Primary tabs

Letters and Papers from the Massachusetts Congress


Mr˙ J˙ Hancock laid before the Congress a Letter from the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts-Bay, together with certain Resolutions formed by said Congress, and a copy of a Letter sent by said Congress to their Agent in England, and an Address to the Inhabitants of Great Britain on the late engagement between the Troops under Gen˙ Gage and the inhabitants of Massachusetts-Bay; also, a number of Depositions, duly attested, relative to the commencement of hostilities; all of which were read, and are as follow:

"In Provincial Congress, Watertown, May 3, 1775.

"To the Honourable AMERICAN Continental Congress, to be convened at PHILADELPHIA on the 10 th of MAY instant.

"MAY IT PLEASE YOUR HONOURS: The Congress of this Colony, impressed with the deepest concern for their Country, under the present critical and alarming state of its publick affairs, beg leave, with the utmost submission, whilst acting in support of the cause of America, to request the direction and assistance of your respectable Assembly.

"The enclosed packet, containing copies of the depositions which we have despatched for London, also an address to the inhabitants of Great Britain, and a letter to our Colony agent, Benjamin Franklin, esq˙, are humbly submitted to your consideration.

"The sanguinary zeal of the Ministerial Army to ruin and destroy the inhabitants of this Colony, in the opinion of this Congress hath rendered the establishment of an Army indispensably necessary; we have accordingly passed an unanimous resolve for thirteen thousand six hundred men


to be forthwith raised by this Colony; and proposals are made by us to the Congress of New-Hampshire, and Governments of Rhode-Island and Connecticut Colonies, for furnishing men in the same proportion.

"The sudden exigency of our publick affairs precluded the possibility of waiting for your direction in these important measures; more especially as a considerable re-enforcement from Great Britain is daily expected in this Colony, and we are now reduced to the sad alternative of defending ourselves by arms, or submitting to be slaughtered.

"With the greatest deference, we beg leave to suggest, that a powerful Army, on the side of America, hath been considered by this Congress as the only means left to stem the rapid progress of a tyrannical Ministry. Without a force superiour to our enemies, we must reasonably expect to become the victims of their relentless fury. With such a force, we may still have hopes of seeing an immediate end put to the inhuman ravages of mercenary troops in America, and the wicked authors of our miseries brought to condign punishment, by the just indignation of our brethren in Great Britain.

"We hope that this Colony will at all times be ready to spend and be spent in the cause of America. It is, nevertheless, a misfortune greatly operating to its disadvantage, that it has a great number of seaport Towns, exposed to the approach of the enemy by sea; from many of which the inhabitants have removed, and are removing their families and effects, to avoid destruction from ships of war. These, we apprehend, will be generally distressed from want of subsistence, and disabled from contributing aid for


supporting the forces of the Colony; but we have the greatest confidence in the wisdom and ability of the Continent to support us, so far as it shall appear necessary for supporting the common cause of the American Colonies.

"We also enclose several Resolves for empowering
and directing our Receiver-General to borrow the sum of one hundred thousand Pounds, lawful money, and to issue his notes for the same; it being the only measure which we could have recourse to, for supporting our forces. And we request your assistance in rendering our measures effectual, by giving our notes a currency through the Continent.

"JOSEPH WARREN, President pro tem."



† See folio 489, 501.

‡ See folio 487.

§ See folio 488.