George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Jacob Read, 6 August 1784

From Jacob Read

Annapolis [Md.] 6th August 1784


The Inclosed Copy of a Letter which I do myself the honour to inclose to you will perhaps give you some as Curious information as any you have had for a long time on the subject of Pollitics on the other side of the Water—The Intelligence is I believe to be relied on—You will do me the favour to return the ⟨sd⟩ Letter by next post and I must request you will not let it by any means transpire, I make the Communication to Your Excellency as Waranted by your general permission to see the Secret papers & Journals of Congress[.] as I shall destroy the Copy as soon as again in my possession I must also request that no Copy be taken1—the Proclamation mentioned in my last on the subject of the Trade of the U.S. with the West Indies is almost verbatim with those formerly issued & is fully explained in the Copy of the letter Inclosed.2

We shall loose the Two Gentlemen from New England in the next week their private affairs requiring their return to the Eastward 3 and as neither Deleware New York nor Connecticut Can be gotten to Attend I fear we shall have no more Committee of the States. this in the present Situation of European & Indian Affairs is really allarming—the delegates from Rhode Island always declared they woud not Attend.

If the Committee shoud dissolve or adjourn I shall go to Rhode Island where my mother is for her Health 4 and shall be happy to Execute any Commands you may have to the Eastward. I am with the sincerest regard & most perfect respect Sir your Excellency’s most obliged & Most obedient Servt

Jacob Read


1In his reply of 11 Aug., GW refers to “Mr Ls intelligence” in the enclosed letter from Read. The comments of both Read and GW on the letter make it clear that it is one written by Henry Laurens from London on April 24 to the president of Congress. In the letter, Laurens argues that a strong faction of politicians in Britain was “hoping in time to provoke a more hostile war and to improve upon what they call the errors of the last” (Wharton, Diplomatic Correspondence, description begins Francis Wharton, ed. The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States. 6 vols. Washington, D.C., 1889. description ends 6:795–97).

4Read’s mother, Rebecca Bond Read, daughter of Jacob Bond of Hobcaw in Christ Church Parish, S.C., died in 1786.

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