Letters Concerning the Revolution Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Gentlemen,

Philadelphia May 16th. 1776.

By the best Intelligence from Europe it appears, That the British Nation have proceeded to the last Extremity, and have actually taken into Pay a Number of foreign Troops; who, in all Probability, are on their Passage to America at this very Time. The Transactions of the Ministry are so much hid from View, that we are left to wander in the Field of Conjecture; and it is entirely to accident we are indebted, for any little Information we may receive with Regard to their Designs against us. This Uncertainty however, I hope, will have the proper Effect. It should stimulate the Colonies to greater Dilligence & Vigour in preparing to ward off the Blow, as our Enemies may, for any Thing we know, be at our very Door.

In this Situation of our Affairs, it is highly necessary, that the Town of Boston should receive a Reinforcement, to prevent it from falling again into the Hands of such Miscreants, as have just been driven out of it. The Congress therefore considering the small Number of Troops in that Place, and the Impossibility of detaching any from the Continental Army which has lately been much weakened by the two Brigades consisting of ten Regiments ordered into Canada, have come to the enclosed Resolutions, which I am commanded to transmit you, being fully assured, that you will do every Thing in your Power to carry the same into Effect as speedily as possible.

I enclose to you also blank Commissions for the Captains and Subalterns of the two Regiments to be raised in Massachusetts Colony, to be filled up with the Names of the Persons you may please to appoint. With Respect to the Field Officers, I have it in Command to request, you will please to recommend to Congress as early as possible the Names of Persons you judge proper for those Offices, in Order that they may be appointed & commissioned by the Congress. As soon as I have the Honour to receive your Recommendations, I will lay them before Congress, and immediately upon their Determination transmit you the Commissions filled up accordingly.

I have the Honour to be with every respectful sentiment, and much Esteem, Gentlemen, your most obed. hble Servt.

John Hancock Presidt.

[P.S.] The Congress have been pleased to appoint Horatio Gates Esqr to be a Major General and Thomas Mifflin Esqr to be a Brigadier General in the Continental Army. I have wrote to Genl. Washington to request him, if agreeable, that those Gentlemen may take the command at Boston.

I am prevented inclosing a Resolve by means of the Secy with the Journals being out of Town. It is a Resolution for the liberation of Doctr. Church in his present infirm dangerous State, he is to be sent by Govr. Trumball to the Assembly of Massachusetts & they are requested to take Bail in £1000 L[awful] m[one]y for his appearance hereafter before a proper Court authorized to try him.(3) I a few days ago deliver’d a Copy of the Resolve to the Drs Brother, will transmit one to you by tomorrow’s post.

Yours,J. H. Pt.

I have advanc’d Mr. Jona. Park the Express Twelve dollars, which I have charg’d to the province.

John Hancock To: the Connecticut and New Hampshire Assemblies

Gentlemen,

Philada. May 16th. 1776.

You will perceive by the enclosed Resolve of Congress, which I am commanded to transmit you, that they have directed another Battalion to be raised in your Colony on Continental pay.

The Army under General Washington has been so extremely weakened by detaching ten Regiments into Canada on a most important Service, that it has become apparently necessary, for the Security of the Eastern Governments, to increase the Number of Troops in that Quarter. The Congress have accordingly resolved that two Regiments be raised in Massachusetts Bay, one in New Hampshire, and one in Connecticut for the Service of the United Colonies. They have also been pleased to appoint Horatio Gates Esqr. a Major General, and Tho. Mifflin Esqr. a Brigadier General in the Continental Army.

Your Zeal & Ardor in the American Cause will, I am persuaded, induce you to carry the enclosed Resolve into Effect, with all the Expedition which your own Situation, and the Public Good so evidently require.

I enclose you also blank Commissions for the Captains & Subalterns of the Regiment to be raised in your Colony to be filled up with the Names of the Persons you may please to appoint. With Respect to the Field Officers, I have it in Command to request you will please to recommend to Congress as early as possible the Names of Persons you judge proper for those offices, in order that they may be appointed & commissioned by the Congress. As soon as I have the Honour to receive your Recommendations, I will lay them before Congress, and immediately upon their Determination transmit you the Commissions filled up accordingly.

I have the Honour to be, Gentlemen, your most obedt. & very hble Sevt.,J. H. Pt.

John Hancock To: Certain States

Gentlemen,

Philada. July 16th. 1776.

Since I had the Honour of addressing you on the fourth of June, at which Time I transmitted sundry Resolves of Congress, requesting you to call forth your Militia, our Affairs have assumed a much more serious Complexion. If we turn our Attention towards the Northern Department, we behold an Army reduced by Sickness, and obliged to flee before an Enemy of vastly superior Force. If we cast our Eyes to Head Quarters, we see the British Army reinforced under Lord Howe, and ready to strike a Blow, which may be attended with the most fatal Consequences, if not timely resisted. The Situation of our Country at this Season, calls therefore for all the Vigour & Wisdom among us; and if we do not mean to desert her at this alarming Crisis, it is high Time to rouse every Spark of Virtue, and forgetting all inferiour Considerations, to exert ourselves in a Manner becoming Freemen.

The Intelligence received this day from General Washington, points out the absolute, the indispensible Necessity of sending forward all the Troops that can possibly be collected, to strengthen both the Army in New York, and that on this Side of Canada. I do therefore, once more, in the Name & by the Authority of Congress request & beseech you, as you regard the Liberties of your Country, and the Happiness of Posterity; and as you stand engaged by the most solemn Ties of Honour, to support the Common Cause, to strain every Nerve to send forward your Militia, agreeably to the former Requisitions of Congress. This is a Step of such infinite Moment, that, in all Human Probability, it will be the Salvation of America. And as it is the only effectual Step that can possibly be taken at this Juncture, you will suffer me again, most ardently to entreat your speedy Compliance with it.

In short, the critical Period is arrived, that will seal the Fate, not only of ourselves, but of Posterity. Whether they shall arise the generous Heirs of Freedom, or the dastardly Slaves of imperious Task-Masters, it is in your Power now to determine: and as Freemen, I am sure, you will not hesitate a Moment, about the Choice.

I have the Honour to be, Gentlemen &c,J. H. Prest.

John Hancock To: the Pennsylvania Assembly

Gentlemen,

Philadelphia, 13th June, 1776.

The Congress have just received Advice, that a Number of Disaffected Persons have got together in Sussex County, in Delaware Government; that there is Reason to apprehend those deluded People are supplied with Arms and Ammunition from the Men of War of our Enemies, and mean to act in Concert with them. As it is of the utmost Importance, that such Insurrections be immediately quelled and totally suppressed, the Congress have come to the following Resolution:

That it be recommended to the Assembly of Pennsylvania, immediately to order a Battalion of the Provincial Rifle-Men, now a Chester, to march to the Assistance of the Militia in Delaware Government.

I doubt not you will see the Necessity of an immediate Compliance.

I have the Honour to be, Gentlemen, Your obedient humble Servant, John Hancock, President

John Hancock To: the Massachusetts Assembly

Honorable Gentlemen,

Philadelphia June 14th. 1776.

Your Letter from the Honble President of the Council was duely received. The Delegates of Massachusetts Bay, you may depend, will pay all the Regard and Attention in their Power, to the Instructions you are pleased to honour them with.

In my Letter of the 4th of June, which I hope came safe to Hand, I enclosed you sundry Resolves of Congress, relative to supplying a Part of your Militia for the Defence of the Common Cause in the present critical State of our Affairs. On the 11th Inst., in Obedience to the Commands of Congress, I sent a second Express to the several Colonies that were to furnish Troops for the Defence of New York. This last was sent in Consequence of alarming Intelligence from Genl. Washington of an intended Attack on that City by Genl. Howe with all his Forces. To the Motives suggested in my Letters on the Occasion, I can only repeat, that it is the only Measure that can possibly save us from Destruction.

I am extremely sorry to observe that our Affairs in Canada are on so bad a Footing. In Order however to retrieve our Misfortunes in that Quarter, a most important Step will be, to supply our Troops there with as much Gold and Silver as we can collect. You will therefore be pleased to send by Express, immediately on Receipt of this, all the hard Money in your Possession, to Genl. Schuyler, or to the Paymaster in Canada, Mr. Jona. Trumbull.

I do myself the Pleasure to transmit herewith the Sum of thirty Thousand Dollars in a small Box marked and numbered, which, you will please to use your best Endeavours, to have exchanged for Specie; and also, the Sum of twenty one Thousand Dollars, in a small Box marked and numbered, for the Use of the two Battalions to be raised in our Province, which you will please to improve accordingly. There are in this Box Massachusetts Bills equal in Value to 2725 3/4 Dollars, as per List enclosed.

You will also be pleased to procure hard Money to the Amount of one Hundred Thousand Dollars if possible. For any Sum above the thirty Thousand Dollars now sent, which you may collect in Specie, your Bills on me, shall be duely honored. Or should you be so fortunate as to collect even more than one Hundred Thousand Dollars in hard Money, your Bills on me for such over plus Money, shall be likewise duely honored.

Whatever further Sum you may collect, after you shall have forwarded all now in your Hands, you will be pleased to send immediately to Canada, if you should judge it so considerable as to be worth the Expence of transmitting.

I have the Honour to be with every Sentiment of Respect, Gentlemen, your most obed., and very hble Sevt.

John Hancock Presidt.

[P.S.] The Inclos’d Resolution respectg. the Prohibition on the Exportation of Salted Beef & Pork, I request the favr. you will please to order to be publish’d in all the News Papers.

I have in Charge from Congress most earnestly to Solicit your Attention to the Article of hard Money, & to request you will issue such orders as may be effectual for obtaing a considerable quantity, & as often as a Sum worth Sending is in hand you would please to order it by Express to Canada.

Your Delegates, from the enhanc’d price of all Articles & the increase of Expences in this City, are reduc’d to the Necessity of Acquainting you that their Funds are exhausted; & to Solicit your Attention to them in ordering them such Sums of Money as you Judge necessary, this is the Request of the whole, by whose desire I mention it.

John Hancock To: Certain States

Gentlemen,

Philada. July 16th. 1776.

Since I had the Honour of addressing you on the fourth of June, at which Time I transmitted sundry Resolves of Congress, requesting you to call forth your Militia, our Affairs have assumed a much more serious Complexion. If we turn our Attention towards the Northern Department, we behold an Army reduced by Sickness, and obliged to flee before an Enemy of vastly superior Force. If we cast our Eyes to Head Quarters, we see the British Army reinforced under Lord Howe, and ready to strike a Blow, which may be attended with the most fatal Consequences, if not timely resisted. The Situation of our Country at this Season, calls therefore for all the Vigour & Wisdom among us; and if we do not mean to desert her at this alarming Crisis, it is high Time to rouse every Spark of Virtue, and forgetting all inferiour Considerations, to exert ourselves in a Manner becoming Freemen.

The Intelligence received this day from General Washington, points out the absolute, the indispensible Necessity of sending forward all the Troops that can possibly be collected, to strengthen both the Army in New York, and that on this Side of Canada. I do therefore, once more, in the Name & by the Authority of Congress request & beseech you, as you regard the Liberties of your Country, and the Happiness of Posterity; and as you stand engaged by the most solemn Ties of Honour, to support the Common Cause, to strain every Nerve to send forward your Militia, agreeably to the former Requisitions of Congress. This is a Step of such infinite Moment, that, in all Human Probability, it will be the Salvation of America. And as it is the only effectual Step that can possibly be taken at this Juncture, you will suffer me again, most ardently to entreat your speedy Compliance with it.

In short, the critical Period is arrived, that will seal the Fate, not only of ourselves, but of Posterity. Whether they shall arise the generous Heirs of Freedom, or the dastardly Slaves of imperious Task-Masters, it is in your Power now to determine: and as Freemen, I am sure, you will not hesitate a Moment, about the Choice.

I have the Honour to be, Gentlemen &c,J. H. Prest.

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