George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Champion, Sr., 28 February 1778

From Henry Champion, Sr.

State of Connecticut Hartford
Febr. 28 1778

May it please your Excellency—

I Receivd yours of the 17th Instant informing of the Melancholy & Alarming situation of the Army for want of Provisions of the Flesh kind.1

I have forwarded (since my appointment) to head Quarters about 160 good heavy Oxen perr week, for four Weeks past besides keeping up the supplies for our Troops & Genl Burgoins Army at the Eastward, which amounts to about 190 perr Week More—I have exerted myself to the utmost to encourage the Making beef Cattle immediately in these States, which I have effected to my wish; & should been able to Enlarge the quantities sent forward to head quarters Immediately, if needed, if the report of the Commissioners convend at Newhaven for regulating the price of Stall fed Beef with other Articles was not adopted by the Assembly of this state to take place so sudden—But as the regulated price is to take place the 20th of March I much fear it will cause an immediate scarcity of that Article after that time; Unless the Honbe Congress will remove the impediment; which I earnestly2 hope they will do, for a short time—Our Assembly would have Suspended the opperation of the Act on that article, if not the whole, for the space of two or three Months, did they not fear an infraction on the Measures adopted would break the union3—I should have reliev’d the wants of the Army 8 or 10 days sooner & more regular had Hudsons River been Passable—I can amply supply about 4 or 5 weeks Longer; & am Confident I should been able till grass fed Cattle could have been obtaind, had not the regulating Act been past at the most dangerous and critical hour that has happend since the Commencement of this war: (it is the Time only of its taking place I lament)—The salted provision in this Department is Small—perhaps not more than One tenth part what it was last year: But am confident I can amply supply the Deficiency in case the regulating Act can be suspended a short Time. His Excellency Governor Trumbull has this day wrote to Congress something Similar to this—I have wrote to Col. Buchanan the C. G. of Ps my sentiments and desired they may be laid before Congress; & would it not be well for your Excellency to write the Honbe Congress your sentiments on the Occasion4—Am sorry I have occasion to Trouble your Excellency with Affairs so much out of your Department, but necessity must Apologize. I am your Excellencies Most Obedient Hume Sert

Henry Champion D.C.G.P.E.D.

ALS, DLC:GW; copy (extract), enclosed in GW to Henry Laurens, 12 Mar., DNA:PCC, item 152; copy (extract), DNA:PCC, item 169.

Jeremiah Wadsworth wrote GW from Hartford on 5 Mar.: “I perused Col. Henry Champions Letter to Your Excellency on the subject of supplying the Army with Meat—am certain his representation is just. I write this at his request” (DLC:GW). Tench Tilghman added a copy of Wadsworth’s letter to the copy of Champion’s letter that GW sent to Henry Laurens on 12 March.

2This word is almost entirely worn away from the manuscript, and is taken from the copies.

3On 22 Nov. 1777 Congress resolved to recommend that the governments of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware appoint commissioners to meet at New Haven, Conn., on 15 Jan. 1778 “in order to regulate and ascertain the price of labour, manufactures, internal produce, and commodities imported from foreign parts”; the state legislatures were then to enact laws pursuant to the recommendations of the commissioners (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 , 9:956–57). The Connecticut general assembly took up the commissioners’ report at the start of its session beginning on 12 Feb. and passed “An Act for the regulation of the Prices of Labour, Produce, Manufactures, and Commodities within this State,” fixing prices for numerous articles including beef (Conn. Acts and Laws description begins Acts and Laws, Made and passed by the General Court or Assembly of the Governor and Company of the State of Connecticut, in America; holden at Hartford, (by Adjournment) on the twelfth Day of February, Anno Domini, 1778. New London, Conn., 1778. description ends , 485–89). For the response of Congress, see GW to Henry Laurens, 12 March.

4Congress read Champion’s letter of this date to William Buchanan on 9 Mar. (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 , 10:233); for GW’s suggestions to Congress and Congress’s response, see GW to Henry Laurens, 12 March.

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