George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the Pennsylvania Council of Safety, 26 October 1777

From the Pennsylvania Council of Safety

In Council of safety1 Lancaster [Pa.] October 26th 1777


The Council of safety have paid some attention to a plan of lowering the price of provisions. Among the various difficulties which attend this business, we hear great complaints of the price of grain being much raised by the enormous rate at which whiskey is sold in your camp. The distillers stick at no price for grain whilst these prices for whiskey are paid.

We would therefore propose to your Excellencys consideration, the step of forbidding, in General orders, more than ten shillings a gallon to be paid for this article in camp. Should this discourage the suttlers we apprehend the mischief would not be great, as the waggons they employ, and the intemperance they may occasion, are perhaps a full ballance to all the good they produce.

Unless something of this nature be attempted, we fear your commissaries will find it difficult, backed with whatever authority they may be, to procure grain at a reasonable rate.

Whatever regulations on this head you may think fit to adopt, you will be pleased to communicate.

We congratulate you on the many successes which of late have attended your arms, and which more than all other means will contribute to lower the price of goods and raise the value of our currency. I have the Honor to be with the greatest respect Your Excellencys Obedient Humble servant

Tho. Wharton jun. Prest

LS, DLC:GW; ADf, PHarH: Records of Pennsylvania’s Revolutionary Governments, 1775–1790. The cover indicates that Wharton sent this letter “per Express.”

1The Pennsylvania general assembly created a second council of safety on 13 Oct. 1777. The council of safety, which included the members of the Pennsylvania supreme executive council and twelve additional men, was created for “a limited time, to vest fit persons with summary and adequate powers to punish offenders and restrain abuses” arising out of the British invasion of Pennsylvania (Pa. Laws description begins Laws Enacted in a General Assembly of the Representatives of the Freemen of the Common-Wealth of Pennsylvania. Begun and held at Philadelphia the Twelfth day of May, A.D. One Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy Seven, and continued by adjournment to Lancaster, until the Fourteenth day of October, A.D. One Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy Seven. Lancaster, Pa., 1777. description ends , 59–61). The council of safety met for forty-four days, from 17 Oct. to 4 Dec. 1777, before being dissolved by the supreme executive council at the request of the general assembly (Pennsylvania Gazette [York], 20 Dec.).

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