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John Hancock to General Washington



Philadelphia, January 29, 1776.

SIR: The Congress have received your letter of the 19th instant, and highly commend your prudence and zeal, in applying to the Governments of New-Hampshire, Massachusetts-Bay, and Connecticut, to raise forces for the service of Canada at this exigency. They have fond hopes, by the zeal and alacrity of those Colonies, troops will be forwarded with such expedition as will not only succour our friends, but in some measure retrieve our loss, and put us in possession of Quebeck before our enemies can receive reinforcements.

The Congress have agreed to add the Massachusetts Regiment to the forces they at first destined for Canada; this is the more necessary, as it is now uncertain whether two battalions, as was expected, can be raised out of the troops in that country; but they do not, by this, mean to weaken your Army. They have, therefore, ordered that


the three regiments you applied for from Massachusetts-Bay, New-Hampshire, and Connecticut, shall be exclusive of the thirteen wanted for the Army at Cambridge.

By the latest advices from England, it appears that Administration are determined to exert themselves, and send a considerable force against us next Spring, though, at the same time, they pretend to say that they will offer terms of accommodation, and mean only, by their armament, to enforce their terms. It behooves us, therefore, to be ready to receive them; for, should an accommodation take place, the terms will be severe, or favourable, in proportion to our ability to resist.

The Congress highly approve your sending General Lee to the assistance of New-York, as a measure judicious and necessary, and have also appointed three of their body to repair to New-York, and confer with General Lee and the Committee of Safety of New-York, on the subject of putting that Colony in a posture of defence.

General Prescott arrived here last Thursday, and is this day ordered into close confinement in the jail of this city. I must beg leave to refer you to the enclosed resolutions.

I send, by this express, commissions for the Massachusetts battalion, and the money ordered, to the Assembly.

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

JOHN HANCOCK, President.

To His Excellency General Washington.