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The papers referred to in the foregoing letter, being published in the newspapers, it is hot necessary to insert them.
Mr. Hancock laid before the Congress a letter from the provincial Congress of Massachusetts-Bay, together with certain resolutions formed by said Congress, and a copy of a letter, sent by said Congress to their agent in England, and an address to the inhabitants of Great-Britain, on the late engagement between the troops under general Gage, and the inhabitants of Massachusetts Bay; also a number of depositions, duly attested, relative to the commencement of said hostilities, all which were read, and are as follows:
In Provincial Congress, Watertown, May 3, 1775. To die honorable Airerican Continental Congress, to be oonTened at Philadelphia, on die tenth
of May instant. May It Please Your Honours,
The Congress of this colony, impressed with the deepest concern for their country, under the present cntical and alarming state of its public affairs, bee leave, with the utmost submission, whilst acting in support of the cause of America, to request the direction and assistance of your respectable assembly.
The inclosed packet, containing copies of the depositions, .which we have despatched for London, also an address to the inhabitants of Great-Britain, and a letter to our colony agent, Benjamin Franklin, esq. are humbly submitted to your consideration.
The sanguinary zeal of the ministerial army, to ruin and destroy the inhabitants of this colony, in the opinion of this Congress, hath rendered the establishment of an army indispensably necessary; we have accordingly passed an unanimous resolve for thirteen thousand six hundred men, to be forthwith raised by this colony, and proposals are made by us to the Congress of NewHampshire, and governments of Rhode-Island and Connecticut colonies, for furnishing men in the same proportion.
The sudden exigency of our public affairs, precluded the possibility of waiting for your direction in these important measures, more especially, as a considerable reinforcement from Great-Britain is daily expected in this colony, and we are now reduced to the sad alternative of defending ourselves by arms, or submitting to be slaughtered.
"With the greatest deference, we beg leave to suggest, that a powerful army, on the side of America, hath been considered, by this Congress, as the only means left to stem the rapid progress of a tyrannical ministry. Without a force, superior to our enemies, we must reasonably expect to become the vicims of their relentless fury. With such a force, we may still have hopes of seeing an immediate end put to the inhuman ravages of mercenary troops in America, and the wicked authors of our miseries, brought to condign punishment, by the just indignation of our brethren in Great-Britain.
We nope that this colony will, at all times, be ready to spend and be spent in the cause of America. It is, nevertheless, a misfortune greatly operating to its disadvantage, that it has a great number of sea-port towns, exposed to the approach of the enemy by sea; from many of which, the inhabitants have removed, and are removing their families and effects, to avoid destruction from ships of war. These, we apprehend, will be generally distressed from want of subsistence, and disabled from contributing aid for supporting the forces of the colony; but we have the greatest confidence in the wisdom and ability of the continent to support us, so far as it shall appear necessary for supporting the common cause of the American colonies.
We also inclose several resolves for empo.wering and directing our receivergeneral to borrow the sum of one hundred thousand pounds, lawful money, and to issue his notes for the same; it being the only measures, which we could have recourse to, for supporting our forces; and we request your assistance in rendering our measures effectual, by giving our notes a currency through the continent. JOSEPH WARREN, President, P. T.'
The papers inclosed, and referred to, in the above, are as follows:
In Provincial Congress, Watertown, May 3, 1775. "Resolved, That the receiver-general be, and hereby is empowered to borrow the sum of one hundred thousand pounds, lawful money, and issue colony security for the same, payable, with annual interest, at six per cent. June 1, 1777, and that the continental Congress be desired to recommend to the several colonies, to give a currency to such securities.
A true extract from the minutes,
SAMUEL FREEMAN, Secretary, P. T. In Provincial Congress, Watertown, May 3, 1775. Resolved, That the securities given by the receiver-general for the monies borrowed by him, in pursuance of the aforegoing resolve, be in the form following, viz.
COLONY OF THE MASSACUUSETTS-BAY. No, the day of A. D. 177 bor
rowed and received of A. B. the sum of
lawful money, for the use and service of the colony of the Massachusetts-Bay, and in behalf of said colony. I do hereby promise and oblige myself, and successors in the office of treasurer, or receiver-general, to repay to the said or to his order, the first day of June, 1777, the aforesaid sum of lawful money, in Spanish milled dollars, at six shillings ,
each, or in the several species of coined silver and gold, enumerated in an act made and pawed in the 23d year of his late majesty, king George the Second, intituled "An act for ascertaining the rates at which coined silver and gold, English halfpence and farthings, may pass within this government:" and according to the rates therein mentioned, with interest, to be paid annually, at six per cent. Witness my hand
And whereas inconveniencies may arise, by the receiver-,general's issuing notes for small sums, therefore,
Resolved, That the receiver-general be, and he hereby is directed, not to issue any note's for a less sum than four pounds lawful money. A true extract from the minutes,
SAMUEL FREEMAN, Secretary, P. T.
To the lion. Benjamin Franklin, esq. at London.
In Provincial Congress, Watertown, April 26, 1775.
"From the entire confidence we repose in your faithfulness and abilities,
we consider it the happiness of this colony, that the important trust of agency for it, in this day of unequalled distress, is devolved on your hands, and we doubt not your attachment to the cause and liberties of mankind, will make every possible exertion in our behalf, a pleasure to you; although our circumstances will compel "us often to interrupt your repose, by matters that will surely give you pain. A singular instance hereof is the occasion of the present letter. The contents of this packet, will be our apology for troubling you with it.
"From these you will see how, and by whom, we are at last plunged into the horrors of a most unnatural war.
"Our enemies, we are told, have despatched to Great-Britain a fallacious account of the tragedy they have begun; to prevent the operation of which, to the public injury, we have engaged the vessel that conveys this to you, as a packet in the service of this colony, and we request your assistance in supplying captain Derby, who commands her, with such necessaries as he shall want, on the credit of your constituents in Massachusetts-Bay. Vol. I. 8
"But We "most ardently wish, that the several papers herewith inclosed, may be immediately printed and dispersed through every town in England, and especially communicated to the lord mayor, aldermen, and council of the sity of London, that they may take such order thereon, as they may think proper. And we are confident your fidelity will make such improvement of them, as shall convince all, who are not determined to be in everlasting blindness, that it is the united efforts of both Englands, that can save either. But that whatever price our brethren in the one, may be pleased to put on their constitutional liberties, we are authorized to assure you, that the inhabitants of the other, with the greatest unanimity, are inflexibly resolved to sell theirs only at the price of their lives.
Signed by order of the Provincial Congress,
JOSEPH WARREN, President, P. T. A true copy from the original minutes,
SAMUEL FREEMAN, Secretary, P. T.
The depositions relative to the commencement of hostilities, are as follows:
LEXINGTON, Jipril 25,1775.
"We, Solomon Brown, Jonathan Loring, and Elijah Sanderson, all of lawful age, and of Lexington, in the county of Middlesex, and colony of the Massachusetts-Bay, in New England, do testify and declare, that on the evening of the 18th of April, instant, being on the road between Concord and Lexington, and all of us mounted on horses, we were, about ten of the clock, suddenly surprised by nine persons, whom we took to be regular officers, who rode up to us, mounted and armed, each having a pistol in his hand, and after putting pistols to our breasts, and seizing the bridles of* our horses, they swore, if we stirred another step, wc should be all dead men, upon which we surrendered ourselves. They detained us until two o'clock the next morning, in which time they searched and greatly abused us, having first enquired about the magazine at Concord, whether any guards were posted there, and whether the bridges were up, and said four or five regiments of regulars would be in possession of the stores soon. They then brought us back to Lexington, cut the horses' bridles and girths, turned them loose, and then left us.
"SOLOMON BROWN, "JONATHAN LORING, ."ELIJAH SANDERSON." LEXINGTON, April 25, 1775.
"I, Elijah Sanderson, above named, do further testify and declare, that I was on Lexington common, the morning of the 19th of April, aforesaid, having been dismissed by the officers abovementioned, and saw a large body of regular troops advancing towards Lexington company, many of whom were then dispersing. I heard one of the regulars, whom 1 took to be an officer, say, "Damn them, we will have them," and immediately the regulars shouted aloud, run and fired upon the Lexington company, which did not fire a gun before the regulars discharged on them. Eight of the Lexington company were killed while they were dispersing, and at a considerable distance from each other, and many wounded, and although a spectator, I narrowly escaped with my life.
"I, Thomas Rice Willard, of lawful age, do testify and declare, that being in the house of Daniel Harrington, of said Lexington, on the 19th instant, in the morning, about half an hour before sun-rise, looked out at the window of said house, and saw (as I suppose) about four hundred regulars in one body, coming up the road, and marched towards the north part of the common, back of the meeting-house of said Lexington, and as soon as said regulars were against the east end of the meeting-house, the commanding officer said something, what I know not, but upon that the regulars ran till they came within about eight or nine rods of about an hundred of the militia of Lexington, who were collected on said common, at which time the militia of Lexington dispersed, then the officers made an huzza, and the private soldiers succeeded them: directly after this, an officer rode before the regulars to the other side of the body, and hallooed after the militia of said Lexington, and 9aid, "lay down your arms, damn you, why don't you lay down your arms?" and that there was not a gun fired till the militia of Lexington were dispersed; and further saitli not.
"THOMAS RICE WILLARD."
LEXINGTON, April 25, 1775. "Simon Winship, of Lexington, in the county of Middlesex, and province of Massachusetts-Bay, New England, being of lawful age, testifieth and saith, that on the 19th April instant, about four o'clock in the morning, as he was passing the public road in said Lexington, peaceably and unarmed, about two miles and a half distant from the meeting-house in said Lexington, he was met by a body of the king's regular troops, and being stopped by some officers of said troops, was commanded to dismount; upon asking why he must dismount, he was obliged by force to quit his horse, and ordered to march in the midst of the body, and being examined whether he had been warning the minute men, he answered no, but had been out, and was then returning to his father's. Said Winship farther testifies, that he marched with said troops, till he came within about half-a-quarter of a mile of said meeting-house, where an officer commanded the troops to halt, and then to prime and load: this being done, the said troop9 marched on till they came within a few rods of captain Parker's company, who were partly collected on the place of parade, when said Winship observed an officer at the head of said troops, flourishing his sword, and with a loud voice, giving the word fire, fire, which was instantly followed by a discharge of arms from said regular troops, and said Winship is positive, and in the most solemn manner declares, that there was no discharge of arms on either side, till the word fire was given, by the said officer as above.
LEXINGTON, April 25, 1775. "I, John Parker, of lawful age, and commander of the militia in Lexington, do testify and declare, that on the 19th instant, in the morning, about one of the clock, being informed that there were a number of regular officers riding up and down the road, stoppingand insulting people as they passed the road; and also was informed that a number of regular troops were on their march from Boston, in order to take the province stores at Concord, ordered our militia to meet on the common in said Lexington, to consult what to do, and concluded not to be discovered, nor meddle nor make with said regular troops (if they should approach) unless they should insult or molest us ;—and, upon their sudden approach, I immediately ordered our militia to disperse, and not to fire.—Immediately said troops made their appearance and rushed furiously, fired upon, and killed eight of our party, without receiving any provocation therefor from us.
LEXINGTON, AprilU, 1775. "I, John Robins, being of lawful age, do testify and say, that on the 19th instant, the company under the command of captain John Parker, being drawn up (sometime before sun-rise) on the green or common, and I being in the front rank, there suddenly appeared a number of the king's troops, about a thousand, as I thought, at the distance of about sixty or seventy yards from us huzzaing, and on a quirk pace towards us, with three officers in their front on horse-back, and on full gallop towards us, the foremost of which cried, throw down you arms ye villains, ye rebels! upon which said company dispersing, the foremost of the three officers ordered their men, saying, fire, by God, fire! at which moment we received a very heavy and cfose fire from them, at which instant, being wounded, I fell, and several of our men were shot dead by me. Captain Parker's men I believe had not then fired a gun, and further the deponent saith not.
LEXINGTON, April 25, 1775. We, Benjamin Tidd, of Lexington, and Joseph Abbot, of Lincoln, in the county of Middlesex, and colony of Massachusetts-Bay, in New-England, of lawful age, do testify and declare that, on the morning of the 19th of April instant, about five o'clock, being on .Lexington common, and mounted on horses, we saw a body of regular troops marching up to the Lexington company, which was then dispersing: Soon after, the regulars fired, first, a few guns, which we took to be pistols from some of the regulars who were mounted on horses, and then the said regulars fired a volley or two before any guns were fired, by the Lexington company; our horses immediately started, and we rode off. And further say not.
LEXINGTON, April 25, 1775. "We, Nathaniel Mullokin, Philip Russell, Moses Harrington, jun. Thomas and Daniel Hanington, William Grimes, William Tidd, Isaac Hastings, Jonas Stone, jun. James Wyman, Thaddeus Harringtou, John Chandler, Joshua Reed, jun. Joseph Simonds, Phineas Smith, John Chandler, jun. Reuben Cock, Joel Viles, Nathan Reed, Samuel Tidd, Benjamin Lock.Thomas Winship, Simeon Snow, John Smith, Moses Harrington the 3d, Joshua Reed, Ebenezer Parker, John Harrington, Enoch Willington, John Hormer, Isaac Green, Phineas Stearns, Isaac Durant, and Thomas Headley, jun. all of lawful age, and inhabitants of Lexington in the county of Middlesex, and colony of . the Massachusetts-Bay, in New-England, do testify and declare, that on the 19th of April instant, about one or two o'clock in the morning, being informed that several officers of the regulars had, the evening before, been riding up and down the road, and had detained and insulted the inhabitants passing the same; and also understanding that a body of regulars were marching from Boston towards Concord, witn intent (as it was supposed) to take the stores, belonging to the colony, in that town, we* were alarmed, and having met at the place of our company's parade, were dismissed by our captain, John Parker, for the present, with orders to be ready to attend at the beat of the drum. We further testify and declare, that about five o'clock in the morning, hearing our drumbeat, we proceeded towards the parade, and soon found that a large body of troops were marching towards us: Some of our company were coming up to the parade, and others had reached it, at which time the company began to disperse: Whilst our backs were turned on the troops, we were fired on by them, and a number of our men were instantlykilled and wounded. Notxigun was fired, by any person in our company, on the regulars, to bur knowledge, before they fired on us, and they continued firing until we had all made our escape.
"Signed by each of the above deponents."
LEXINGTON, April2S, 1776.
"We, Nathaniel Parkhurst, Jonas Parker, John Munroe,jun. John Winship, Solomon Pierce, John Muzzy, Abner Meeds, John Bridge, jun. Ebenezer Bowman, William Munroe the Sd, Micah Hager, Samuel Saunderson, Samuel