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Letter from the Council of Massachusetts to the President of Congress. It is the prevailing opinion that the number required of Massachusetts for reinforcing the Army in Canada and New-York, is, considering their present circumstances and condition, more than their proportion


[Read July 2, 1776.]

Watertown, June 26, 1776.

SIR: Your several letters of the 4th and 11th instant, together with the resolutions of Congress for raising a number of men for reinforcing the Army in Canada and New-York, have been communicated to the General Court, and duly attended to. It is the prevailing opinion here that the number required of this Colony was, considering our circumstances and present situation, more than our proportion. Out of the seventeen regiments raised within this Colony, twelve of those most complete were ordered this spring to New-York, together with the very best of our arms; besides which, one regiment was sent the last winter from this Colony to Canada, under the command of Colonel Porter. We have a very great extent of sea-coast, which lays this Government under the necessity of being at a vast expense in keeping a great number of men in pay to defend it. We have a formidable fleet and army in our neighbourhood, which in a day or two may invade the Colony; notwithstanding which, the General Court have been so thoroughly convinced of the necessity of the measure recommended by Congress, that they have with cheerfulness and alacrity voted to raise, from the Militia on the alarm and training-band list of the several towns in the Colony, five thousand men, to reinforce and cooperate with the Continental troops in Canada and New-York; and for encouragement have voted that there shall be paid to each non-commissioned officer and private soldier destined for New-York the sum of three pounds. They are to furnish themselves with a good fire-arm and bayonet, or instead of a bayonet a hatchet or tomahawk, a cartouch-box, knapsack, and blanket; and the Court have voted to allow them the further sum of six shillings for the use of their arms, and twelve shillings to purchase a blanket, and also one month' s advance pay on their passing muster and being equipped as aforesaid. The Court were very averse to granting a bounty, but apprehended the men could not be obtained without it, especially as they found the Colonies of Connecticut and New-Hampshirehave done the like with regard to the men to be raised by them. In short, the Court have been so solicitous to take effectual measures to obtain the men designed for Canada and New-York, that they have not had the opportunity to take care of themselves, and to pursue the necessary measures for raising the two regiments granted by Congress for the defence of this Government; however, this matter will now immediately be attended to. The money the honourable Congress have sent to be exchanged for silver and gold and to enable us to raise the two regiments designed for the defence of this Government has been received by the Treasurer of this Colony. Your letter accompanying the same is now under the consideration of the House. The General Court had, previous to their reception of the resolution of Congress prohibiting the exportation of provisions, passed a resolve for that purpose, to be in force until the 10th day of November next.

I am, sir, in the name and by order of the Council, your most obedient humble servant,


To the Honourable John Hancock, Esq.