Phila. 31st May 1781
My dear Sr
I am this moment Conformed that Mr Rutlige is going to Head Quarters and have stolen out of Congress to give you a few lines to impress upon you the necessity of taking some immediate step for the succour of the southern Departmt. The Marquis’s Letters will inform you of his situation and will of itself without being enforced by me shew the distress that must soon fall upon our State if not speedily succoured—For some days I have waited with impatience to hear from you not doubting your anxiety for the southern States had determined you to measures for their support as far as you have the means in your Power. This expectation and an opinion entertained that you must be fully informed of the late intelligence from Europe has delayed my writing to mention those matters. The proposed mediation of the Imperial Court cannot be declined by the belligerent Powers although delayed by France and Spain for a Short time to know the dispositions of the States. The most powerfull exertions are necessary not only to give weight to the Negociations of our plenipotentiary but to recover our lost territory to prevent the difficulties of the proposition of uti possidetis—Congress are giving the necessary communications to the States and are endeavouring to stimulate them to emulation at this conjuncture which more than ever calls for our own exertions in consequence of our disappointment from France—The need for money though will it is to be hoped enable us to do something [beyond] what it would otherwise be in our power to effect—Virga receiving so little aid from the North occassions many of her Citizens in their Letters to the Delegates to insinuate that as they are at ease and in safety they care not for the southern States—This notion is but too prevalent and is of dangerous tendency to slacken the efforts of the people and more readily dispose them to submission. I hope Your deliberations with Ct Rochambeau have determined relinquishing the Idea of a certain Conquest for the present and shew yourself in Virginia where I think you Name and presence wod be of infinite service—but my dear Sr I mention these things with the utmost deference to your own Judgment [and feelings] which I am sure are equally touched with [my own] for the distress of numbers in Virga and as prompt [to relieve] them as any person on Earth and I am satisfied [will do so as] far as in your power consistent with the general [welfare]. We have before us a proposition for sending aid of Militia from this State and Maryland but of [all assistances] these are the worst and wod avoid them if [there was a] prospect of more effectual support. Supplies of [Arms are gone] on and geting ready to go on but these have been [greatly] delayed for want of money, the weight that defeats [every] exertion. Adieu. [Yr aff.] hum. Servt
DLC: Papers of George Washington.