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Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Committee to the President of Congress



[Read December 27, 1775.]

Lancaster, December 21, 1775.

SIR: The Committee of Correspondence of this County have received your letter of the 18th instant, enclosing certain resolutions of the honourable Congress, respecting the disposition of the officers and privates, who are prisoners here.

We beg leave to mention to you, that in consequence of the directions transmitted to us, the officers met us this morning, and having perused your resolve, requesting some time to determine on their respective places of residence, this indulgence we thought ourselves bound to grant upon their entreaty. We have taken their parole for the present, and now enclose the same to you.

They complain greatly of a separation from their soldiers, as a breach of General Schuyler' s solemn engagement, and that they cannot remove from hence until their baggage, with the men' s clothing, and the pay of the troops, come up. They say that justice cannot be done to the privates, with respect to their pay in arrear, unless the officers are upon the spot to make the proper settlements. The soldiers also express great uneasiness about their clothing and pay, if their officers are removed from them. Of these matters we conceive it our duty not to judge, but strictly to conform to your orders. The want of warm clothing for the soldiers (of which they are in great need) is still one of the objects of their complaint, but on this head we referred them to Major Preston. The gentlemen of the Seventh Regiment tell us, they have reason to believe that the Major is to furnish clothing for the Twenty-Sixth Regiment alone.

The letter we had the favour of receiving from Messrs˙ Lynch and Lewis informed us, that Mr˙ David Franks had engaged to supply the troops with provisions. We are at a loss to know to what fund our barrackmaster must apply for the payment of the articles of wood, candles, bedding, and blankets, and the implements of the cooking, absolutely necessary for the prisoners here.

We request your directions, whether in case any of the officers should incline to draw bills for any money necessary for their accommodation and subsistence, the inhabitants shall be at liberty to advance their cash, and take their bills; or whether this shall be considered as an infraction of the former resolution of Congress. The officers have requested to be informed by us, whether any provision is to be made for their future subsistence. We look up to you for an answer.

The general outlines of the duties of our department being made known unto us, we shall endeavour to conform minutely to them. In such matters, wherein circumstances may make it necessary to exercise our own judgment, we hoped in no instance to deviate essentially from the system of the honourable Congress.

By order of the Committee:


To the Honourable John Hancock, Esq.