George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Beatty, 19 January 1779

From John Beatty

Rariton [N.J.] Jany 19th 1779


I had the honour of Writing Your Excellency the third instant complaining of the delay of my Flags1 and representing the necessitous Situation of the Prisoners in point of Provisions; since then I have received a Letter from Mr Pintard, in which he sets forth the absolute necessity there is of a Supply for their use & of the whole in his hands having been long Since expended.2

As I have already a small quantity laying at Elizth Town I am only now waiting Your Excellency’s permission to forward it to them3—their wants are truly pressing and it rest solely with us to alleviate them. I am with the greatest respect Your Excellency’s Most Obt and Most Hume Servt

Jno. Beatty


1For GW’s displeasure with Beatty’s complaints as commissary general of prisoners, see GW to James Duane, 11–12 January.

2This letter from Lewis Pintard, resident commissary of prisoners in New York, has not been identified, but Beatty describes it in his letter to John Jay of this date: “I had the honor of Writing you the 3d instant relative to some difficulties arising with regard to Flags, since then I am favoured with a Letter from Mr Pintard in which he represents in very Strong terms the distressed situation of Prisoners in the Provost, Hospital and on board the prison Ships in point of Bread and other necessaries—hitherto I have been permitted by Congress and the Commander in Chief to send whatever supplies of Provisions were necessary for the support of those people, and am at a loss to conjecture why, at a time they are the most necessitous, this indulgence should be denied them, their wants being for two Months past very pressing, I applied to Lord Stirling for leave to send in a flag with flour Beef & Wood for the Sustenence barely of the Prisoners, but was Answered it was contrary to the Laws of the State as also the Orders of the Commander in Chief—I wrote His Excellency the General upon this Subject but have not since heard from him; probably his Attention to Public matters; has prevented his taking the matter up; I am now therefore to represent to Your Excellency the real sufferings of the Prisoners and to request that I may be empowered to Alleviate their wants” (DNA:PCC, item 78). Congress read this letter from Beatty to Jay on 23 Jan. and ordered it, with other papers, “referred to the committee appointed to confer with the Commander in Chief” (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 , 13:104).

3GW had given this permission in his letter to Beatty of 14 January.

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