John Hancock signed congressional resolution dated 1776John Hancock Document Signed as President of the Continental Congress. An extract from the Congressional minutes written in the hand of Charles Thomson, who countersigns as Secretary. One page, 7.25" x 9", "In Congress" [Philadelphia], March 20, 1776. This Continental Congress resolution concerning the transport of British prisoners from Trenton can be found in the Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789 (ed. Worthington C. Ford et al. [Washington, D.C., 1904-1937], 4:220). Written less than four months before the Declaration of Independence was approved, this resolution reads in full:
"Resolved that the Committee of Safety of the colony of New Jersey be desired to remove the prisoners from Trenton to just place or places in that colony as may thought convenient, at a proper distance from the sea and post road, subject to the regulations formerly made respecting prisoners. Resolved that all officer prisoners, who shall refuse to subscribe the parole ordered by Congress, be committed to prison.
Extract from the minutes.
[signed] Chas Thomson, Secry.
[signed] John Hancock, President."
The prisoners, which included officers, had arrived in Trenton in November 1775 under the supervision of Captain John Hulbert, who had transported them from Fort Chambly Canada. Captain Hulbert and his company of Long Island minutemen had assisted in the capture of the British fort earlier in October. On November 20, 1775, after delivering the prisoners, Captain Hulbert reported to the Continental Congress, which noted his visit in the Journals of the Continental Congress. Three days later, the Congress awarded Hulbert $120 and ten days leave; meanwhile, his minutemen were stationed on the Hudson River. The British prisoners referred to in this document were, at least in part, those from Fort Chambly. On the day this resolution was passed, Congress also resolved to give money to Abraham Hunt for providing provisions for them.
The prisoners were likely being moved inland because the large British army, under the command of William Howe, had evacuated Boston three days earlier, and on March 20, they were still in their ships off the Massachusetts' coast. Neither General Washington in Boston nor the Continental Congress in Philadelphia knew what Howe's next move would be. Washington's guess was that they would sail to New York City, which they did, landing on Staten Island in July.
Professionally restored to mend all separations at folds, with a few pinholes of paper loss thereat, in one instance affecting the firs "o" in "Thomson". Evidence of mat burn at margins, with light chipping. Ink is exceptionally bold, and makes a striking presentation.
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