George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Laurens, 4–5 June 1778

From Henry Laurens

York Town [Pa.] 4th[–5] June 1778


Since my last under the 31st May, I have had the honor of presenting Your Excellency’s sundry favours of the 21st 28th 28th & 31st Ulto & 1st Instant.1 these are dispersed in the hands of Committees and at present I have only to forward to Your Excellency, the undermentioned papers.

1. Establishment of the American Army by Acts of Congress of the 28th & 29 May & 1st June2—about 200 Copies. in two Bundles—Your Excellency will be pleased to make the necessary distribution in the Army at Valley forge.

2. about 500 Copies of the Oath of Abjuration &c. if Your Excellency shall find it necessary to call for more of these, be pleased to give me an early intimation, in order to set the press to work.

Copies of the Establishment of the Army, I mean to transmit to morrow to General Gates, General Sullivan & General Heath, & have already sent a few to the president of south Carolina. to General Howe & General Moultrie I have requested the president to order Copies in both Gazettes at Charles Town3—& I presume all the printers in the several states will adopt them to fill up a part of their respective publications—If any further step shall appear to be necessary I request Your Excellency will be pleased to direct me. I intend to morrow to send Copies to Maryland Virginia & North Carolina & in due course to each of the United States,4 these, tho’ in the line of my Duty may appear to be works of supererogation, since Your Excellency as Commander in Chief will I presume give them all the circulation that is necessary, & also that a Mode must still be adopted for carrying the arrangment into Execution in the mean time these will serve at least for general information, & being without special direction from Congress I have done what appears to be inoffensive. I have the honour to be With the highest Esteem & Respect sir Your Excellency’s Most obedient & humble servant

Henry Laurens,
President of Congress

5th Inclosed Your Excellency will find an Act of Congress of yesterday for carrying the Establishment of the Army into Execution.5 Your Excellency’s favor of the 2d is come to hand & presented.

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

1The letter of the “1st Instant” is GW’s letter of 31 May–1 June.

2See 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 , 11:538–43, 554–55, 560–61.

3Laurens wrote major generals Horatio Gates and William Heath on 12 June, and he wrote Maj. Gen. John Sullivan on 20 June (Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 10:78–79, 151–52). He had written South Carolina president Rawlins Lowndes on 3 June, asking him to forward copies of the resolutions to Maj. Gen. Robert Howe and Brig. Gen. William Moultrie (ibid., 10:14). Rawlins Lowndes (c.1721–1800) had served in public office in South Carolina since 1749, and in March 1778 he was elected president of the state, a position he retained until January 1779.

4On 9 June, Laurens forwarded copies of the resolves to governors Richard Caswell of North Carolina, Patrick Henry of Virginia, John Houstoun of Georgia, and Thomas Johnson of Maryland (ibid., 10:51).

5See 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 , 11:570.

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