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Letter from General Washington to the President of Congress



New York, August 13, 1776.

SIR: As there is reason to believe that but little time will elapse before the enemy make their attack, I have thought it advisable to remove all the papers in my hands respecting the affaire of the States from this place. I hope the event will show the precaution was unnecessary, but yet prudence required that it should be done, lest by any accident they might fall into their hands. They are all contained in a large box, nailed up, and committed to the care of Lieutenant-Colonel Reed, brother to the Adjutant-General, to be delivered to Congress, in whose custody I would beg leave to deposite them until our affairs shall be so circumstanced as to admit of their return.

The enemy, since my letter of yesterday, have received a further augmentation of thirty-six ships to their fleet, making the whole that have arrived since yesterday morning ninety-six.

I have the honour to be, with great respect, sir, your most obedient servant,

To the Hon˙ John Hancock, Esq.

P˙ S. I would observe, that I have sent off the box privately, that it might raise no disagreeable ideas, and have enjoined Colonel Reed to secrecy.
G˙ W.