THOMAS CUSHING ALS TO JOHN HANCOCK, PRESIDENT OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS AT PHILADELPHIA, APRIL 22, 1776 three pages, Royal Crown watermark and 'WA' or 'AW' watermark, with docket written by John Hancock. Several notable figures of the time are mentioned in the letter: Commodore Esek Hopkins (Commander in Chief of the Continental Navy during the American Revolution, accomplished merchant captain and privateer), Master James Lovell (Massachusetts delegate to Continental Congress, signer of Articles of Confederation, and prisoner of the British), Dr. Joseph Warren (patriot, soldier and Massachusetts politician killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill, often considered the first martyr of the American Revolution), Mr. Perez Morton (lawyer and patriot best known for his oration on the reinterment of Dr. Warren, advocating independence from Great Britain);
Watertown April 22 - 1776
I have received your favours of the 3rd & 13th April. You must excuse me if I am not so particular with respect to news as you would wish. I have been so closely engaged of late that it has not been in my power, what with attending the General Courts and upon the Vessells I am building at Newbury port, I am so constably employed night as well as day, that I have hardly time to eat drink or sleep. I hope the cannon that Commodore Hopkins has lately taken will answer for ye ships, if they will, I wish they may be immediately forwarded to newbury port, for the ships will soon be ready. They go very briskly. I fear we shall wait for ye Cannon. I have no prospect of getting any at Providence or in this Colony. The cannon at Boston, it is said, will not do to melt down, it is apprehended they may be repaired so as to be useful for ye Forts. The General Courts have appointed a Committee to fortify the Town & Harbour of Boston, but the five regiments General Washington has left with us are not full & if they were, would not be sufficient for the purpose. I hope the congress will be so thoroughly convinced of the necessity of having this Harbour Effectually fortified and defended that they will order these regiments to be immediately filled up & direct the General to send us two or three more Regiments at least. I hope our Delegates will exert their pleas upon this occasion. we must have the Harbour fortified, our people think it will ..., that after they have been so harrassed & distressed they should have so few men left for their protection. Do get us what assistance you can from Congress: considering how much the ... Inhabitance of Boston have suffered during this contest, would it not be well for the Congress to order two or three ships of war to be sett up & Built in Boston. This would find Employ for the Inhabitants who have been so long Idle & for some Consolation to be under their afflictions and losses would it not be well for the Congress to fortify Boston and make it a place of Rendezvous for ye Continental navy? It would make one of the Securest Harbours upon the Continent. Most of the cannon belonging to ye Castle were left behind, others Spiked up or the F.... broke off. It is said they can be repaired & ... for use - The General Courts have appointed a Committee consisting of seven Justices to convene before them all such Tories (that are left in Boston) as have been Complained of as having designs to act or of having acted against the right of this or the other united Colonies, or of having in any measure aided abetted or assisted the Enemies of the united Colonies or either of them & when they are so concerned , the Justices are directed to Examine said persons & to consider the Evidence that may be procured & laid before them in the process & that they without delay safely ... all such persons which they may Judge have acted or are acting as Enemies, spies or parties to this and ye other Colonies, either by taking Bonds payable to the Treasury of our Colony for their good behavior, or their appearance at some Court proper to try them, or by causing them to be committed, as the nature & aggravation of their several crimes may admit or not admit of Bail, or the Apprehensions of Danger to ye Public from their going at large may require. You must have been informed before this reaches you that Master Lovell with the other prisoners was carried off by the Troops, that they have not carried off the Bells as was reported. considerable merchandize is left. we have found four or five Tons of sulphur in Boston. The provincial records, the Records of the Superior Court of ... sessions are all safe. The Records of Deeds are also preserved but the records of the probate are missing & cannot as yet be found. The news papers have informed you that we have had a Town meeting at Boston & chosen our officers as usual. The British fleet & army we hear are all arrived at Halifax. The Tories are miserably of, they cannot get Houses to cover them, some of them are obliged to live in tents and they are in great want of provisions. Nothing is yet done as to ye choice of Major Generals for ye militia. The House have referred proceeding to ye choice until next Session. I am obliged to you for your Letter of Thanks to General Washington. I now inclose you Mr. Morton's oration on the Reinterment of the Remains of Dr. Warren - I have drawn a set of Bills on you for seven hundred Dollars in favor of Mr. Mathew Irwin for value received of him in hands of my son with whom he had left some goods for sale, which I doubt not you will honor.
Mrs. Cushing joins with me in our best Respect to yourself & Mrs. Hancock.
PS - please to pay Mrs. Wm Barrett the sum of Thirty one... & five pence Philadelphia currency...being the amount 20 barrels flour Mr. Avery has...for amount of... Greenleaf & Cross and charge it to me.
Your Sincere Friend & humble servt
[folds are weak, rough edges, chipping at left edge which is affecting some content, close and signature are vertical on last page, appropriate aging and staining, seal tearing]
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