To John Hancock
New York May 18. 1776
I do myself the honor to transmit to you the Inclosed Letters and papers I received this morning in the State they now are, which contain sundry matters of Intelligence of the most Interesting nature.1
As the Consideration of them may lead to important consequences and the adoption of several measures in the military line, I have thought It advisable for Genl Gates to attend Congress; he will follow to morrow and satisfie & explain to them some points they may wish to be informed of in the course of their deliberations, not having an Opportunity2 at this time to Submit my thoughts to them, upon these Interesting Accounts. I have the Honor to be with the greatest esteem Sir Your most Obedt Servt
LS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; LB, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; copy, DLC: Hancock Papers; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Congress read this letter on 21 May (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 , 4:369).
1. GW enclosed John Langdon’s letter to him of 10 May and various letters and newspapers that George Merchant, an escaped prisoner of war, had brought from England. Merchant’s documents, except for copies of the treaties that the British crown had made with several German princes for mercenary troops, cannot be identified. For a general discussion of them, see Langdon to GW, 10 May 1776, n.2. This letter and its enclosures apparently were carried to Philadelphia by Merchant, who arrived there on the evening of 20 May. The next day Congress read the letter and referred the enclosures to a committee of five members, which was “directed to extract and publish the treaties, and such parts of the intelligence as they think proper.” The members appointed to the committee were John Adams, William Livingston, Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, and Roger Sherman (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 , 4:369–70).
2. Harrison inadvertently wrote “Opportuninty” in the letter-book copy.