George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., 8 June 1780

Hartford 8th June 1780

Dear Sir

The Importance of the Subject of the inclosed Copy of a Letter addressed to the President of Congress, as it has & will affect the Supplies of Provisions expected from this State for the Army, will plead my Excuse for troubling you therewith, & begging Your Excellencys Influence with Congress to back our Application to that Hono. Body, that speedy Attention may be paid thereto—& that thereby the unhappy Consequences which have already arisen from that Source to our Supplies, & the still greater Evils which we fear, unless speedily remedied, may be happily removed—This is our second Address on the Subject—our first on that Head not having met a Reply.

Since my writing per Return Express of 6th Instant 500 bbs more of Provisions are on the Road—and every Effort is exertg, for giving effectual Relief, so far as in our Power, to the Distresses mentioned by your Excellency. I have the Honor to be, with great Regard & Esteem Dear Sir Your most Obedt Servant

Jonth; Trumbull

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


Hartford June 8th 1780


By the Desire of the Genl Assembly, I am again to Address you upon the Subject of the Debts due to our Cattle feeders & the Accounts of the purchasing Commissaries under the late Comry General.

These Debts are unpaid—& the unsettled State of the Commissarys Accounts is a Reason alledged for delaying Payment—The Commissarys are called upon to attend at Phila. to pass their Accounts—their Acco., Vouchers & every Document respectg them must be produced there—The Expence of transportg these Accounts & the Attendance of the Commissarys—if to be born by them are ruinous, if by the United States enormous & as it appears to us useless—We can conceive no Reason why an Officer of your Chamber of Accounts, with such Assistance as you may think proper to assign him in this State—or if we are so unhappy as to have no Persons worthy of this Confidence—from some other State, cannot as well examine their Acco. as at Phila.—to speak our Minds freely, we believe they may be adjusted much better here than they can be there—here the Business has been transacted, here is every Person who hath personal Knowledge of the Transactions—Frauds, Errors, Mistakes will be much easier detected where many Persons on the Spot are   of Facts, & may readily be called to testify their Knowlege—at Phila. the Accounts with the Testimony of the Accomptant are all the Evidence may be expected—& should the Vouchers be suspected how can they investigate the Truth? the Witnesses to be called on are at three hundred Miles Distance—Besides one of those Commissarys, Colo. Champion, is now at the Head of the purchasg Department of Provisions for your Army in this State—his Experience, his Ability & his unwearied Attention to his Business are such, & the Confidence placed in him by, & his Influence with that Class of our People who furnish the largest Supplies of Provisions are such, that his Presence at present & for the ensuing Sumer, is indispensably necessary & the Army must inevitably suffer by his Absence—here he might attend to & close his Acct & at same Time pay proper Attention to the Business of his Department—We intreat Congress to Believe that we wish for a Settlement of these & all other Accounts as ardently as they can do & equally desire the same may be examined with the greatest Care & Accuracy—& speedily closed—The inevitable Delay, as well as the Inconvenience of attendg a Settlement at Phila. is our Motive for urging [on] a different, & as we conceive, a more expeditious & effectual Mode.

It is no less disagreable than necessary for us again to desire the Attention of Congress to the Situation of some of their Creditors in this State—we mean those who have credited them with Beeves the past Year—They consist of our principal Farmers, upon whom we have depended for our Supplies for the Army—their Confidence in the States & Zeal for their Service have prompted them to advance their whole Stock upon Credit of your office[rs.] By the Failure of stipulated Payments capital Mischiefs have ensued—they are unable to replace their Stocks—their Pastures are unfilled—hence no Supplies can be expected from them the current Year, unless speedy Payment is made—& they will besides be great Sufferers in their private Interests—Their Contracts being made for specific Sums of Continental Currency, which hath since the Time greatly depreciated, there if now litterally fulfilled, will fall far short of the Value contracted to be paid them, & what they would have received, had the Contracts on the Part of the Public been punctually complied with—These Persons are Men of Property & Influence in the Districts in which they reside[—]they have been among the most Zealous of the Friends of the U. States—they feel themselves suffering Injustice & Loss from the Failure of their Dependance on the public Faith—they will not sitt down contented to be told a principal Officer of yours, with whose Substitutes they contracted, is gone out of Office, & public Forms require that all Payments under him should be stopped untill all his Accounts are adjusted—they say they did not credit him but the united States, whose Servant he was, & to whose Use the Articles they delivered him were applied—they consider his Contracts as yours, & a F[ailure] of Performance on his part, as a Breach of the public Faith plighted them by him—especially as they are fully persuaded that your Officers have proper Authority to sollicit Credit for you—& that they have not failed of fulfilling their Contracts by Reason of any Fraud or Misapplication of Monies entrusted & advanced to them, but solely because Congress have not enabled them to keep their Contracts—Hence not only the imediate Sufferers, but many others giving Credit & influenced by their Complaints neglect to exert themselves to raise & furnish the Articles necessary to supply the Army—& turn their Attention to other Branches of Business in which they hope to evade the Inconvenience complained of—The Consequences of their Policy is already severely felt—the Sufferings of your Army, which at any other Time it would have been in our Power to relieve, most clearly demonstrate this—& should these Creditors be neglected for any considerable Time longer, or held to receive the base nominal Sum in Continental Currency agreed for under Expectation of speedy Payment last Year, it is hard to say what may be the Event—But it is our Duty to declare, that we cannot be answerable that it will be in our Power to furnish the Supplies expected from us by Congress, tho we shall certainly in all Events exert our utmost Endeavours for that Purpose. I am with Sentiments of Esteem & Regard Sir Your Obedt humble Servant

Jona. Trumbull

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