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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 3


Docno: ADMS-06-03-02-0195-0004

Author: Adams, John
Author: Massachusetts Provincial Congress
Author: Foster, Jedediah
Author: Stone, Josiah
Author: Jewett, Dummer
Author: Brooks, Eleazer
Author: Warren, James
Author: Hawley, Joseph
Date: 1776-01-13

III. Report of a Committee on a Letter From George Washington

The Committee1 appointed to take into consideration the Letter from his excellency General Washington of the Tenth Instant,2 have attended that service and beg leave to report. That a Committee of both Houses be appointed to wait on the General and to assure him that this Court are zealously disposed to do everything in their power, to promote the Recruiting of the American Army and to acquaint him that they cannot be of opinion that the public Service will be promoted by offering a bounty at the separate expence of this Colony, or any other encouragement beyond that which has been ordered by the Congress, that they are still further from an opinion that the same service can be promoted by any coercive measures, or any other expedient than voluntary enlistment. But that this Court is willing if his excellency shall approve of this measure, to recommend any further temporary draughts from the Militia, that may be necessary to supply the present deficiencies, to be Continued untill the first of April next, and also to exert the Influence of this Court by recommending to the Selectmen and committees of correspondence and others to exert themselves and employ their influence among the People to promote and encourage by all reasonable methods the Recruiting service in the several Towns.
[signed] John Adams per Order
In Council Read and Accepted and Ordered that John Adams Esqr. with such as the Hone. House shall join, be a Committee to wait on his Excellency General Washington for the purposes expressed in the above Report.
In the House of Representatives Read and concurred and Mr. Speaker and Major Hawley are joined.3
Tr (M-Ar:Legislative Council Records, 34:490).
1. Formed on 11 Jan., this committee consisted of JA and Jedediah Foster from the Council and Capt. Josiah Stone, Dummer Jewett, and Maj. Eleazer Brooks from the House (Mass., House Jour. , 1775–1776, 3d sess., p. 140; Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A. 1a, Reel No. 12, Unit 1, p. 450).
2. Washington expressed anxiety over { 383 } the strength of the army as shown in the returns of the previous day; moreover, he faced the prospect of the imminent departure of the New Hampshire militia after one month's service. He was also concerned about the number of men joining the provincial rather than the Continental Army in the belief that they would have easier duty and be closer to home. He complained further that officers displaced by the reorganization of the army were recruiting companies in the vain hope that they would be recommissioned. Their activities were interfering with authorized recruiters. Washington had become convinced that voluntary enlistments could not supply the needed number of men and wanted the General Court to devise a new system ( Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:227–229). The response of the General Court could not have been consoling, for it offered sympathy and little else.
3. JA , Speaker James Warren, and Joseph Hawley conferred with Washington not only on the General's letter of 10 Jan. but on that of 13 Jan. as well, which dealt with a shortage of firearms. The legislative report on this second letter was prepared by a specially appointed committee, but it was thought that the committee conferring on the first of these letters with the General could also confer on the second. Washington took the occasion to invite this three-man committee to attend a council of general officers ( House Jour. , p. 148; Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A. 1a, Reel No. 12, Unit 1, p. 452, 458; Washington to JA , 15 [Jan.] 1776, below).