George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from John Hancock, 17 November 1780

Boston Novr 17th 1780.


I should very frequently have done myself the honor of Writing to your Excellency since the Close of our Correspondence on my leaving Congress, could I have prevailed upon myself to have drawn your Attention from your weighty Concerns, and am confident my Silence will not be attributed to any other cause.

I am now called upon by the free Suffrages of my Fellow Citizens to take an active part in a Sphere of public Life quite unexpected to me, which Call upon the principles I first advanced, I could not withstand; one Inducement among many others that led to a Chearful Compliance with this Call, was that it would afford me an agreeable Opportunity of convincing you that no effort of mine should be wanting to promote your Excellencys views with respect to a Permanent Army as my particular Station would lead to a Correspondence on Public Concerns to which I shall always be attentive & Shall be happy on every Occasion to be informed of the situation of the Army and all Occurrencies & to Expedite the measures adopted by this Commonwealth for the Accomodation of the Army.

I am now more particularly led to address you in Consequence of a Resolution of our Assembly, which I have the honor to inclose you respecting the Arms & Accoutrements retained in Camp by your Order, which belonged to the Soldiers of this Commonwealth, & at the expiration of their Time were Lodged in Camp for the benefit of the United States, & no Compensation made them. These Soldiers are Constantly making their application to the Assembly for a recompence for the loss of their Arms & accoutrements, alledging they were Ordered to leave them in Camp and the Assembly are at a Loss in what manner to proceed without some further knowledge of the Circumstances—In order that they may Conduct with propriety (as the United States must be Chargeable with the Amount) they have passed the inclosed Resolve requesting me to make application to your Excellency to order a return to be made of all the Arms & Accoutrements that have been taken from men belonging to this Commonwealth, Specifying the Names of the persons from whom such Guns were taken or Detained, & the Regiment, Company & Town to which such men belong, in Order that payment may be made to those who Benefitted the public by leaving their Arms & Accoutrements & have hitherto no Compensation.

I am therefore to request that your Excellency will be pleased to give Necessary orders for the Returns to be made that the persons Interested may as speedily as possible meet a Compensation. I am with every Sentiment that Regard & Esteem can inspire Your Excellencys Most Obedt humle Servt

John Hancock

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


Commonwealth of Massachusetts In the House of Representatives Novr 16. 1780

Whereas many Soldiers who have been in the Continental Army are making Application to the General Court for payment for their Guns & Accoutrements which were taken from them before they left Camp (as they say) & Whereas no regular return has been made of the Guns &c. which have been so taken for the Public Service Wherefore Resolved That His Excellency the Governor be & he hereby is requested immediately to write to the Commander in Chief requesting him to order a particular return to be made into the Secretary’s Office of this Commonwealth of all the Arms & Accoutrements that have been taken from the Men belonging to this Commonwealth & no Compensation made therefor, specifying the Names of the Persons from whom such Guns were taken or detained & the Regiment, Company & Town to which such Men belong, in Order that payment may be made to such Soldiers who have left their Arms & Accoutrements for the Public Service & received no Compensation therefor. Sent up for Concurrence

Caleb Davis Spkr

In Senate Novr 16. 1780 read & Concurred

Jer: Powell Prest


John Hancock

True Copy Attest

John Avery Secy

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