Sir: Permit me through you, to convey to the honorable Congress the Sentiments of gratitude I feel for the high honor they have done me, in the public mark of approbation, contain'd in your favour of the 2d. Instant, which came to hand last
[Note:Hancock's letter is in the Washington Papers. ]
Agreeable to your request, I have communicated in General Orders to the Officers and Soldiers under my Command, the thanks of Congress for their good behaviour in the Service; and am happy in having such an oppertunity of doing justice to their Merit.
They were indeed, at first, "a band of undisciplined Husbandmen," but it is (under God) to their bravery and attention to their duty, that I am indebted for that success which has procured me the only reward I wish to receive; the affection and esteem of my Countrymen.
The Medal, intended to be presented to me by your honorable Body, I shall carefully preserve as a Memorial of their regard. 22 I beg to leave to return you Sir my warmest thanks for
[Note:Washington's letter of March 19, informing Congress of the occupation of Boston by the American forces, was read in Congress March 25, and it was that day resolved: "That the thanks of this Congress, in their own name, and in the name of the Thirteen United Colonies, whom they represent, be presented to his excellency General Washington, and the officers and soldiers under his command, for their wise and spirited conduct in the siege and acquisition of Boston; and that a medal of gold be struck in commemoration of this great event, and presented to his Excellency; and that a committee of three be appointed to prepare a letter of thanks, and a proper device for the medal." This letter was signed and sent to Washington by Hancock, April 2. The committee chosen consisted of John Adams, John Jay, and Stephen Hopkins.
The medal wall not completed and sent to Washington until 1786 or later. It was struck in Paris and shows a beautifully modeled profile of Washington on the obverse, encircled by the inscription: "
Georgio Washington Svpremo Dvci Exercitvvm Adsertori Libertatis Comitia Americana. " On the reverse is the town of Boston in the distance, with a fleet in view under sail. Washington and his officers are on horseback in the foreground, and he is pointing to the ships as they depart from the harbor. The inscription is, " Hostibus Primo Fvgatis Bostonivm Recpveratvm XVII Martii MDCCLXXVI."
The medal became the property of George Steptoe Washington, a son of Samuel Washington, who was a younger brother of the General. From him it passed to his eldest son, Dr. Samuel Walter Washington, and on his death to his widow, who gave it to her only son, George Lafayette Washington. In 1876 it was purchased from his widow by a few citizens of Boston and presented to the city, to be preserved in the Boston Public Library. A profile of Washington taken from this medal appears as the bastard-title page of each volume of this work. A full history of the medal is in Loubat's Medallic History of the United States. ]