From John Jay
Philadelphia 30th Jany 1779
On the 23d Inst., Congress passed two Acts, One relating to the Commissary of Prisoners, the other to the Director General; Copies of both are herewith enclosed.1
Both your Excellency’s Letters of the 29 Inst., One covering an Extract of a Letter from Governor Clinton, the other, a Letter from General Du Portail, have been delivered to me—Whatever Acts they may become the Subjects of, shall be without delay communicated to You.2 I have the Honor to be With the greatest Respect & Esteem Your Excellencys most Obedt Servt
LB, DNA:PCC, item 14.
1. The copy of these acts in DLC:GW also includes Congress’s resolutions of 23 Jan. concerning recruiting (see GW to Jay, 27 Jan., n.1) and GW’s authority over military operations in all departments (see GW to Jay, this date, n.1). For the act of 23 Jan. regarding the commissary of prisoners, see GW to John Beatty, 29 Jan., n.1 (see also 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 , 13:110). The act of 23 Jan. regarding the director general of the medical department, William Shippen, Jr., authorizes and instructs him to order his subordinates “to attend and perform such duties at any post or place as a change of the position of the army or other circumstances may from time to time make necessary and shall be required by the commander in chief,” regardless of their being “by the general arrangement of hospitals attached to a particular department: And that in case of any dispute concerning their seniority or precedence the director general shall determine the same in the first instance; the party supposing himself aggrieved being at liberty to appeal for address [redress] to the medical committee.” The act also authorizes and instructs the director general “to supply for the use of the regimental surgeons such medicines & refreshments as may be proper for the relief of the sick & wounded before their removal to a general hospital, and to be dispensed under the care and at the discretion of the surgeon general of the flying hospital” (copy, DLC:GW; see also 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 , 13:110–11).
2. Jay is referring to GW’s first and third letters to him of 29 January. For the latter letter and Congress’s delay in acting on Duportail’s plan for fortifying Boston, see Duportail to GW, 27 Jan., and n.4. For Congress’s consent to Governor Clinton’s request to pay debts for provisions and forage taken from New York inhabitants for the army’s use in the fall of 1777, see Jay to GW, 31 Jan., and n.1 to that document.