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Massachusetts Assembly



Colony of the Massachusetts-Bay,
Watertown, August 10, 1775.

The Committee of both Houses of Assembly, appointed to take into consideration a letter from his Excellency General Washington, with one enclosed from Gen˙ Greene representing that one Captain Thomas Cowden, of Fitchburgh,


hath been soliciting an office in the Army of the United Colonies raised for the defence of American liberty, and that he hath invariably opposed every measure pursued for the restoration of our violated privileges; especially when the veins of our heroiok countrymen were inhumanly opened at Lexington and Concord, he exerted himself in preventing that succour and relief which justice immediately called for; having taken said letters, and the evidences exhibited against him into consideration, and given the said Cowden a fair hearing in defence, do find it clearly proved, that the said Cowden hath heretofore been a constant opposer of the publick measures taken for the security of our violated rights, so far as he conveniently could, whereby he hath forfeited the affection and confidence of his Town, and they have justly considered him as inimical to his Country. And notwithstanding he professes a full conviction of his pan errours and misconduct, the most sincere contrition for the same, a hearty friendship for his Country, willingness to risk life and fortune in its defence, humbly implores forgiveness of the General Assembly and his Country, and in the most solemn manner promises amendment and reformation, the sincerity of which hath of late in some measure been evidenced by an apparent friendly exertion with his countrymen, and a kind entertainment of the soldiery, and especially by discovering a great abhorrence of and indignation against that grand deceiver and betrayer of his Country, whose name and letters are equally execrated by all good men; yet the absolute necessity of taking the most effectual care that the Army be supplied with no officer but of known integrity and well approved friendship for the liberties of this Country, as well as of martial abilities and good courage, induce us to forbear recommending him as a person at present fit to be entrusted with a commission in the service.

Nevertheless, we humbly apprehend the voluntary confession by himself made, subscribed, and herewith exhibited, his solemn engagements to behave well for the future, and his late kindness to the soldiery, being some evidence of a reformation, render it safe and proper that he should be released from his present confinement, and allowed to return to his family and estate in peace, and that he ought, and hereby is recommended to the forgiveness and protection of his countrymen. And that a copy of this Report be given to said Cowden for his own security against the further resentment of the publick for his past offences, and that he have leave to publish the same, with his confession, if he sees fit, and that a copy thereof be sent to his Excellency General Washington in answer to his letter.