Description

    Hancock requests assistance in transporting "Cloathing" to the Continental Army

    [Revolutionary War]. John Hancock Letter Signed as governor of Massachusetts. One and a half pages with integral address leaf, 8.75" x 7.75" (sight), Boston, August 30, 1781. Addressed "To the Selectmen of the Town of Westborough," in full as written:

    "The Deputy Quarter Master Genl. for Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire hath represented to the Governor and Council, that he is unable to Transport a Quantity of Cloathing from Boston to Springfield for the Army, where they are in pressing want, and without your Aid & Assistance, the Operation of the present Campaign must be retarded, and the Army must greatly suffer. I therefore with the Advice of Council earnestly recommend it to you Gentleman, as you Value the Interest of your Country, to afford all the Assistance in your power to Col. Jabez Hatch the said Deputy Quarter Master Genl. or his Deputy in procuring Teams for the Transportation of said Cloathing, with all possible Dispatch to relieve their necessities. And be assured that I shall on the Meeting of the General Court recommend it to them to make Immediate provision for the payment of the General Teamsters, at such rate & in such Money for their Teamage as Shall be Mutually agreed upon by the Deputy Quarter Master Genl. and the Teamsters. And unless this reasonable requisition is Immediately Complied with; the Orders of Government for Impressing Teams must be put into Immediate Execution."

    Directly below Hancock's distinctive signature, Col. Hatch, mentioned in the letter above, has indicated from Boston on December 6, 1781, that "Mr. John King Carted Fourteen Loads Cloathing for the United States, from Boston to Springfield. Ninety Seven Miles @ two Shilg. & Six pence per mile per agreement."

    The conditions in the army in 1781 were deplorable and popular support for the war was at its lowest point to date. To make matters worse, Congress was completely bankrupt and was having difficulty enticing new recruits to replenish their diminishing army (soldiers whose three year terms were expiring were discharging). Due to lack of funds, Congress cut funding for the army; soldiers were angry and two separate mutinies occurred in both the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Lines. Yet somehow, the army pressed on, eventually forcing the British surrender at the Battle of Yorktown six weeks after this letter was written.

    Matted with a portrait of Hancock and a biographical plate to an overall size of 31.75" x 25.75".

    Condition: Areas of minor paper loss along the folds from separation with some obscuring of the text. Moderately toned along the edges. Light spots of foxing. The letter is encapsulated by acrylic glass which can be removed from the frame to view the entire document.


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    Auction Dates
    November, 2015
    4th-5th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
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