George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Laurens, 7 January 1781

Morris Town 7th Jany 1781

My Dear General

On my arrival at this place last night, I learnt that Major Fishburn had announced Your Excellencys intention of coming this way immediately—The uncertainty of whether you wd give a preference to the boon-town road or that by Mr Lotts, and the indispensibility of a conference with Your Excellency on the subject of my mission to Europe, determine me to expect your here.

Generals St Clair and de lafayette will inform Your Excellency of their embassy to the mutiners—General Wayne with Cols Stewart and Butler remained among them with a view of disuniting them and endeavouring to effect a secession of Stewarts Regiment. I am sorry to say, that from the circumstances of their organizing themselves & appointing officers of their own, as well as every other part of their conduct—I am persuaded nothing but a superior investing Force will reduce them to reason—Hitherto they have proceeded without opposition—far from experiencing any inconvenience—they enjoy all the advantages they could wish from the change—and consequently have no motive to return to their duty—Our officers have treated and harangued under every disadvantage—as the Leaders of the Mutiny have hitherto felt themselves capable of giving the Law—in my opinion the sooner decisive measures are taken—the greater facility there will be in terminating this unhappy affair and the fewer lives will be sacrificed. A superior force properly disposed, and a proclamation from Your Excellency will make [members] return to their colours—and obviate the necessity of coming to blows. The Force of Jersey and Pennsilvania, with a detachement from the Continental Army are certainly adequate to this business—Happily the Enemy are much reduced by detachments. I have the honor to be with every sentiment of attachment and respect Your Excellencys most [   ].

John Lau[rens]

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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