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Letter from Colonel Easton to the President of Congress



[Read May 9, 1776, and referred to Mr˙ McKean, Mr˙ Adams, and Mr˙ Wythe.]

Philadelphia, May 8, 1776.

HONOURABLE SIR: I beg leave to give you the trouble of this. I have been in jail three weeks, and having no prospect of being set at liberty, I now humbly apply to your Honour, having no friends to assist me in this part of the world. I am sued for fifteen hundred pounds, York currency, and I owe my creditors about nine hundred pounds more, York currency. I have due two thousand pounds, lawful money. My creditors have a landed security of what I value at three thousand pounds, lawful money. In several letters they have received from me since I came to this place, I have offered my land and my outstanding debts at an honest appraisal; in short, I have done everything in my power to get a settlement, but have heard nothing from them. There is no such thing as obliging people to pay their debts in the Massachusetts, by the resolves of the honourable Congress.

I ought to be on my way to Canada: the settlement with the Commissioners appointed by Congress requires it;


a settlement of my regimental accounts of five captains still in the service at Canada, and getting the stores and vessels taken by the regiment appraised, the court of inquiry to be holden there in regard to Major Brown and myself, and many other important matters, all urge it; in short, I am in pain to see the event of Quebeck.

I have, with my one hundred and fifty men at the Sorel, taken more for the Continent, on board Prescott' s savage fleet, than three times over to pay all my debts, viz: one thousand eight hundred and thirty-five barrels of provisions, including three hundred and sixty-five firkins of butter, at sixty shillings per barrel, amounting to five thousand five hundred and five pounds. The eleven sail of vessels were of no small advantage to the Continent in transporting General Montgomery' s Army to Quebeck; not to mention smaller matters, but not to forget Ticonderoga. May not my honour be taken till I can go to New-York, and try to settle my affairs, and if I cannot do it to return to jail again? I understand Savage Prescott is gone off on a parole. His Excellency General Washington was pleased to observe, in a letter I laid before the honourable Committee on my affairs, at the City Tavern, that I had merited from the publick, though I am accused by General Arnold. I live in the faith that it is in the power of the honourable Congress to relieve me, consistent with their true dignity; and believe they will at any rate, as I think they cannot be losers by me.

Honoured sir, please to use (if it is not inconsistent) your influence to liberate the unhappy man, when it can be of no advantage to any creditor to keep me here. I humbly beg your counsel in the matter.

I am, sir, with great esteem, your Honour' s most obedient, humble servant,


To the Honourable John Hancock, Esq.

Philadelphia, May 8, 1776.