George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Laurens, 19 February 1778

From Henry Laurens

[York, Pa.] 19th febry 1778.


Since writing the 13th Inst. to your Excellency by Sharp, I have received the Honour of your Excellency’s Several favours of the 3d & 8th continued to 14th Inst. together with the divers Letters & papers referred to in the latter—these were all presented to Congress & remain under consideration.

Inclosed herewith Your Excellency will receive Acts of Congress under the 5th 6th & 9th for establishing divers regulations & restraining abuses in the Army & for appointing Mathew Clarkson & Major John Clarke Esquires Auditors of Army Accounts.

Also an Act of the 17th deciding who are to be excluded from the benefit of the Months extra pay ordered by a Resolve of the 29th December.1

This will be delivered to Your Excellency by the Baron Stüben who proceeds to the Army with the Rank of Captain, granted by a Brevet Commission at the Barrons Special Instance in order to guard against inconveniences which might attend him, if he should without any Commission in his pocket be made a prisoner.

Upon the arrival of this illustrious Stranger at York Town, Congress ordered a Committee consisting of Mr Whitherspoon Mr McKean Mr F.L. Lee & Mr Henry to wait upon & confer with him to pay the necessary Compliments on his appearance in America & to learn explicitly his expectations from Congress—& the Committee were directed to deliver me the Substance of their conference in writing, to be transmitted for Your Excellency’s information. All that I have received or know on this head will be seen on an Inclosed paper marked Committees conference with Baron Stüben to which I beg leave to refer your Excellency. I have the honour to be with great Respt.

The Baron declines the Commission abovementioned or any other for the present.2

LB, DNA:PCC, item 13; ADf (fragment), ScHi: Henry Laurens Papers; copy (extract), DNA:PCC, RG 46. For the wording of the incomplete draft, 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 , 12:467, n.4.

1The enclosed resolutions of 5, 6, 9, and 17 Feb., relating to regulations for the quartermaster general’s department, appointing auditors of accounts, preventing misconduct among civil and military officers, and distributing a month’s extra pay, are in 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 , 10:126–27, 131–37, 139–40, 178. For the appointments of John Clark, Jr., and Matthew Clarkson as auditors of accounts, see William Palfrey to GW, 29 Dec. 1777, n.2.

2On 6 Feb., the day after Steuben arrived in York, Congress appointed a committee composed of John Henry, Francis Lightfoot Lee, Thomas McKean, and John Witherspoon to confer with him about his future services (see Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 9:134–35; the appointment of the committee was not recorded in 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 ). For their memorial, see note 1 of GW’s letter of 10 Nov. 1787 to Charles Thomson, in which GW enclosed a copy that he certified with his signature; see also GW’s letter to Steuben of that date. Steuben, who arrived at Valley Forge on 24 Feb. according to the diary kept by his aide Pierre-Etienne Du Ponceau (DeHi), also carried Laurens’s letter to GW of 18 February.

Index Entries