To John Ettwein
Head Quarters [Valley Forge] 28th march 1778.
I have received your Letter of the 25th instant by Mr Hasse; setting forth the injury that will be done to the Inhabitants of Letiz by establishing a General Hospital there—it is needless to explain how essential an establishment of this kind is to the welfare of the Army, and you must be sensible that it cannot be made any where, without occasioning inconvenience to some set of people or other—at the same time it is ever my wish and aim that the public good be effected with as little sacrifice as possible of individual interests—and I would by no means sanction the imposing any burthens on the people in whose favor you remonstrate, which the public Service does not require1—The Arrangement and distribution of Hospitals depends intirely on Doctor Shippen, and I am persuaded that he will not exert the authority vested in him unnecessarily to your prejudice—It would be proper however to represent to him the circumstances of the inhabitants of Letiz; and you may if you choose it, communicate the contents of this Letter to him.2 I am Sir Your most obedt Servt
LS, in John Laurens’s writing, PBMCA: Ettwein Papers; Df, DLC:GW; copy (extract) in John Ettwein’s writing, PBMCA: Ettwein Papers; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. There are many differences between the draft and the LS, for the most significant of which, see note 1. This letter was carried by Johann Christian Hasse, who arrived at Bethlehem on 30 Mar. (see “Bethlehem during the Revolution,” description begins John W. Jordan. “Bethlehem during the Revolution: Extracts from the Diaries in the Moravian Archives at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 12 (1888): 385–406; 13 (1889): 71–89. description ends 81).
1. The text from the preceding dash to this point does not appear in the draft.
2. On 9 April, Surgeon General William Shippen, Jr., replied to a petition from Bishop Matthew Hehl on behalf of the inhabitants of Lititz, Pa.: “I am so much affected at the very thoughts of distressing a Society I have so great an esteem for, that you may depend upon it I will not put in execution the proposal of removing the inhabitants of Lititz unless cruel necessity urges, which at present I don’t imagine will be the case. If we should fix the General Hospital & take more room in your village it shall be done in a manner the least distressing & disagreeable to your flock that is possible, of which I will consult you” (“Bethlehem during the Revolution,” description begins John W. Jordan. “Bethlehem during the Revolution: Extracts from the Diaries in the Moravian Archives at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 12 (1888): 385–406; 13 (1889): 71–89. description ends 80).