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of defending New-York; but as they conceive this may be done by the means pointed out, they would not have the measures interrupted which are taken for accomplishing their views in Canada. I have it, therefore, in command, to direct you to order the troops destined for Canada to proceed on their march agreeably to their former orders.

I have the honour to be, my Lord, your Lordship’s most obedient humble servant,

JOHN HANCOCK, President.

To the Right Honourable Lord Stirling, at New-York.

The enclosed letter for Governour Trumbull, I beg the favour you will immediately forward to him by a fresh express, and return to me the man I send to you as soon as your despatches are ready.


Philadelphia, March 15, 1776.

SIR: The intelligence received from sundry quarters puts it beyond a doubt that the Ministry have their eyes upon New-York, and mean by their troops to make a diversion there. Whether this will be done by General Howe, or by forces coming from Britain, is uncertain. But as that is a place of great importance, the Congress are anxious to devise means for its defence. For this purpose, they have ordered a number of battalions to be raised; but for want of the supplies expected from abroad, those that are raised are very deficient in arms. Measures, however, are taking to procure arms for them in another way. In the mean time, (lest an attack should be made before our forces are prepared to receive them, or in case the enemy should come with a superior force,) the Congress have thought it prudent to empower the Continental commander at New-York to call in the aid of the Militia from that and the neighbouring Colonies. And I have it in command, to request you, agreeably to the enclosed resolve, to hold your Militia in readiness to march in such numbers, and at such times, as he may desire.

The importance of the service, and the distinguished zeal you, sir, and the good people of your Colony, have discovered in this glorious struggle, give the strongest assurance that you will comply with this request, and exert your utmost efforts to repel our hostile invaders, and prevent them from gaining possession of a post from which they may so much annoy these Colonies.

I have the honour to be, with every sentiment of esteem, honourable sir, your very humble servant,

JOHN HANCOCK, President.

To the Honourable Governour Trumbull, at Lebanon, Connecticut.


Philadelphia, March 15, 1776.

MY LORD: I had the honour of writing to you this morning. Since the express set off, I have received your letter of the 14th, which was immediately communicated to Congress. In consequence of which, I have it in command to direct you to send forward the powder destined for Cambridge, unless you have received express advice from General Washington that the enemy’s fleet and army have quitted Boston, and sailed out of that harbour.

The five tons of powder which I mentioned in my letter of this morning, to be intended for the troops under your command, will be sent forward with all possible despatch.

I have the honour to be, my Lord, your Lordship’s obedient humble servant,

JOHN HANCOCK, President.

To Lord Stirling, at New-York.


Philadelphia, March 15, 1776.

MY DEAR GENERAL: This morning your express arrived, with an account of the interesting events which have taken place since this month began. I beg leave to congratulate you on appearances so favourable to the interests of our country, and your own character; not that, in my opinion, it was the least clouded by your inactivity, as the causes were well known; but it is certain that enterprise and success give a brilliance and lustre, which cannot be unacceptable to a good mind. We shall be very anxious for further accounts, as these have left you at a critical period of suspense, when we are led to expect some very important change may soon happen.

I shall be careful of your confidential account of your Council of War. I wish the event may prove me mistaken, but I am strongly possessed with an idea that some members of your Council never will concur in any measure which leads to danger; and I think you will make less and less use of them in that way every day you are with them.

Thomas, I presume you know, is made a Major-General, and ordered to Canada, where old Wooster was throwing everything into confusion, and a superior officer was necessary to keep the peace. I do not much like their thus taking away the men on whom you may most trust; but your camp is considered as a school, and I fear the service will require all their separated attention and ability. I wrote you before, that General Lee was ordered to Virginia, Armstrong to South-Carolina, and Thompson to New-York.

We have everything to fear from the southward: a cursed spirit of disaffection has appeared in the back parts of North and South-Carolina, which, if riot subdued before the forces arrive from England, will prove a most formidable piece of business, especially when connected with the hosts of Negroes in the lower part of the country. Instead of painting their strength and power of resistance in ostentatious terms, as is the fashion of some folks, the gentlemen of that country acknowledge their weakness, and dread the consequences. I am really concerned for old Armstrong; I think the climate will destroy him.

You have had much reason to think the Congress neglect your camp in the article of ammunition; but I hope by the time this reaches you, ten tons of our last importation will be in your camp. The vessel brought but three hundred stand of arms, but they are the best yet imported.

If Howe should leave Boston, we expect he will make for New-York; and, at all events, we look upon that as one of the scenes of the summer business: in the former case, I find it supposed you will move southward. By General Lee’s account, no dependance is to be put on their professions, and the late delegation from Congress came back with a very slender opinion of their conduct, which is timid and trimming to the greatest degree. I am glad you have informed me how the matter stood with the Connecticut men. I had no doubt but the step you took was founded upon necessity, which would justify the directing troops to be raised; but I found it gave an alarm to some folks, and I believe I hinted it in a former letter; but your state must, and, I doubt not, has given perfect satisfaction. I have thought it a duty I owe you to mention anything of this kind occurring, as your distance might otherwise prevent a suitable explanation.

Most of your camp equipage will be completed this week, or the beginning of next. I shall obey your commands with respect to the wagon and horses. There will be no difficulty about the money, should the Treasurer here have any scruples, as I shall advance it, and we can settle that when we meet. I had ordered the tables, and several other things which appeared to me to be necessary, though not in your order. I hope, when you see them, they will prove agreeable. I have consulted economy as much as I thought consistent with your rank and station. Most of our workmen are such strangers to these things that they are very slow and tedious. Two of the tents are finished, and the other just completed. I am never happier than when I am on your business, so that you may depend upon it that I shall spare no pains to have them done in the best manner, and forwarded with the greatest expedition.

The destruction of the mortars, is very extraordinary; there certainly must be some want of skill in the management of them.

I suppose old Putt was to command the detachment intended for Boston, on the 5th instant, as I do not know any officer but himself who could have been depended on for so hazardous a service. Should Howe decamp, I cannot say I should much regret that day’s passing over so quietly, as, if the troops had behaved well, there would have been a great loss; and, if ill, would have ruined your whole plan. We have some accounts from Virginia, that Colonel Henry has resigned in disgust at not being made a General

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