To Brigadier General John Lacey, Jr.
Head Quarters Valley Forge 20th March 1778
Sunday next being the time on which the Quakers hold one of their general meetings, a number of that society will probably be attempting to go into Philadelphia.1 This is an intercourse that we should by all means endeavour to interrupt, as the plans setled at these meetings are of the pernicious tendency.2 I would therefore have you dispose of your parties in such a manner as will most probably fall in with these people, and if they should, and any of them should be mounted upon Horses fit for the draft or the Service of Light Dragoons I desire they may be taken from them and sent over to the Quarter Master General, any such, are not to be considered as the property of the parties who may seize them, as in other cases. Communicate the above orders to any of the officers of the Continental Army who may command Scouting parties upon your side of the Schuylkill. I am Sir Your most hum: Servt,
LS, in Richard Kidder Meade’s writing, owned (1974) by Mr. Nathaniel Baldwin Smith, Andover, Mass; Df, DLC:GW; copy (photocopy), DLC:GW, ser. 9; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.
1. The next Sunday was 22 March. The general spring meeting of ministers and elders for Pennsylvania and New Jersey was held at Philadelphia 21–24 March.
2. Elizabeth Drinker at Philadelphia noted in her diary for 22 Mar., “there are but few Friends at this Spring meeting compar’d to former times, tho’ concedering the Difficultys there are many” (Crane, Elizabeth Drinker Diary description begins Elaine Forman Crane et al., eds. The Diary of Elizabeth Drinker. 3 vols. Boston, 1991. description ends , 1:291). The meeting issued an address exhorting Friends to “join in a deep enquiry into the Causes why the present prevailing Calamities have been suffered to fall so heavy amongst us in this Land” (From Our General Spring Meeting).