George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Livingston, 14 April 1778

From William Livingston

Princeton [N.J.] 14 April 1778

Dear Sir

I have your Excellency’s favour of the 11th. Rather than not have an early Campaign, I quite approve of the Resolution of Congress of the 4th instant,1 & whatever proportion of the 5000 you shall call for, out of this State, I will use my best Endeavours to muster.

I send this by one Ernest lately of the State of New york, a most unfortunate honest man, who has been driven at least three times from his different habitations with the loss of his property. I know the delicacy of Recommendations, but there are so many without merit who eat the bread of the public, that if any thing could be done for those poor objects who have been ruined on account of their Whiggism in a way in which they could render proportionable Service to their Country, I know your Benevolence requires no Arguments to excite your Exertions. He is on his way to Congress to the New york Delegates.2 I am with the greatest respect Dear Sir Your most humbl. Sr.

Wil: Livingston


1For the resolution of 4 April empowering GW to call up 5,000 troops from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland, see Henry Laurens to GW, 4 April, n.1.

2On 17 April, GW wrote Henry Laurens: “The bearer Mr Ernest was introduced to me yesterday, by a Letter from Governor Livingston, an extract of which, so far as it relates to him, I take the liberty to inclose. From the Governor’s account, Mr Ernest is an honest man, warmly attached to our fortune, and who, for the part he has taken, has been persecuted with unusual severity. I know not what his talents are, but if they are such as qualify him for any services of a public nature, his persevering fidelity and distress seem to give him a claim to a favourable notice” (DLC:GW). The bearer may have been Mathew Earnest, who was recommended to New York governor George Clinton by Rev. John Mason in a letter of 4 March, to which Clinton replied on 16 April (see Hastings, Clinton Papers description begins Hugh Hastings and J. A. Holden, eds. Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804. 10 vols. 1899–1914. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends , 3:173–74). Clinton wrote Maj. Gen. Alexander McDougall on 10 May, “Some Time since I recd a Letter from the Rd Mr Mason recommending Mr Mathew Earnest, John Brown & Peter Sym to some Employment in this State as they are Refugees honest Men & much distressed by the Times I wish to serve them but it is not in my Power—perhaps some little Berth in the Staff of the Army may offer for which they are fit” (NHi: Alexander McDougall Papers; see also ibid., 293).

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