From John Hancock
Philadelphia June 18th 1776.
You will see, from the enclosed Resolves, which I do myself the Pleasure of forwarding in Obedience to the Commands of Congress, that they have bent their whole Attention to our Affairs in Canada, and have adopted such Measures, as in their Opinion, are calculated to place them on a better and more reputable Footing for the future.1
The most unfortunate Death of General Thomas having made a Vacancy in that Department, and the Service requiring an officer of Experience and Distinction, the Congress have thought proper to appoint General Gates to succeed him. And I am to request, you will send him into that Provence to take the Command of the Forces there as soon as possible; and that you direct him to view Point au Fer, and to order a Fortress to be erected there if he shall think proper.2
My opinion on the Resolve of the 25th May was well founded; Congress having since determined, as you will find by a Resolve herewith transmitted, that you are to employ the Indians whereever you think their Services will contribute most to the Public Good.3
I shall write to the Colonies of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to request them to authorize you to call on their Militia if necessary.4 My Time will not permit me to do it now, as the Post will set out directly, and the enclosed Resolves were not passed till late yesterday Evening. I have the Honour to be Sir, your most obedt and very hble Ser.
John Hancock Presidt
A Muster Master Genl in the Room of Mr Moylan will be appointed this Day or tomorrow—and a Deputy will afterwards be sent into Canada.5
I beg you will think of the Eastern Departmt with Respect to General officers, when your very important Concerns will admit.
LS, DLC:GW; LB, DNA:PCC, item 12A. The second paragraph of the postscript to the LS is in Hancock’s writing. That paragraph does not appear in the LB, although the LB does include several draft changes in Hancock’s writing.
1. Hancock enclosed a long series of resolutions concerning various military matters that Congress approved on 17 June. They include measures for supplying and reinforcing Canada, calling out militia to defend New York, impressing carriages and water craft, recruiting riflemen, exchanging prisoners, and disposing of prize cargoes (DLC:GW; 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 , 5:447–54). See also notes 2, 3, and 4. In the margin of a page that contains several resolutions about raising and employing Connecticut troops, Hancock wrote a note to GW: “This I forward to you, that you might know the State of Troops in Connect. not intendg to give you any Trouble, as I have sent the Resolves &c.” Hancock forwarded copies of those resolutions to Gov. Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., of Connecticut on 19 June (Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 4:268–69).
2. These instructions are included in the resolutions of 17 June accompanying this letter (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 , 5:448–49). Point au Fer, N.Y., is on the west side of Lake Champlain about five miles south of the border between the United States and Canada.
3. For Hancock’s opinion about GW’s powers to employ Indians, see his letter to GW of 10 June. Congress’s resolution of 17 June authorizing GW to use Indians as he saw fit also empowered him to reward them for capturing British officers and soldiers (ibid., 452).
4. See Hancock to Certain Colonies, this date, in Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 4:264–65. Congress authorized Hancock to write these letters in one of the enclosed resolutions of 17 June (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 , 5:452).