From John Hancock
Philadelphia June 14th[–16] 1776.
I am extremely happy to have it in my Power to assure you that the several Matters referred to Congress in your Letters, will receive a speedy Determination. With great Pleasure I shall transmit you the Result, as soon as I am ordered.
I enclose to you, at this Time, sundry important Resolves, to which I beg Leave to refer your Attention.1
You will there perceive that Congress have ordered 9000 Dollars to be advanced to Col. Hand, which you will please to direct to be paid him out of the military Chest at New York. This Money is to be stopped out of the Pay of the Regiment.2
The establishing a War Office is a new and great Event in the History of America, and will doubtless be attended with essential Advantages when properly conducted & inspected. I hope the Committee will be ready, in a few Days to enter upon the Execution of their Duty. You will see the Outlines of this Office in the enclosed Resolves. Some further Regulations, it is more than probable, will be necessary in the Course of Time. The Congress have only laid a Foundation at present—It still remains, in a great Measure, to erect a System of Rules and Laws, that will enable us to carry on our military operations with more Knowledge, Certainty, and Dispatch.3
I have paid Capt. Grier 600 Dollars agreeably to the Order of Congress, which you will please to direct the Paymaster to deduct on Settlement.
The shameful Inactivity of our Fleet for some Time past; the frequent Neglect or Disobedience of Orders in Commodore Hopkins, the numberless Complaints exhibited to the Marine Committee agt him, and also against Captains Saltonstal and Whipple, have induced the Congress, in Consequence of a Representation from the Marine Committee, to order them to repair immediately to this City to answer for their Conduct. I have accordingly wrote them to set out on the Receipt of my Letters, and to repair here by Land as fast as possible.4 I hope soon to have our Ships on a more respectable Footing. No Efforts of mine shall be wanting to accomplish so desireable an Event.
I have sent the Resolves to the Convention of New York, which relate to them.5 The Prohibition on salted Beef and Pork, I have given Orders to be printed in all the Papers to the Eastward.
The Resolves respecting the Indians, I must ask the Favour of you to forward to Genl Schuyler, with such Directions as you shall judge necessary.
I am to inform you that the Congress have appointed Ebenezer Hancock Esqr. Deputy Paymaster General for the Eastern Department. A Carriage with one Hundred and fifty Thousand Dollars for the Pay of the Troops in that Department, will set out tomorrow.6
June 16th. A Waggon with about twenty two Thousand Dollars in Silver, and a Quantity of Continental Money, will set out tomorrow Morning for Canada.7 I have given Directions to call on you at New York, and must request you will order a Guard to proceed with it as fast as possible, the Rest of the Way. I have the Honour to be Sir your most obed. & very hble Sert
John Hancock Presidt
I Request the favr you will please to give the necessary orders to the Commanding Officer in the Eastern Departmt & to my Brother respecting the Payment of the Troops.
LS, DLC:GW; LB, DNA:PCC, item 12A. The postscript is in Hancock’s writing.
1. Hancock enclosed Congress’s resolutions of 12, 13, and 14 June concerning Col. Edward Hand’s rifle regiment, the creation of a Board of War and Ordnance, the payment of money to Capt. James Grier, an inquiry into the conduct of Commodore Esek Hopkins and captains Dudley Saltonstall and Abraham Whipple, the detection and restraining of Loyalists in New York, a ban on exporting salted beef and pork, and approval of Schuyler’s proposals for an Indian conference and the establishment of a post at Fort Stanwix (DLC:GW; see also 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 , 5:432, 434–35, 438–39, 441–42).
2. This money was advanced for the purchase of uniforms (ibid., 432).
3. On 13 June Congress named John Adams, Roger Sherman, Benjamin Harrison, James Wilson, and Edward Rutledge members of the Board of War and Ordnance and appointed Richard Peters secretary to the board (ibid., 438).
4. See Hancock to Esek Hopkins, Dudley Saltonstall, and Abraham Whipple, this date, in 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 , 4:212–13, 216–17.
5. See Hancock to the New York Provincial Congress, 15 June 1776, in Force, American Archives description begins Peter Force, ed. American Archives. 9 vols. Washington, D.C., 1837–53. description ends , 4th ser., 6:1412.
6. Ebenezer Hancock (1741–1819), a younger brother of John Hancock, was named to this position on 12 June (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 , 5:432; see also John Hancock to Ebenezer Hancock, 13 June 1776, in 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 , 4:203–4). Ebenezer Hancock, who lacked the financial resources and business acumen of his older brother, went bankrupt in a trading partnership with Edward Blanchard during the 1760s and was saved from ruin when John Hancock paid his debts and gave him stock and rent-free premises to reestablish himself in business. Ebenezer Hancock’s appointment as deputy paymaster general, an office that he held until the end of the war, was yet another instance of John Hancock’s using his power and influence to aid his younger brother.
7. For the forwarding of this money, see also Hancock to Daniel Roberdeau, 16 June, Hancock to William Bradford, Jr., 17 June, and Hancock to Schuyler, 17 June 1776, ibid., 231 and note 1, 257–58.