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Letter from the President of Congress to Commodore Hopkins: Congress requires him to repair to Philadelphia immediately, to give explanations of his conduct, and to answer complaints made against him



Philadelphia, June 14, 1776.

SIR: Notwithstanding the repeated efforts and solicitations of the Marine Board to put the Continental ships upon a respectable footing, and to have them employed in the service for which they were originally designed, they are constrained to say that their efforts and solicitations have been frustrated and neglected in a manner unaccountable to them; and in support of their own reputation they have been under the necessity of representing the state of their Navy to Congress, and have informed them that there has been a great neglect in the execution of their orders; and that many and daily complaints are exhibited to them against some of the officers of the ships, and that great numbers of officers and men have left the ships in consequence of ill usage, and have applied to the Marine Board for redress. These, with many other circumstances, have induced the Congress to direct you to repair to this city. And in consequence of their authority to me, I hereby direct you, immediately on receipt of this, to repair to the city of Philadelphia, and on your arrival here to give notice to me as President of the Marine Board. The command of the ships will, of course, devolve, in your absence, upon the eldest officer, to whom you will give the command, with this direction, however, that he take no steps with respect to the ships until further orders. And I further inform you that, by this opportunity, I write to Captains Saltonstall and Whipple immediately to repair to this city.

As your conduct in many instances requires explanation, you will of course be questioned with respect to your whole proceedings since you left this city. I give you this notice that you may come prepared to answer for your general conduct. You will bring with you all the instructions you have hitherto received from the Naval or Marine Board, all letters and papers relative to the fleet, and your proceedings,


journals, state of all the ships, those in and out of port, state of the stores of every kind, provisions, list of the effective and non-effective men, and, in short, everything relative to the ships under your command.

As your presence is immediately necessary here, I again repeat that, on receipt of this, and as soon as you can prepare, you proceed by land to this city, here to await the further orders of Congress.

I am, sir, your very humble servant,

JOHN HANCOCK, President.

To Esek Hopkins, Esq˙, commanding the Continental ships at Newport or elsewhere.