George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Hancock, 22 December 1780

From John Hancock

Boston December 22d 1780


The Assembly of this Commonwealth have taken every measure they could devise for Expediting the supplies of Provisions so necessary for the support of the Army, the Conduct of this Business they placed in the hands of three Gentlemen of acknowledg’d Abilities whose constant residence, for the sake of Dispatch, is at Springfield, & by whose Information it appears that they are forwarding the supplies with the utmost Expedition the Circumstances of the Commonwealth will admit of.1

By the Resolution of the Assembly which Your Excellency will find inclos’d, You will be inform’d of the Directions given to the Agents, for your Government & from the Knowledge I have of those Gentlemen I am very confident they will pay a strict Obedience to the requirement of the Assembly.2 I have written to them on the Subject, & shall by this Conveyance write to the Commissary General3—I shall write Your Excellency in a few days upon the Subject of Your late Letters,4 And am With very great respect, Your Excellency’s, Most Obedt hble Servt

John Hancock

LS, DLC:GW. GW acknowledged this letter when he wrote Hancock on 9 Jan. 1781 (M-Ar) .

1Samuel Osgood, Elijah Hunt, and Oliver Phelps served on a committee for superintending purchases at Springfield, Mass. (see The Boston Gazette, and the Country Journal, 30 Oct.; see also Osgood and Phelps to GW, 15 Dec.).

2The enclosed document, headed “Commonwealth of Massachusetts In Senate” on 21 Nov., reads: “The Committee of both Houses to whom was Committed the Letter from Congress of October 26th 1780 respecting Supplies for the Army have attended that service and are informed by the Agents that the Supplies referred to in said Letter are forwarding with the utmost Expedition the Circumstances of the Commonwealth will admit of.

“Resolved that his Excellency the Governor be desired to inform the Agents of this Commonwealth that it is expected and required that they make monthly returns agreeable to a resolve of Congress of all the provisions which shall come into their Hands Specifying the Articles and the Magazines or Places where they shall be deposited to the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army Commissary General and the secretary of this Commonwealth that it is expected a punctual Obedience will be observed respecting said returns.

“And it is further Resolved that His Excellency be further desired to inform the Commander in Chief & the Commissary General of the above resolve as soon as may be” (DLC:GW; see also Samuel Huntington to the States, 26 Oct., 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 , 16:263–64, and 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 , 18:970–71). For GW’s most recent communication concerning provisions, see his circular to state executives, 10 December.

3Neither Hancock’s letter to the agents nor his letter to Ephraim Blaine, commissary general of purchases, has been identified.

4Hancock wrote GW on 5 Feb. 1781 and stated only that he had submitted GW’s “late favours” to the Massachusetts legislature (DLC:GW).

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