George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Brown, 12 August 1775

To John Brown

Camp at Cambridge Augt 12th 1775.


I am exceedingly obliged to you for the Notice of your Ships Sailing for London—I have availd myself of the oppertunity of writing a Letter to a Gentn in England which I beg leave to recommend to your care.1 Your Letter to Mr Loyd2 shall be sent into Boston by the first Flag that goes with Letters & this happens every day almost. I have nothing further to give you the trouble of at present than to assure you that I am Sir Yr Most Obedt & Ob⟨liged⟩ Hble Servt

Go: Washington


John Brown (1736–1803) and his three brothers were leading merchants of Providence both before and after the Revolution. An outspoken opponent of the Stamp Act, John Brown strongly supported the nonimportation agreements of 1769 and 1775 and instigated the burning of the British revenue cutter Gaspee in 1772. Brown served the Continental army well by using his commercial connections to obtain gunpowder and other needed military stores. At the same time he did not hesitate to take advantage of the business opportunities offered by the Revolution, profiting handsomely from the manufacture of cannon at Hope Furnace and from numerous privateering ventures.

1This letter has not been identified. It may have been written to George William Fairfax or George Mercer.

2Henry Lloyd (1709–1795) of Boston was a close friend and business associate of the Brown family despite the fact that he was a Loyalist. He went to Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1776 and died in London.

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