Wythe, John Adams & Silas Deane to James Warren, 24 October 1775

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As members of a Continental Congress committee that dealt with collecting the accounts of the hostilities of troops or naval forces on the colonies, George Wythe, Silas Deane, and John Adams ask James Warren, the president of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, to provide the committee with any evidence that could be used to show the hostilities, such as the number and value of buildings destroyed, the vessels that were seized, and the stock taken from the seized vessels. Enclosed in the letter is a copy of the resolution of Congress for obtaining the necessary information. The committee says that the reason they need such information is that it may be necessary to justify to other nations the reasons for the colonists wanting independence. The committee tells Warren that each piece of evidence has to be supported by an affidavit, a sworn statement made under oath.

Letter text

Philadelphia Octr. 24. 1775

Sir

The Congress has resolved, that a just Account of the Hostilities committed by the ministerial Army and Navy in America, Since the month of March last, be collected, with proper Evidence of the Facts; the Number and Value of the Buildings destroyed, the Vessells whether inward or otward bound, Seized or captivated and the Stock of all kinds, plundered, in any Part of the Continent, as you will see by an authenticated Copy of the Resolution, her inclosed.

It is apprehended that little need be said to shew the Utility of this Measure. It may be necessary for our Justification, in the Judgment of the People of Great Britain, and foreign Nations; the Information of the Colonies and the Use of History, not to mention any other Purpose.

Our Distance here, from the Scenes of Violence makes it necessary for us to apply to several Assemblies, as well as private Gentlemen for Assistance; and from your Character it is presumed, you will chearfully yeild us all the Aid in your Power.

It will be requisite that every Fact be supported by Affidavits, authenticated by the highest Authority of the Place, where they shall be taken.

Our Apology for giving you this Trouble, is the manifest Utility of it, to the common Cause of the Colonies, in these Times of public Distress and Danger. We Subscribe ourselves, with great Respect Sir, your most obedient and very humble Servants.

Silas Deane
John Adams
George Wythe