George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Charles Thomson, 12 December 1776

From Charles Thomson

Philada Decr 12. 1776


The president being still necessarily engaged with his family I have the honour to inform you that your letter of yesterday was recd & laid before Congress. I enclose you sundry resolutions passed this day1 and am Sr Your obedient humble Serv.

Chas Thomson


1Included among the enclosed resolutions, which Thomson began writing below the ALS and continued writing on two following manuscript pages, is a resolution directing the frigate Randolph and the sloop Hornet to assist in the defense of Philadelphia and a resolution authorizing the raising of a cavalry regiment under Elisha Sheldon as proposed in GW’s letter to Hancock of 11 December. Included also is a resolution that is omitted from Congress’s journal. It directs the commanding general in Philadelphia to defend the city “to the utmost extremity against the attempts of the enemy to get possession of it and that for this end he apply from time to time to the council of safety of Pensylvania for their aid & assistance.” In a parenthetical note immediately following that resolution, Thomson says: “Having passed the foregoing resolutions & conferred with the generals in town who with strong reasons urged the necessity of leaving this city, the Congress came to the following Resolution.” That resolution, which does appear in Congress’s journal, reads: “Whereas the movements of the enemy have now rendered the neighbourhood of this city the seat of war, which will prevent that quiet and uninterrupted attention to the public business which should ever prevail in the great continental Council Resolved That this Congress be for the present adjourned to the town of Baltimore in the State of Maryland to meet on the 20th instant unless a sufficient number to make a congress shall be there sooner assembled And that until Congress shall otherwise order[,] General Washington be possessed of full powers to order and direct all things relative to the department and to the operations of war” (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 , 6:1024–27). Congress began meeting in Baltimore on 20 Dec. (see ibid., 1028).

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