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Tuesday, April 9, 1776.
Present in Council: Honourable James Otis, Benjamin Greenleaf, Walter Spooner, Caleb Cushing, Joseph Gerrish, John Whetcomb, Eldad Taylor, Benjamin Lincoln, Charles Chauncy, Michael Farley, Joseph Palmer, Samuel Holten, Moses Gill, and Benjamin White, Esquires.
Ordered, That Mr. Starkweather be excused from any further attendance on the Committee appointed to examine the Rolls of the Minute-men and Sea-Coast Men; and that Mr. Hobart, Colonel Coffin, and Captain Hayden, be on the Committee in the room of Mr. Starkweather, Mr. Turner, and Mr. Rawson.
Ordered, That Colonel Godfrey be of the Committee on his Excellency General Washingtons Instructions to General Ward, in the room of Mr. Speaker, excused.
Resolved, That there be paid out of the publick Treasury of this State, to Richard Thissell, the sum of four Pounds four Shillings, in full discharge of what his Son lost at the battle of Bunkers Hill.
Deposition of Dr. John Warren, who testifies and says: That on or about the 29th day of March last past, went into the Work-House of the Town of Boston, lately improved as an Hospital by the British troops stationed in said town, and upon examining into the state of a large quantity of Medicine there by them left, (particularly in one room, supposed to have been by them used as a medicinal storeroom,) he found a great variety of medicinal articles lying upon the floor, some of which were contained and secured in papers, whilst others were scattered upon the floor loose. Amongst these medicines observed small quantities of what he supposed was white and yellow arsenick intermixed; and then received information from Dr. Samuel Scott, that he had taken up a large quantity of said arsenick, from over and amongst the medicine, and had collected it chiefly in large lumps, and secured it in a vessel. Upon receiving this information, desired him to let him view the arsenick; with which he complied, and judge it to amount to about the quantity of twelve or fourteen pounds. Being much surprised by this extraordinary intelligence, he more minutely examined the medicine on the floor, and found them to be chiefly capital articles, and those most generally in great demand; and judging them to be rendered entirely unfit for use, he advised Dr. Scott to let them remain, and by no means meddle with them, as he thought the utmost hazard would attend the using them. They were accordingly suffered to remain, and no account was taken of them.
Read, and Ordered, That the above Deposition be committed to Samuel Holten, Esq., with Mr. Whiting and Mr. Freeman.
The Committee appointed to consider what Fortifications are necessary to be made for the security of the Harbour of Boston, beg leave to report: That the Forts upon the Heights of Dorchester-Neck have not one cannon left. It is thought that there ought to be field-pieces or small cannon in both of them. The works upon the point of Dorchester, next the Castle, are planned too large for present use; but it is supposed that three small batteries erected there, of three or four cannon each, may greatly annoy the enemys ships in their passage up the channel to Boston, and will also secure the communication between said point and Castle-Island; upon which Island it is thought by some Engineers that there ought to be six or eight cannon, upon the highest point of it, pointed in such manner as most effectually to rake the channel, and prevent ships of the enemy from coming up. Upon Fort-Hill, in Boston, is a fort laid out, upon which are four pieces of cannon, mounted; two others are brought to the foot of the Hill. The fort appears to be well constructed, and eight or ten pieces of heavy cannon are thought sufficient for it. The enemys works at the Hay Market Fortification and the Brick Kilns ought to be demolished as soon as possible, and the pickets, timber, plank, platforms, &c., saved for our own use. The platforms may be saved whole, and floated to any of the Islands or Dorchester-Point, for our use. Many cannon, &c., are said to be upon wharves, in stores, &c., in Boston; which ought to be collected, examined, and proved. There are Barracks belonging to the Continent, which may be appraised and taken for Colonial use.
The 8th instant, a boat belonging to the enemy chased two of our boats up nearly to Noddles Island, in full daylight; and there is reason to suspect that they have been up in the night very near to the Town of Boston. This conduct seems to demand an immediate water guard by night.
It is also thought by some of the Engineers that hulks ought to be immediately sunk in the channel; and they may be raised again when the fortifications are finished. It is likewise thought best that there should be two or three pieces of cannon, with a proper breastwork, immediately placed upon the south end of Noddles Island, before the lower works are finished. This, with two or three armed vessels within the harbour, will probably intimidate the enemy, otherwise they will grow bold and impudent.
From the consideration of the premises, it is moved that this representation be laid before the Committee upon the state of the Colony, and that they be desired to consider whether the publick may not be greatly served by the appointment of an officer to direct and superintend the demolition of the works to be demolished, and preserve the materials that may be useful to us; also to direct and superintend the erecting such works, in such manner, as may be ordered; and also to collect, examine, and prove, such cannon, &c., as may from time to time be discovered, and to make weekly returns to this Court of his doings in these premises: Provided that nothing be done herein which may interfere with the orders given to the Continental General for the time being, commanding upon this department.
Read, and committed to the Committee on the state of the Colony.
Whereas it is apprehended that some of the inhabitants of this Colony may be induced, from a regard to their own interest, to employ their vessels the ensuing season in the business of fishing; and in order to avoid the inconveniences they may be exposed to by an act of Parliament, prohibiting all manner of trade and commerce with the United Colonies, and declaring forfeited all such vessels and cargoes, &c., as shall be taken belonging to the same, may make over the property of their vessels to some inhabitants of Nova-Scotia: To the intent, therefore, that no inhabitant of this Colony may unwarily go into such a method of conduct,
It is Resolved, That if any inhabitant of this Colony shall, upon any pretence whatever, transfer his property in any vessel to an inhabitant of the Province of Nova-Scotia, he will thereby violate a Resolve of the Congress prohibiting all intercourse with the inhabitants of that Province, and of course may expect to be obliged to submit to the pains and penalties due to such an offence.
Adjourned to nine oclock, to-morrow morning.
Wednesday, April 10, 1776.
Present in Council: Honourable James Otis, Benjamin Greenleaf, Walter Spooner, Caleb Cushing, Joseph Gerrish, John Whetcomb, Jedediah Foster, Eldad Taylor, Benjamin Lincoln, Charles Chauncy, Michael Farley, Joseph Palmer, Samuel Holten, Moses Gill, Benjamin White, Esquires.
Whereas, it is represented that sundry persons have procured, and are now using means to procure from without this Colony, quantities of Saltpetre, or the materials therefor, partly wrought, with a view to receive from the Treasury of this Colony the price and premium promised for such as should be manufactured within this Colony; wherefore, for the prevention of any such fraudulent practices and impositions taking place,
It is Resolved, That all such persons as are, or may be appointed by the General Court, to receive and pay for Saltpetre, manufactured within this Colony, be directed, and they hereby are directed, not to receive and pay for any quantity that may be brought to them respectively for the use of the Colony, until the person or persons bringing the same shall take an oath, which the person or persons appointed to receive the same as aforesaid are hereby authorized to administer, agreeably to the form following, viz: You, A B, do solemnly swear that no part of the Saltpetre now presented by you, was extracted from materials in any measure wrought in any place from without this Colony; but that the process of the manufacture of the whole thereof was begun, carried on, and finished within the limits of this Colony. So help you God.
Resolved, That there be paid out of the publick Treasury of this Colony, to the Selectmen of New-Braintree, the sum of twenty-three Pounds fifteen Shillings, in full of their Account for Provisions supplied the Army.