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Letter from General Washington to the President of Congress



Cambridge, December 25, 1775.

SIR: I had the honour to address myself to you the 19th instant, since which I have received undoubted information, that the genuine instructions give to Connolly have not readied your hands, that they are very artfully concealed in the tree of his saddle, and covered with canvass so nicely, that they are scarcely discernable; that those which were found upon him are intended to deceive, if he were caught. You will most certainly have his saddle taken to pieces in order to discover this deep laid plot.

Enclosed is a copy of General Howe' s letter in answer to the one I wrote him the 18th instant; the conduct I am to observe towards Brigadier Prescott, in consequence of these letters, the Congress will oblige me by determining for me.

The gentlemen by whom you sent the money are arrived; the sum they brought, though large, is not sufficient to answer the demands of the Army, which at this time are remarkably heavy. There are three months' pay due, one month' s advance, two dollars for each blanket, the arms which are left by those who are dismissed to be paid for, besides the demands which are on the Commissary and Quartermaster-Generals. You will, therefore, see the necessity of another remittance, which I beg may be as soon as you conveniently can. I will take the opportunity of the return of those gentlemen, to send Colonel Kirkland to you for examination, and that you may dispose of him as to you may seem proper.

A Committee from the General Court of this Province called on me the other day, informing me that they were in great want of ordnance for defence of the Colony; that if what belonged to them, now in use here, was kept for the Continent, they will be under the necessity of providing themselves with others; of course what is kept must be paid for. There are many of the cannon of very little use; such of them as are good I cannot at present part with.


Perhaps when I receive the supply from New-York and Canada, it may be in my power to spare them. Mr˙ Wadsworth has sent in his report respecting Cape-Cod harbour, a copy of which you will receive herewith ; also a letter received from a Mr˙ Jacob Bayley , put into my hands by Colonel Little; it contains some things that may not be unworthy the consideration of Congress.

We have made good progress in the works on Lechmere' s Point; they would have been finished ere this, but for the severity of the weather, which prevents our people from working.

I received a letter from Governour Cooke, which expresses the fears of the people of Rhode-Island, lest the ships, which we had information were sailed, with some troops on board, were destined for Newport; I sent Major-General Lee there, to point out to them such defence as he may think the place capable of. I sincerely wish he may be able to do it with effect, as that place, in its present state, is an asylum for such as are disaffected to American liberty.

Our returns of inlistments to this day amount to eight thousand five hundred men.

I have the honour to be, sir, your most obedient, humble servant,

To the Honourable John Hancock, Esq.

P˙ S. Enclosed is an estimate of the demands of the Army.