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1777. phia, that our private foldiers in your hands, are treated in a manner shocking to humanity, and that many of them must have perifhed through hunger, had it not been for the charitable contributions of the inhabitants. It is added in aggravation, that this treatment is to oblige them to inlist in the corps you are raising. I must also remonstrate against the cruel treatment and confinement of our officers. This I am informed is not only the cafe of those in Philadelphia, but of many in New York. Many of the cruelties exercifed toward prifoners are faid to proceed from the inhumanity of Mr. Cunningham, provost martial, without your knowledge or approbation. I tranfmit the depofitions of two perfons of reputation, who are come from Philadelphia, refpecting the treatment they received. I will not comment upon the fubject. It is too painful." Howe particularized by faying" Major Stockdon, and other officers of the New Jersey volunteers, were put in irons at Princeton. The major and captain of that regiment were marched out of that place, under guard and hand-cuffed together." Washington rejoined-" When major Stockdon was first captured, I believe that he and one or two officers taken with him, suffered the treatment which you mention. This was without my privity or confent; as foon as I was apprized of it, relief was ordered. But furely this event, which happened fo long ago, will not authorize the charges in your letter of the fixth."

On the 10th of December, all the American officers were removed from the ships back to Long-island, from whence they had been taken and carried on board. The inhabitants received them in again, upon Mr. Lewis Pentard's engaging to pay for them at the rate of two.

hard dollars per week. There were 250 of them. He 1777 acted for Mr. Boudinot. Had he not engaged, their former board not having been paid for, they would have been returned to the fhips. All the privates there have been clothed by him. He obferved when informing his principal of thefe particulars" The privates should have a little fresh beef, especially the convalefcents, who on leaving the hofpitals are put to falt meat, and relapse immediately; the confequence of which is, they are dying very fast. I advise fending in weekly a quantity of fresh provifion for their confumption."

The board of war had a conference with Mr. Boudinot, the commiffary general of prisoners, at York Town on the 21st of December, and after having carefully examined the evidences produced by him, agreed upon reporting, befide other matters" That there are about 900 privates, and 300 officers in the city of New York, and about 500 privates and 50 officers in Philadelphia:

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That the privates in New York have been crowded all fummer in fugar houses, and the officers boarded on Long-ifland, except about 30, who have been confined in the provoft guard and in the most loathfome jails: That fince the beginning of October all these prifoners, both officers and privates, have been confined in prison fhips, or the provoft:-That the privates in Philadelphia have been kept in two public jails, and the officers in the ftate houfe:-That, from the best evidence which the nature of the fubject will admit of, the general allowance of prifoners at moft does not exceed four ounces of meat, and as much bread (often fo damaged as not to be eatable) per day, and often much less, though the profeffed allowance is from eight to ten ounces :

1777. That it has been a common practice with the enemy, on a prifoner's being firft captured, to keep him three, four, or even five days without a morfel of provifions of any kind, and then to tempt him to inlift to fave his life :That there are numerous inftances of prisoners of war perishing in all the agonies of hunger from their fevere treatment:-That being generally stripped of what clothes they have when taken, they have fuffered greatly for the want thereof during their confinement." This ill treatment of the American prifoners, though it shortens the lives of numbers, tends only to lengthen the war, by irritating the people at large, among whom it is quickly reported.

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Let us now quit the military for the civil department, though with respect to dates we must be retrograde.


On Wednesday October the 29th, Mr. prefident Han29. cock clofed the bufinefs of the morning by taking leave of congrefs in the following fpeech" Gentlemen, Friday laft completed two years and five months fince you did me the honor of electing me to fill this chair. As I could never flatter myself your choice proceeded from idea of my abilities, but rather from a partial opinion of my attachment to the liberties of America, I felt myself under the strongest obligations to discharge the duties of the office, and I accepted the appointment with the firmeft refolution to go through the business annexed to it in the best manner I was able. Every argument conspired to make me exert myself, and I endeavoured by industry and attention to make up for every other deficiency.-As to my conduct both in and out of congrefs in the execution of your business, it is improper for me to fay any thing. You are the best

judges. But I think I fhall be forgiven, if I say I have 1777. fpared no pains, expence, or labor, to gratify your wishes, and to accomplish the views of congrefs.-My health being much impaired, I find fome relaxation ab folutely neceffary, after such constant application; I must therefore requeft your indulgence for leave of abfence for two months.-But I cannot take my departure, gentlemen, without expreffing my thanks for the civility and politeness I have experienced from you. It is impoffible to mention this without a heartfelt pleasure.-If in the course of so long a period as I have had the honor to fill this chair, any expreffions may have dropped from me that may have given the leaft offence to any member, as it was not intentional, fo I hope his candor will pafs it over.-May every happiness, gentlemen, attend you both as members of this house and as individuals; and I pray Heaven, that unanimity and perfeverance may go hand in hand in this house; and that every thing which tend to distract or divide your councils, may be for ever banished."


The congress in the afternoon ordered, "That the fecretary wait on the prefident, and request him to furnish the house with a copy of the speech with which he took leave of congrefs." When the fecretary laid it before them, the Friday following, one of the New York delegates introduced an answer he had prepared, which breathed too much the foothing air of fervility, and poffeffed too small a portion of republican independency, and was therefore rejected. But it was moved, "That the thanks of congrefs be prefented to John Hancock, efq; for the unremitted attention and steady impartiality which he has manifefted in difcharge of the

1777 various duties of his office as prefident fince his election to the chair on the 24th day of May 1775." Previous to the determination of this motion, it was moved, "to refolve as the opinion of congrefs, that it is improper to thank any prefident for the difcharge of the duties of that office." The South Carolina delegates being divided, and the New Jerfey delegate not voting, the ftates were equally divided, four and four. The queftion being then put on the first motion, and thefe delegates voting in the affirmative, it was accordingly carried fix againft four.

When Mr. Hancock was first elected in confequence of Mr. Peyton Randolph's being under a neceffity of returning to Virginia, it was expected that as foon as the latter repaired again to congrefs, the former would refign. Of this he was reminded by one of his Massachusetts brethren, when Mr. Randolph got back, but the charms of prefidency made him deaf to the private advice of his colleague, and no one could with propriety move for his removal that the other might be reftored. In the early ftage of his presidency he acted upon republican principles; but afterward he inclined to the aristocracy of the New York delegates, connected himself with them, and became their favorite. He at length fell in fo fully with their plans, that a Rhode Ifland delegate lectured him upon it, and told him that he had forgotten the errand on which he was fent to congrefs, and advifed him to return to his conftituents. This verfatility in political fentiments, though it chagrined, did not furprise his Maffachusetts brethren; for they remembered, that at a certain period, he was upon the point of joining the tory club at Bofton, (as it was called)

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