George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Hancock, 5 February 1781

From John Hancock

Boston February 5th 1781


Colonel John Ashley and Brigr General Warner a Committee Appointed by the General Court to take charge of a Sum of Money in Specie granted by a Resolve of the 15th Ulto as a Gratuity to the Non Commiss[i]ond Officers and Soldiers belonging to the Massachusetts Line of the Army, will wait upon your Excellency with this Letter and I have it in Charge by a Resolution of the General Court (which said Committee will have the honor to lay before you) to request your Aid and Assistance in devising the best manner of distributing said Money.1

The Committee will not be able to convey the whole of the Sum granted, which they desired I would acquaint you but that the Ballance will be forwarded in a few days.

I have had the honor of receiving your Excellency’s late favours which I have laid before the General Court and as soon as I am made acquainted with their Determinations, I shall transmit the same.

I have been confined with a Severe fit of the Gout to my Chamber this fortnight and feel at present very much indisposed therefore beg you to excuse my adding any thing further except that, I am, With ev[e]ry Sentiment of Esteem Your Excellency’s most Obdt hble Servt

John Hancock

1The resolve of the Massachusetts legislature of 16 Jan. granted to all non-commissioned officers and soldiers of the state who were enlisted for the war on or before 2 Dec. 1780 the sum of $24 in specie “as a gratuity” and in “testimony of the sense this Commonwealth entertains of their faithful services” (Mass. Acts and Laws, 1780–81, pp. 217–18).

On 27 Jan., the legislature had resolved “That Col. John Ashly, jun. and Justin Ely, Esq; be a committee to take charge of the money granted by a resolve of the 15th [16th] instant, as a gratuity to the non-commissioned officers and soldiers belonging to the Massachusetts line, and to convey the said money to camp, and after consulting with his Excellency General Washington … to distribute the same” (Mass. Acts and Laws, 1780–81, p. 235). On the same day, the legislature substituted Jonathan Warner for Justin Ely, who had declined the appointment (see Mass. Acts and Laws, 1780–81, p. 236).

John Ashley, Jr. (1736–1799) was colonel of the 1st Berkshire County militia regiment. He later served as a delegate to the Massachusetts convention that ratified the Constitution of the United States (see DHRC description begins John P. Kaminski et al., eds. The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. 26 vols. to date. Madison, Wis., 1976–. description ends , 6:1153).

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