George Washington Papers

To George Washington from James Bowdoin, 3 February 1779

From James Bowdoin

Boston Feby 3. 1779


It is a happy circumstance for my Friend Robt Temple Esqr. that he will meet with your Excy at Phila. to which place he is now going for the purpose of Settling his Account against the United States.1 He thinks yr Excy well acquainted with the benefit derived to the American Army from the Wood &c. with which they were Supplied from his Farm at Charlestown and the great damage he Sustained in Consequence of it while the army were encamped in that neighbourhood. He begs leave to hope for your Support, So far as you Shall find his demand just and well vouched.

Your Excy will have the goodness to pardon this repeated trouble, and to believe me to be with every Sentiment of Esteem Yr Excys most obt hbe Servt


Df, MHi: Bowdoin-Temple Papers.

James Bowdoin (1726–1790), an independently wealthy Boston businessman, political leader, and scientist, with whom GW had become acquainted during the siege of Boston 1775–76, had been a member of the Massachusetts colonial council almost continuously from 1757 to 1774. Recurring bouts of tuberculosis, however, limited his public service during the Revolutionary War. Having declined election to the First Continental Congress in 1774, Bowdoin became a member of the state council in 1775 and served as its president from 1776 to 1777, when he resigned. Bowdoin presided over the Massachusetts constitutional convention that convened on 1 Sept. 1779 and concluded its work the following spring. He was governor of the state from 1785 to 1787 and a member of the Massachusetts Ratifying Convention in 1788.

1Bowdoin had previously written GW on 23 April 1778 about the compensation due to Robert Temple of Charlestown, Mass., whose younger brother, John Temple (1731–1798), was married to Bowdoin’s daughter, Elizabeth. Temple arrived in Philadelphia on 24 Feb. 1779 (see Samuel Holten’s diary, 24 Feb., in 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 , 12:108, n.2). On 6 March, Congress resolved that Temple should be paid £4,202 in addition to the sum of £2,500 previously paid him by the state of Massachusetts for the damage that the Continental army had done to his Ten Hills Farm at Charlestown during the winter of 1775–76 (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 , 13:288–89). In 1780 Temple and his family moved to Ireland, where he died four years later.

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