & Monday next is Assign’d for the Appointmt. of a Successor; Coll. Harrison’s Son [Benjamin Harrison, Jr.] was lately Appointed Depy Pay Masr. & now Acts in the Southern Departmt. If he can hold the birth of Pay Masr Genl. & remain in Virginia, I beleive he will have it, but as I Judge that will not be permitted, as the Principal should be at Head Quarters; but in either case it is my opinion you will be brought into View, & either of which would be reputable, for if you be the Depy Pay Mr Genl. you will Reside with the General at New York. I shall do my best; & I think you may Depend on being promoted, you stand well, and any Additions of mine will not be wanting” (Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 3:561–62). Congress appointed Palfrey paymaster general on Saturday 27 April (see Hancock to GW, 30 April, and General Orders, 4 May 1776).

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