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Letter from John Hancock to the North Carolina Council of Safety
Hancock, John, 1737-1793
September 24, 1776
Volume 10, Pages 807-808

[From MS. Records in Office of Secretary of State.]
Letter from the President of the Continental Congress to North Carolina Council of Safety.

Philadelphia Septemr 24th, 1776.

Gentlemen,

You will perceive by the inclosed Resolves, which I have the Honour to forward, in Obedience to the Command of Congress, that they have come to a determination to augment our Army, and to Engage the Troops during the Continuance of the War. As an Inducement to enlist on those Terms, the Congress have agreed to give, besides a Bounty of Twenty Dollars, a hundred Acres of Land to each Soldier; and in Case he should fall in Battle, they have resolved, that his Children, or other Representatives, shall succeed to such Land.

The many ill consequences, arising from a short and limited Inlistment of Troops, are too obvious to be mentioned. It is sufficient to remind you, that the Fall of the late Genl Montgomery before Quebeck, is undoubtedly to be ascribed to the limited Time for which the Troops were Engaged; their Impatience to return Home, having laid him under a Necessaty of making the attack, Contrary to the Conviction of his own Judgment. This single Fact, independent of other arguments, furnishes a most striking Proof of the Danger & Impropriety of sending Troops into the Field, under any Restriction as to the Time of their Inlistment. The noblest Enterprise may be left unfinished, by Troops in such a Predicament,

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or abandoned at the very moment Success must have crowned the Attempt.

It is extreemly evident, that without a well disciplined Army, we can never expect Success against Veteran Troops; and that it is totally impossible we should ever have a well disciplined Army, unless our Troops are engaged to serve during the War. To accomplish therefore this most desireable End, I am to request you will at once, and without a Moment's delay, bend all your Attention to raise your Quota of the American Army. The Times call for the greatest dispatch and vigour of Conduct. When the bloody Standard of Tyranny is erected in a Land of Freedom, no good man, no Friend of his Country, can Possibly remain an inactive Spectator of her Fall. Display therefore, I most ardently entreat you, that Virtue which alone can save her on this Occasion. Let us convince our Enemies, that as we entered into the Contest for the defence of our Liberties, so we are resolved, rather then relinquish it, bravely to perish in the last Dyke of our Country. If we do but remain firm—if we are not dismay'd at the little Shocks of Fortune, I am persuaded, under the Gracious Smiles of Providence, assisted by our own most strenuous Endeavours, we shall finally succeed agreeably to our wishes; and thereby establish the Independence, the Happiness, and the Glory of the United States of America.

As the Troops now in the Service belonging to the several States, will be considered as a Part of their Quota, you will please to take such Steps as you may judge Necessary to ascertain what Number of the Troops, as well as what Officers belonging to your State, will engage to serve during the War. I send by this Express, blank Commissions, to be filled up with such Officers as you shall please to appoint. I forward Likewise a Number of Rules and Articles of War, as just altered and published by Congress.

I have the Honor to be Gentlemen,
Your most Obedient and very Humble Servt
JOHN HANCOCK, Presidt