George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Laurens, 24 December 1777

From Henry Laurens

York [Pa.] 24th Decemr 1777


I had the honour of writing to your Excellency yesterday by General Conway; I now inclose a Resolve of Congress of the 22d Sent in to me last Night, directing, all Gold & Silver which shall be received for provision or other necessaries supplied British Prisoners, to be paid immediately into the Continental Treasury1—To this I will take the liberty of adding extract of a Letter dated Nantz the 18th October,2 the latest date I have heard of—from this writers account, an opinion which I have long entertained & Sometimes expressed, that the Court of Versailles, were playing off these Infant States as puppets for the sole benefit of France, is not discountenenced. neither such versatile attachment on one Side nor the enormous considerations which we are paying for their Trade &c. on the other will entitle them to strong claims upon our gratitude—the less obligation we are under the better.

If War is declared between England & France according to present appearances it must from necessity commence with the former. I am with very great Regard &c.

LB, DNA:PCC, item 13. The LB indicates that the letter was sent by Elias Boudinot.

1The enclosed resolution, the original of which has not been identified, reads: “That all such gold and silver as shall be received in consequence of the resolution of Congress of the 19 [Dec.], for provisions or other necessaries supplied by the public to prisoners in the power of the United States of America, shall be forthwith paid into the continental treasury, subject to the future order of Congress” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 9:1049).

2This extract, the original of which has not been identified, apparently was taken from Jonathan Williams, Jr.’s letter to James Lovell of 18 Oct. 1777 (see Laurens Papers description begins Philip M. Hamer et al., eds. The Papers of Henry Laurens. 16 vols. Columbia, S.C., 1968–2003. description ends , 12:200).

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