George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Hancock, 25 July 1777

To John Hancock

[Ramapo, N.J.] ½ after 8 A.M. July 25th 1777


I do myself the Honor to transmit you the Inclosed Letter from Govr Franklin which came this Minute by Express.1

As Mr Franklin was confined by order of Congress, I could not think myself at liberty to answer him on the subject of his request and therefore have referred it to their consideration. At the same time I would observe his situation is distressing and must interest All our feelings, as I have no doubt of the great indisposition of his Lady. I should suppose after his solemn assurances and being laid under such further restrictions as Congress may judge necessary to impose upon him, that he might be indulged to see her. Humanity & Generosity plead powerfully in favor of his Application and I am certain it will be duly considered. If it is granted he should have the earliest notice or the end & the views of Congress may be disappointed in the death of Mrs Franklin before his arrival.2 I have the Honor to be with great respect Sir Yr Most Obedt Sert

Go: Washington

LS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. This letter and its enclosure were read by Congress on 28 July (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 , 8:583). The addressed and docketed cover of the LS also contains GW’s signature.

2After reading this letter on 28 July, Congress resolved that GW “be desired to inform Mr. W. Franklin, that, Congress, after such a violation of so sacred a tie as that of honor, cannot think it consistent with the safety of the States, to permit him to have an opportunity of conferring with our open enemies under any restrictions whatsoever” (ibid., 583–84).

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