To Major General Robert Howe
West-point Sep. 27th 79.
I have this instant received your private letter of yesterdays date1—fully perswaded that so respectable a body as the General Officers of this army can hold no improper meetings—& that no representation will be made by them to Congress that is not conveyed in respectful terms—& founded in the strictest rules of propriety & justice I by no means disapprove the one you speak of for the purpose of laying before that honourable body any disadvantages which may be peculiar to their Rank in the line of the Army—At your request I have in haste signified this for your own private satisfaction & shall only add that with sincere esteem & regard I am Dr Sir Yr Affecte Hble Servt
ADfS, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.
1. This letter has not been found.
2. On this date, Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene wrote to Howe that the “General Officers have proposed a meeting to consult upon the most proper plan for addressing the Congress upon the sufferings of the [General] Officers and those of the line,” and asked Howe if he approved of the plan (Greene Papers, description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends 4:415–16).
The generals probably met soon after this date. Between this date and 10 Oct., Howe composed a “Memorial of the General Officers serving in the Army of the United States,” signed by twenty-seven general officers, in which the generals set out their grievances over their inadequate pay and asked Congress to increase their pay and provide them with grants of land. Congress read the memorial on 18 Nov. and referred it to a committee that included Philip Schuyler (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 15:1286). After complaining to GW that Congress was “not so attentive to business as the ⟨vast⟩ variety and Importance of what is on hand seems to require” (Schuyler to GW, 18 Nov. [DLC:GW]), Schuyler submitted a report to Congress on 1 Dec. that called for half-pay for life for the generals and grants of land. However, Congress took no action on the report and gave no more attention to the memorial. See Howe to Greene, 10 and 19 Oct.; Greene to Howe, 28 Oct., in Greene Papers, description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends 4:452–53, 480–81, 508; and 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 15:1188, 1335–37. The memorial, docketed 15 Nov., is in DNA:PCC, item 41.