Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 4
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library

| Table of Contents for this work |
| All on-line databases | Etext Center Homepage |

To THE MASSACHUSETTS LEGISLATURE Cambridge, December 29, 1775.

    Gentn.: Having never considered the four independent Companies, which have been doing duty at Braintree, Weymouth and Hingham, in the same point of view, as the rest of the Army; altho some orders may have gone to or for them, Thro' the hurry of business, nor Included them in my returns to Congress, according to the Brigade Major's report from Roxbury; I do not think myself authorised to direct pay for them, without first laying the matter before Congress, which I shall do, by inclosing an exact transcript of your representation of the case, with this single remark, that is they were not Regimented, and were doing duty at some distance from these Camps; I did not know whether to consider them, as part of the Continental Army, and therefore had not ordered them payment heretofore. 85

[Note:Ford notes Samuel Adams's letter to John Adams (Jan. 15 -- 16, 1776) on this point: "I have the opportunity of acquainting you that Congress has just received a letter from General Washington enclosing a copy of an application of our General Assembly to him to order payment to four companies stationed at Braintree, Weymouth and Hingham. The General says they were never regimented, and he cannot comply with the request of the Assembly without the direction of Congress: A committee is appointed to consider the letter, of which I am one. I fear there will be a difficulty, and therefore I shall endeavor to prevent a report on this part of the letter, unless I see a prospect of justice being done to the Colony, fill I can receive from you authentic evidence of those companies having been actually employed by the Continental officers, as I conceive they have been in the service of the Continent. I wish you would inform me whether the two companies stationed at Chelsea and Malden were paid out of the Continent's chest. I suppose they were; and if so, I cannot see reason for any hesitation about the payment of these." ]

    With respect to the other requisition, contained in your Resolve of the 20, I do not think myself at Liberty to extend the guards of this Camp, beyond Squantum and Chelsea, both fit


Page 193

places for Observation. This was my Sentiment of the matter, when the Committee did me the honor to call yesterday; But as it appeared to be of some importance to this Government, I did not care to determine upon it, without asking the opinion of some of the Principal Officers in this Army, whose sentiments I am happy to find, coincide with my own.

    This might be assigned as one among other reasons, to shew that I did not consider these four Companies as part of the Continental Troops; That there were times, in the course of the past Summer, when I should not have Suffered them to have remained at the places they were posted, If I had conceived myself vested with Power to have withdrawn them.

    I would not have it inferred from hence, that I do not think it my duty and with the greatest chearfullness, shall undertake to March Troops, If these Lines are not be exposed by it, to any Place in this or the Neighbouring Governments, to oppose an Invasion; But whilst the body of the Ministerial Troops continue in Boston, and the Circumstances of this Army remain as they are, It must be my first object to guard these Lines. I am with great respect. Gentn. &c.