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Massachusetts Congress to Stephen Hopkins



Watertown, April 29, 1775.

SIR: The above is a copy of an Order and Letter which passed this Congress yesterday, since which we have received from Boston copies of sundry Votes of that Town to Gen˙ Gage, upon the subject of a license, for the inhabitants to remove with their effects into the country; and by his answers it appears that he has consented to suffer such inhabitants as have inclination therefor, to leave the place with their effects, excepting fire-arms, which are to be delivered at Faneuil Hall, to the Selectmen of the Town, and the name of the owner to be placed on them; and the General expects, on the other hand, a Proclamation from Congress, giving liberty to all inhabitants of the Colony having inclination therefor, to remove, with all their effects, into Boston. Some of the inhabitants have, already left the Town, by permission of the General; and under these circumstances, should we issue the Order which has passed in Congress, it may put a stop to this unexpected favourable event, and prevent the emancipation of many thousands of friends to America. We nevertheless propose to detain the prisoners of war; and if the General should not forfeit his plighted faith, to use all expedition in getting out the families and effects of our friends from Boston, that we may be at liberty to use our prisoners, and every other means in our power, for the release of Mr˙ Brown, as was intended. We have just heard that the passages to and from Boston are again stopped; but the occasion of this extraordinary manoeuvre, we cannot yet learn.

We are, with great respect, &c.

To the Honourable S˙ Hopkins, Esq˙, of Providence.