George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Jacob Johnson, 24 February 1781

garrison Wyoming Febry 24th 1781.


I have wrote Genll Parsons (with whom I have Some particular acquaintance) & now take leave to make this address to Your Excellency; whom I had in mind to wait upon, at New Windsor, when lately I passed by that way—But Your Excellency at that time was retird to the Jersey; Haveing no opportunity then—And being delayd beyond my expectation here—Are Some of the Reasons, why this written Memorial comes to Your Excellency; not only for my selfe, but on behalfe of the Garrison at Wyoming; and the Inhabitants in, & about sd Garrison.

Shewing; that whereas, Your Excellency, pursuant to a Resolve of Congress, Decemr 12th 1780. Having judged the Post at Wyoming Necessary; consequently relived the Garrison there &c. Now may it please Your Excellency, Since this Post is of such Importance, & Consequence, as Your Excellency rightly judged it to be—Your Excellency will be pleased further to consider, whether it may not be of equal necessity, & utility, to Appoint, & Order a Continental Chaplain, or Gospel minister, to Officiate here for the Sake of the Standing Garrison; and suffering distressed Inhabitants, & Militia, who have usually done Duty—And on Emergencies, & Invasions of the Enemy, have united in defending the Garrison, & Inhabitants on this Ground.

And more especially, Since, neither the Soldiery of this Garrison, or the Inhabitants of this ground, (the Latter of which amount to, 6, or 7 hundred Souls) have had the Dispensation of the Gospel, going on three Years: Nor have they any Rational prospect, of such an Inestimable blessing; except Your Excellency, Congress, or Board of war, see fit to appoint, & Order a Continental Chaplain, at this most important, tho’ Suffering, & distressed Out-Post.

Many are the weighty Arguments, & cogent Reasons, to en—

part of letter missing

The true import of this Address, & Memorial, to Your Excellency—The Scituation of this out Post; and the Nature of the thing it Selfe, Speaks, with the loudest Voice: and most silencing conviction—Were Your Excellency, Continental Congress, or Board of war, to be here, for Sabbaths, or months, or Years, and hear neither Sermo or Prayers; Snd See neither Sabbaths, or Assemblies—In what Part of the World, would your Excellency, Congress, or Board of war Imagin they were, transported to? Surely not, any Parts, of Christian America! Where Congress, had any Influence, goverment, or Order! Not Surely, General Washington, the Board of War, were wholy Strangers to this Incognito? of what? Surely, not of these United States, of America—But is this a Truth? however, Shocking! that cannot be denyd? And is it no longer incognito! but lately discoverd, at Wyoming: within a hundred, & twenty miles of Philidelphia! And about so far, from Gnll Washingtons Headquarters, at New Windsor! Is this sufferable! is it tolerable in a Christian State! no, surely—But what Remedy? Is it reasonable, a Minister of Christ, should preach the Gospel, here at Wyoming, without any Reward, except in the next World? I am Sure, a minister of Christ (tho’ his Governing motive, to preach is a Reward, in the coming World) yet that in Reason can’t be, the governing motive of Congress, or of your Excellency, in calling, & expecting them to preach! If so, let the pay, of all the chaplains, in the Several Departments, be stoped; & then, I will immediately Stop my hand, in addressing, this memorial, to your Excellency. But if not, let Wyoming (alias Wilksbarre) & the Garrison there, come into Remembrance, before your Excellency, Congress, & these United States of America. Your Excellencys most Obedt Humle Servt

Jacob Johnson

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

Index Entries