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Resolve in consequence of General Washinton' s Letter respecting Desertion from the Army



Moses Gill, Esq˙, brought down from the Board the Resolve of the Committee of both Houses, in consequence of General Washington' s Letter respecting desertion from the Army.

"In council, August 13,1775.

"Whereas it is made evident to this Court, that many Non-Commissioned Officers and Soldiers, belonging to the Continental Army, do absent themselves from their duty, and that there is great reason to believe divers of them are employed in their own private business while they are drawing pay from the publick, and all the measures hitherto used have been, ineffectual to prevent such base and pernicious practices: Therefore, in order to reform this mischief and abuse,

"It is Resolved, That the Committees of Correspondence for the several Towns in this Colony, and the Selectmen, where such Committees are not chosen, be and hereby are directed and enjoined to make careful and diligent inquiry, from time to time, whether there be any Non-Commissioned Officers or Soldiers, within their respective Towns, belonging to the said Army; and if any such shall be found, that they bring them to a strict and impartial examination, upon what account they left the Army, by whose leave, and for what time; and to require all such as have no furloughs, or whose furloughs are out, and have no real impediment of sickness, to return to their duty immediately; and in case they neglect it, that such Committees or Selectmen do, without fail or delay, send an account of their names, the Company and Regiment to which they belong, and the places where they are lurking, to his Excellency General Washington, that such infamous deserters and defrauders of the publick may not go unpunished. And it is strongly recommended to all the inhabitants of this Colony to be aiding and assisting to their said Committees and Selectmen in the execution of this Resolve, and that they by no means countenance, harbour, or conceal, but, on the other hand, give information of all such delinquents to the said Committees or Selectmen; and also to the said Committees and Selectmen, that they be vigilant and faithful in the discharge of this trust.

"To the Committee of Correspondence in the Town of ˙ .

"And his Excellency General Washington is hereby requested to give orders that the foregoing Resolve be posted up in such publick places in the Camps as to him shall seem proper, that the soldiery of the Army may be excited to take into their consideration the baseness, fraud, and villany of the abovementioned practice; that they may thereby be made sensible that every one who shall be guilty thereof will greatly disparage himself, become justly contemptible, and deserving of severe punishment, and wholly forfeit the respectable character of an American Volunteer.

"Ordered, That the foregoing Resolve be printed in


Handbills, and directed to the Committees of Correspondence or Selectmen in the several Towns in this Colony, and that fifty copies thereof be sent to General Washington. Also, that a Committee be appointed to procure the printing the said Handbills, to direct the printer as to number, and to superscribe them to the several Towns, &c. That the following Letter to General Washington accompany the said copies, viz:

"Watertown, August 13, 1775.

"SIR: The enclosed Handbills will sufficiently serve to satisfy your Excellency that the General Court fully concur with you in your opinion of the importance and necessity of the utmost exertions for the reformation of the infamous practices mentioned in your Letter of the 7th instant, directed to the President of the honourable Board, and also of the readiness of the General Court to co-operate with you in every measure tending to remedy the mischief therein complained of."

Read and concurred.

Ordered, That Colonel Freeman, Major Hallet, and Colonel Thompson, be a Committee to see to the printing this Resolve in Handbills, and sending it to the several Towns in the Colony, and that fifty copies thereof be sent to General Washington.

The House then adjourned till to-morrow morning, eight o' clock.