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Letter from the President of Congress to General Washington



Philadelphia, July 10, 1776.

SIR: The enclosed letter from Mr˙ Ephraim Andersen, I am directed to transmit by order of Congress. As Mr˙ Anderson appears to be an ingenious man, and proposes to destroy the British fleet at New York, the Congress are willing to give him an opportunity of trying the experiment, and have therefore thought proper to refer him to you. The event only can show whether his scheme is visionary or practicable.

Should it be attended with success, (and the very chance of it is sufficient to justify the attempt,) the infinite service to the Americun States arising therefrom cannot be described; or should it fail, our situation will be in every respect the same as before.

Many things seem highly probable in speculation which, however, cannot be reduced to practice. And on the other hand, experiment has shown that many things are extremely practicable which our most accurate reasonings had taught us to believe were impossible.

I have the honour to be, sir, with the greatest respect, your most obedient and very humble servant,
JOHN HANCOCK, President.

To His Excellency General Washington, at New York.