George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the Massachusetts General Court, 10 February 1776

To the Massachusetts General Court

Cambridge Feby 10. 1776


Notwithstanding I have taken every method my Judgement could Suggest to procure a Sufficient Number of Firelocks for the Soldiers of this Army, by Applications to the Assemblies & Conventions of these Governments, as well as by sending Officers out with Money to purchase, I am constrained by necessity to Inform you, that the deficiency is amazingly great, and that there are not nigh enough to Arm the Troops already here—It is true that All the Officers gone upon the business are not yet returned, but from the small success of those who have made report, I cannot promise myself many more—I must therefore beg leave to sollicit your kind attention to this very Interesting and important concern, and would Submit It to your consideration, whether If your Honourable Court were to depute some of their Members to make applications to the different Towns, they might not procure a considerable Quantity—I will most cheerfully furnish them with Money for the purpose, or pay for them on their delivery here, as you shall think most advisable—I shall only add that I hope the Exigency of our Affairs at this critical crisis, will excuse this request, and my confidence of your readiness & zeal to do every thing in your power for promoting the public Good1 and Am Gentlemen with Great regard & esteem Your Most Obedt Servt

Go: Washington

P.S. I have heard that there are Several King’s Muskets in the Country—for each with a Bayonet, that are good & have not been abused, I will readily give 12 Dollars—& in proportion for Other Guns fit for service.


LS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, M-Ar: Revolution Letters; LB, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1The General Court read this letter on 12 Feb., and later that day the house of representatives resolved “that a Committee be appointed in the several Counties of Suffolk, Essex, Middlesex, Hampshire, Worcester, Plymouth, Bristol and York, to purchase as early as possible in the Recess of this Court, all the good and effective Fire Arms which are to be obtained in the several Towns in the Counties aforesaid, on the best Terms they may be had, and forward them without Delay, to his Excellency General Washington, or his Order.” The house also recommended to GW in a second resolution that he send the chairmen of the county committees “such Sum or Sums of Money, as may be sufficient to enable them to execute their Commission with Ease and Dispatch.” The council concurred with both resolutions on 13 Feb., and the county committees were appointed that same day (Mass. House of Rep. Journal, Nov. 1775–Feb. 1776 sess. description begins A Journal of the Honourable House of Representatives. At a Great and General Court or Assembly for the Colony of the Massachusetts-Bay in New-England. Boston, 1776. (Microfilm Collection of Early State Records.) description ends , 275, 278, 284; see also “Mass. Council Journal,” July 1775–Feb. 1776 sess. description begins In Journals, Minutes, and Proceedings, State of Massachusetts Bay, 1775–1780. (Microfilm Collection of Early State Records.) description ends , 559, 568–69). The General Court recessed on 20 February.

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