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1777. phia, that our private soldiers in your hands, are treated

in a manner shocking to humanity, and that many of the
them must have perished 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 bring
case of those in Philadelphia, but of many in New York.
Many of the cruelties, exercised toward prisoners are said:
to proceed from the inhumanity of Mr. Cunningham,
provost martial, without your knowledge or approbation. Ito
I transmit the depositions of two persons of reputation, an
who are come from Philadelphia, respecting the treat-
ment they received. I will not comment upon the sub-
ject. It is too painful.” Howe particularized by fay- tyring
ing—“Major Stockdon, and other officers of the News
Jersey volunteers, were put in irons at Princeton. The song
major and captain of that regiment were marched outlet
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 consent; as soon as I se
was apprized of it, relief was ordered. But surely this
event, which happened so long ago, will not authorize
the charges in your letter of the sixth.”

On the roth 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

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Á ME R Í C A N Ř Ě V O L U TIÔ N. 17 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 ships. All the privates there have been clothed by him. He observed when informing his principal of these particulars.-" The privates should have a little fresh beef, especially the convalescents, who on leaving the hospitals are put to falt meat, and relapse immediately, the consequence of which is, they are dying very fast. I advise sending in weekly a quantity of fresh provision for their consumption."

The board of war had a conference with Mr. Boudia not, the commissary general of prisoners, at York Town on the 21st of December, and after having carefully examined the evidences produced by him, agreed upon reporting, beside 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 :

That the privates in New York have been crowded all summer in sugar houses, and the officers boarded on · Long-isand, except about 30, who have been confined

in the provost guard and in the most loathsome jails : That since the beginning of October all these prisoners, both officers and privates, have been confined in prison ships, or the provost :- That the privates in Philadelphia have been kept in two public jails, and the officers in the state house :-That, from the best evidence which the nature of the subject will admit of, the general allowance of prisoners at most 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 professed allowance is from eight to ten ounces :VOL. III.

That

1777. That it has been a common practice with the enemy, on

a prisoner's being first captured, to keep him three, four; or even five days without a morsel of provisions of any kind, and then to tempt him to inlist to save his life :That there are numerous instances 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 suffered greatly for the want thereof during their confinement.” This ill treatment of the American prisoners, 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.

Let us now quit the military for the civil department,

though with respect to dates we must be retrograde. Oft. On Wednesday October the 29th, Mr. president Han

cock closed the business of the morning by taking leave of congress in the following speech ' Gentlemen, Friday last completed two years and five months since you did me the honor of electing me to fill this chair. As I could never flatter myself your choice proceeded from any 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 resolution 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 congress in the execution of your business, it is improper for me to say any thing. You are the best

judges.

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I judges. But I think I shall be forgiven, if I say I have 1777. sy spared no pains, expence, or labor, to gratify your

wishes, and to accomplish the views of congress. My health being much impaired, I find some relaxation ab. folutely necessary, after such constant application; I must therefore request your indulgence for leave of absence for two months. But I cannot take my departure, gena tlemen, without expressing my thanks for the civility and politeness I have experienced from you. It is im. poffible 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 expressions may have dropped from me that may have given the least offence to any member, as it was not intentional, so I hope his candor will

pass it over. May every happiness, gentlemen, attend 1. you both as members of this house and as individuals;

and I pray Heaven, that unanimity and perseverance
may go hand in hand in this house; and that every thing

which may tend to distract or divide your councils, may sl be for ever banished.”

“The congress in the afternoon ordered, That the
secretary wait on the president, and request him to fur-
nish the house with a copy of the speech with which he

took leave of congress.” When the secretary laid it es before them, the Friday following, one of the New 29 York delegates introduced an answer he had prepared, 21 which breathed too much the foothing air of servility,

and possessed too small a portion of republican indepena fe dency, and was therefore rejected. But it was moved, ani « That the thanks of congress be prefented to John

Hancock, esq; for the unremitted attention and steady bei impartiality which he has manifested in discharge of the

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2777• various duties of his office as president since his election

to the chair on the 24th day of May 1775.” Previous
to the determination of this motion, it was moved; “ CO
resolve as the opinion of congress, that it is improper
to thank any president for the discharge of the duties
of that office." The South Carolina delegates being
divided, and the New Jersey delegate not voting, the
states were equally divided, four and four. The ques-
tion being then put on the first motion, and these dele-
gates voting in the affirmative, it was accordingly car-
ried six against four.

When Mr. Hancock was first elected in consequence
of Mr. Peyton Randolph's being under a necessity of re-
turning to Virginia, it was expected that as soon as the
latter repaired again to congress, the former would re-
sign. Of this he was reminded by one of his Maffa-
chusetts brethren, when Mr. Randolph got back, bue ku
the charms of presidency made him deaf to the pri- *
vate advice of his colleague, and no one could with pro-
priety move for his removal that the other might be
restored. In the early stage of his presidency he acted a
upon republican principles; but afterward he inclined to the
the aristocracy of the New York delegates, connected Ri
himself with them, and became their favorite. He at
length fell in so fully with their plans, that a Rhode dic
Inand delegate lectured him upon it, and told him that Cod
he had forgotten the errand on which he was sent to
Congress, and advised him to return to his constituents.
Tuis versatility in political sentiments, though it chan atas
grined, did not surprise his Massachusetts brethren; for the
they remembered, that at a certain period, he was upon : H1
the point of joining the tory club at Boston, (as it was su

called)

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