Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from James Searle, including circular letter from John Hancock to the state governments
Searle, James, 1730-1797
November 14, 1776
Volume 10, Pages 908-909

[From MS. Records in Office of Secretary of State.]
Letter from President Hancock to the Congress at Halifax.

Philada Novr 14th, 1776.


The enclosed Letter from Mr Searle, a Gentleman of Honour, and a Friend 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 and Exertion on the present occasion, and have the Honour to be Gentlemen,

Your most obed. & very hble Servt

By an Express just recd Genl Carleton has retreated with all his Forces to Quebec.


Long Branch, New Jersey,
Wednesday morning 12 o'Clock.

Dear Sir,

About 10 oClock this morning appeared round the Point of Sandy Hook a number of Vessells outward bound, they are still coming out in great number, as I unfortunately have no Glass, I cannot as yet distinguish their motions, I shall detain the Express however one hour longer, that I may endeavour to form some Judgement of their number & Course.

One o'Clock—I do not think it prudent to detain the bearer any longer, the Ships come out but slowly, at present about 100 sail appear round the Hook & appear to be standing to the southward,

-------------------- page 909 --------------------
wind at N. West, I observe one or two that appear to be very large. Do me the favour to send word to Mrs Searle that I set out for Phila this afternoon & shall be there on Friday at noon.

I am Dr Sir &c