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Committee of Conference with the Commander-in-Chief to the President of Congress



[Read November 1, 1775.]

Cambridge, October 24, 1775.

SIR: We arrived at this place on the 15th, and should have proceeded immediately to perform the duty imposed by the Congress, but the President of the Congress of New-Hampshire was detained, by the illness of his family, from attending. After waiting two days for him, it was determined to call in General Sullivan to represent that Colony. The President joined us next day, and we have been constantly employed in the consideration of the many important matters with which we are charged, all of which we hope will be finished to-day.

We enclose you a copy of the several determinations of this meeting, on those heads on which the Governours of Rhode-Island and Connecticut, the Council of this Province, the President of the Congress of New-Hampshire, together with the General, were directed to be consulted; by which you will see that they were unanimously of opinion, not only that any reduction of pay was absolutely impracticable, but that a bare proposal of this nature would cause such discontents, if not mutinies, as would, perhaps, prove the ruin of the Army. We are sorry to find this opinion too much confirmed by the difficulty that occurs in prevailing on the troops of Connecticut to enlist for the month of December only, according to the directions of Congress.

Under these circumstances, we thought it our duty to consent that the General should immediately proceed to a new enlistment of the present Army for the next year, without waiting for the directions of Congress, being convinced, by the opinion not only of the gentlemen we were directed to consult, but of every officer we conversed with on the subject, that every moment' s delay was big with danger. We have, however, reserved, in the terms of the new enlistment, a right in Congress to disband at pleasure, without mentioning the month' s additional pay, voted the


soldiers in case they had enlisted at five Dollars per month.

Last night we received the melancholy account of the burning the Town of Falmouth by some ships, sent for that purpose by Admiral Graves, the commanding officer of which declared he had orders to destroy every sea-port between that and Boston. It is easy to conceive what effects this must produce in this camp; every soldier who came from Falmouth insisting on leave to go and take care of his family, and to find a place for them, where they may be covered from the inclemency of the approaching winter. Indeed, it is too reasonable a request to be refused. Should the same fate fall to the share of many such Towns, it is easy to foretell what must happen to the Army, especially should it happen before the new Army is enlisted. This, we hope, will not only excuse our conduct, but induce Congress to hasten their determinations upon this matter.

One more reason for despatch is, that men may much more probably enlist before, than after, they feel the hardships of a winter campaign.

Upon examining the journals of Assembly, it appears that the men raised in the years 1758 and 1759, by this Colony, received fourteen Pounds bounty, and had thirty-six Shillings per month, pay, which, as their engagements were for six months only, was much higher terms than the present, when no other bounty is allowed than a coat to each man.

We are, with great respect, Sir, your most obedient,

To the Hon˙ John Hancock, Esq˙, President of the Continental Congress at Philadelphia.