From Charles Thomson
[Philadelphia, 11 December 1776]
The president being necessarily engaged with his family, I have the honour to inform you that your letter of the 10th was duly received & laid before Congress, and to transmit you a resolution of Congress passed this day.1 I am Sir Your obedient humble Servant
1. Thomson wrote and signed the enclosed copy of this resolution below his ALS on the same manuscript page. Dated “In Congress Decr 11. 1776,” it reads: “Whereas a false and malicious report hath been spread by the enemies of America that the Congress was about to disperse Resolved That general Washington be desired to contradict the said scandalous report in general Orders, this Congress having a better opinion of the spirit and vigour of the army & the good people of these states than to suppose it can be necessary to disperse. Nor will they adjourn from the city of Philadelphia in the present state of affairs unless the last necessity shall direct it” (DLC:GW). GW refused to comply with this resolution (see GW to Hancock, 12 Dec.), and it subsequently was struck out of Congress’s journal (see 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 , 6:1023).
The delegates had resolved on 9 Dec. “that in case this Congress shall be under the necessity of removing from Philadelphia, it shall be adjourned to Baltimore” (ibid., 1015), and on 10 Dec. they had resolved “that the president write to General Washington, and desire him to send a party to watch the roads leading from New Jersey to Philadelphia, above Trenton, and give Congress the earliest notice of the enemy’s motions” (ibid., 1020). No letter from Hancock to GW conveying that request has been found, but on this date Congress directed Gen. Israel Putnam, whom GW recently had put in charge of the defense of Philadelphia, “to order parties of active, spirited men, with proper guides, to cross from this city into Jersey; and, under the conduct of good officers, to act as harassing parties, and get the best intelligence of the motions and situation of the enemy, directing them to send frequent daily intelligence thro’ him to Congress, of the discoveries they be able to make of the enemies movements and situation” (ibid., 1023–24). Congress adjourned to Baltimore on 12 Dec. and began meeting there on 20 Dec. (see ibid., 1027–28; see also Thomson to GW, 12 Nov., n.1). For Congress’s resolutions of 9 Dec. requesting various Pennsylvania and Maryland counties and the Delaware council of safety “to send forward, as fast as possible, . . . as many troops as possible” to defend Philadelphia and reinforce GW’s army, see 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 , 6:1015–16.