Letter from the President of the Council

v6:419

PRESIDENT OF COUNCIL TO MASSACHUSETTS DELEGATES IN CONGRESS.

Boston, May 10, 1776.

GENTLEMEN: Enclosed you have an account of powder supplied the Army lately before Boston, by this Colony. We have not been able to procure the proper vouchers for the delivery of the whole of it to the Army; but as it was delivered on the day of the battle of Bunker-Hill, and other times of alarm and confusion, we trust that neglect will be excused. The account is not supposed to contain the whole of the powder which has been delivered to the Army, as it came through various channels. The greatest part herewith exhibited, was borrowed from our towns, who are anxious to have it replaced; but we are constrained to say, though with regret, that it is not in our power to replace it, we not having at present in our Colonial Magazine so much as a single barrel. It is true saltpetre is manufacturing in most of our towns with good success, but we have only one of our Powder-mills yet at work; the others, we hope, will be ready soon. In the mean time you, gentlemen, are desired to solicit the honourable Congress in our behalf, that the whole of the powder exhibited in this account may be refunded to us as soon as is practicable, or so much at the least as the safety of the continent will permit; which we most cheerfully submit, with our other publick concerns, to the decision of that honourable Assembly.

Agreeable to the recommendation of Congress, we have collected the sum of two thousand and sixteen pounds nine shillings, in hard money; four hundred pounds of which, with the bills, (amounting to the sum of twelve thousand dollars sent by Congress for the use of the regiment going on the Canadian service,) were delivered to Colonel Elisha Porter, Colonel of said regiment; the remaining sixteen hundred and sixteen pounds nine shillings, is in the hands of our Treasurer, and more is coming in. You, gentlemen, will send in the directions of Congress with regard to the disposition of what hard money we have got, and may be able to collect, and apply for bills to be sent us to be exchanged therefor.

We are sensible that the sum collected is very small in proportion to the expense of the Canadian expedition; but hard money is so very scarce among us that we have not as yet been able to collect any more.

I am, gentlemen, your very humble servant,

JAMES OTIS.

To the Hon˙ John Hancock, Esquire, and others, the Delegates of this Colony at the Continental Congress.