George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Hancock, 2 August 1777

From John Hancock

Philada Augst 2d 1777


I do myself the Honour to Inclose you sundry Resolutions of Congress, to which beg leave to Refer you.1 I have the honour to be Sir Your very hum. Servt

John Hancock Presidt


1The enclosed resolutions, passed between 29 July and 1 Aug. 1777, concern a variety of matters related to the military and to the defense of Philadelphia. Resolutions of 29 and 30 July, and 1 Aug., order an inquiry into the reasons for evacuating Ticonderoga and Mount Independence and into the conduct of the general officers who were in the northern department at the time of the evacuation. Generals Arthur St. Clair, Philip Schuyler, Enoch Poor, John Paterson, and La Rochefermoy are all ordered to report to headquarters, and GW is directed to order “such General Officer as he shall think proper immediately to repair to the Northern Department to relieve Major General Schuyler in his Command there” (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 , 8:585, 590, 596).

The remainder of the enclosed resolutions were passed on 31 July. The first is marked “(Secret)” and recommends to the Pennsylvania supreme executive council that it take into custody “such of the late crown and proprietary-officers, and other persons in and near this City, as are disaffected or may be dangerous to the publick liberty, and send them back into the Country, there to be confined or enlarged upon parole, as their characters and behaviour may require.

“That it be recommended to the said Executive Council to remove under guard, all the State-prisoners in the Goal of this City to some safe place back in the Country, and that they cause the Guards to be doubled ’till the Prisoners can be removed.

“That it be recommended to the said Executive Council immediately to order two companies of militia to strengthen the Guard over the prisoners at Lancaster; and also two Companies of militia to guard the Prisoners at York-town.

“Resolved That the militia of the State of New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland be immediately called out to repel any Invasion of the Enemy in the said States.

“Resolved That the Continental Navy-board be empowered and directed to take such Measures as they judge necessary and expedient for securing the Continental vessels that cannot be employed in the Defense of the river, and also for securing the Continental property afloat on the river.”

Another resolution of 31 July appoints the marquis de Lafayette a major general in the Continental army. Two other resolutions call upon the states to divide into districts for the purpose of assisting Continental recruitment efforts, the establishment in each district of an agent to oversee recruitment, and the establishment of rendezvous points for the new recruits and for deserters. A final resolution directs GW to order “all Continental Officers now absent from their corps forthwith to join them except only such as the General shall think necessary to receive recruits and march them to the Army” (DLC:GW; see ibid., 591–95).

Index Entries