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Letter from the. President of Congress to General Thomas



Philadelphia, May 24, 1776.

SIR: You will perceive by the enclosed resolutions of Congress, which I do myself the honour of transmitting, and to which I beg leave to refer your attention, that Canada, in their opinion, is an object of the last importance to the welfare of the United Colonies.

Should our troops retire before the enemy, and entirely evacuate that Province, it is not in human wisdom to foretell the consequences. In this case the loss of Canada will not be all; the whole frontiers of the New-England and New-York Governments will be exposed, not only to the ravages of the Indians, but also of the British forces, not less savage and barbarous in the prosecution of the present war. In this view of the matter, it is needless to employ arguments


to excite you to the greatest vigour and diligence on this occasion.

The Congress having tried every method to collect hard money for the Army in Canada, without success, are determined not to relinquish the expedition or give it up. They have therefore resolved to supply our troops there with provisions and clothing from the other Colonies, if they cannot be had in that country; of which resolution I sent this morning an account to General Schuyler, accompanied with several other resolutions, with regard to the situation of affairs in that quarter. Upon the whole, it seems, from the latest intelligence, that nothing but the greatest exertions of capacity and vigour will ever retrieve our misfortunes in Canada. The eyes of the Continent are upon you. Display, therefore, I entreat you, for your own honour and the good of your country, those military qualities which you certainly possess. There are still laurels to be acquired in Canada, which I have the most pleasing hope are reserved for you, as the command of the expedition is now given to you.

I have nothing further to add, but that I am commanded by Congress to direct you will carry the enclosed resolves into execution as speedily as possible.

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

JOHN HANCOCK, President.

To Major-General Thomas, Canada.