George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Laurens, 15 May 1778

From Henry Laurens

York Town [Pa.] 15 May 1778.


The last I had the honour of writing to Your Excellency was dated the 11th by the hand of Colo. Gimad.

I have since presented to Congress Your Excellency’s favors of the 11th & 12th which were immediately Committed & remain unconsidered.

Your Excellency will receive under this Cover an Act of Congress of the present date for allowing Officers in the Army certain half pay after the end of the present War & a gratuity to each Non Commissioned Officer & Soldier.1

The bearer hereof will also deliver a packet containing 500 forms of an Oath for the Army, more of these shall be sent by next opportunity. I have the honor to be With very great Regard & Esteem Sir Your Excellency’s Obedient & most humble st

Henry Laurens,
President of Congress.

Extracts from the Philada Paper which Your Excellency was so obliging to send—I caused to be made & printed the Evening the paper came to hand much to the satisfaction of Congress & I beleive of everybody possibly many Gentlemen in the Army may be uninformed of these Interesting transactions & therefore I shall transmit by the present bearer about 50 Copies.2

Congress, have Ordered a Brevet to Colo. Ethan Allen to Rank Colonel in the Army, I take the Liberty to inclose a Certificate of the Order & request Your Excellency will be pleased to cause it to be delivered to that Gentleman.3

Henry Laurens.

I have just transmitted a Resolve of Congress for discharging from all restraint the Honorable John Penn & Benjamin Chew Esquires, who will now make their election.4

ALS, DLC:GW; LB, DNA:PCC, item 13.

1See 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 , 11:502–3.

3See ibid., 11:496. GW wrote a letter to Lt. Col. Ethan Allen from Valley Forge on 18 May, enclosing it in another letter to Horatio Gates of that date. The letter to Allen reads: “The inclosed letter and brevet commission from Congress came to hand yesterday evening. I take pleasure in transmitting them, and trust they will reach you safe” (Df, DLC:GW).

4See ibid., 11:503. John Penn (1729–1795), lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, 1763–71 and 1773–76, and Benjamin Chew (1722–1810), former chief justice of the Pennsylvania supreme court, were placed under arrest by the Pennsylvania Supreme Executive Council in August 1777 and eventually paroled in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. Congress discharged them from their parole and agreed to their return to Pennsylvania on 15 May 1778 (see ibid., 8:633–34, 641–42, 695, 10:238, 260, 11:497, 503; Pa. Col. Records description begins Colonial Records of Pennsylvania. 16 vols. Harrisburg, 1840–53. description ends , 11:264–67; Pa. Archives description begins Samuel Hazard et al., eds. Pennsylvania Archives. 9 ser., 138 vols. Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1949. description ends , 1st ser., 6:367–68, 523; and N.J. Council of Safety Minutes description begins Minutes of the Council of Safety of the State of New Jersey. Jersey City, 1872. description ends , 141).

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