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Hancock, John (1737-1793) to the Convention of Marlyand

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00779 Author/Creator: Hancock, John (1737-1793) Place Written: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Type: Manuscript letter signed Date: 14 November 1776 Pagination: 1 p. ; 32 x 21 cm.

Enclosing a letter from James Searle regarding possible attack by British fleet. On 13 November 1776 Searle spotted about one hundred British ships off the point of Sandy Hook at Long Branch, New Jersey. He immediately wrote to Thomas Wharton Jr., chairman of the Pennsylvania Council for Safety and warned him that the ships seemed to be heading southward. The letter caused great worry in Congress. Hancock sent letters to assemblies in all of the Southern states, and enclosed a copy of Searle's letter as well. However, the British fleet Searle saw was heading for Britain. Letter also notes that General Carlton's forced had just retreated from Quebec. Signed by Hancock as President of the Continental Congress.

James Searle served as a lieutenant colonel in the Pennsylvania militia.

Philada. Novr. 11.th 1776

Gentlemen,
The enclosed Letter from ~ Mr. Searle, a Gentleman of Honours, and a Friend to the Cause of America, containing the most important Intelligence, I am commanded by Congress to forward to you with the utmost Expedition. The uncertain Destination of the Fleet therein mentioned, makes it absolutely necessary, that you should be informed of their sailing, that you may make every Preparation in your Power to defend yourselves in Case of an Attack. I most ardently entreat your Attention & Exertion on the present Occasion-and have the Honour to be
Gentlemen,
By an Express just received, your most obedt.
Genl. Carlton, with all his & very hble Servt
Forces, has retreated to Quebec. John Hancock Presidt.
You will please to forward, by a
fresh Express, the Dispatches for the Southern States.
Honble Convention of Maryland.

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