George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Clajon, 13 December 1783

Philadelphia December 13. 1783


A disorder, equally troublesome and painful, prevented me from personally presenting my Respects to your Excellency.

General Gates, in his Letter of the 29th of last July, recommended me to Your Excellency, that your Support might enable me to obtain the Commission of Major in the Army of the United States, with the Instruments of the Officer of that Rank. My Appointment, as a Staff Officer, entitles me to no Advantage, besides Pay and Subsistence.

I am conscious that my Services never were conspicuous; but, I have devoted to the Public more than Seven Years of my Time, at a late Stage of Life, in the Expectation that Opportunities would offer for more important Trials of my Usefulness. To those Hopes I have sacrificed many advantageous Prospects in a civil Capacity; and, I believe, that my Wishes would have been gratified, had an Expedition into Canada taken Place. I should be happy, Sir, if General Gates’s Recommendation could insure to me your Excellency’s Countenance, and incline Congress to grant me that Promotion.

By the Resignation of General Lincoln on the Vacancy of an Officer in the War Department, entrusted here with the Power of issuing Warrants to the Paymaster General, I labor under a distress which, I conceive, it is in Your Excellency’s Power immediately to relieve.

In May last, the Secretary at War gave me Orders for the Regiment of my Subsistence to that Time, and the Allowance of the One Month Pay, as given to the Rest of the Army; but he told me that, in Consequence of a Resolve of Congress, passed in December 1780, he understood my Appointment eventually ceased and that he would allow me no future Subsistence, unless he should be authorized to that Effect.

Some Time after, I saw the Resolve he referred me to, and observed that it affected no others than the "Officers in the Line of the Army," who were not "in actual Service," but General Lincoln was then gone to Virginia. His frequently travelling on the Service permitting him to stay but a very short Time here, and the ill State of my Health disabling me from knowing in Time when he returned, I never could represent to him that the Resolve did not apply to my Case.

Major Jackson, his Assistant, though made sensible of the Propriety of my Claim, would not take the Decision upon himself, and even refused to give me an Order for the Three Months Pay additionally granted on Account, in the Financier’s Notes payable after Six Months Date, which now are [become due.] The Want of that Supply and the Subsistence Money has involved [me] into many Difficulties which, I trust, Your Excellency’s Love of Justice and generous Disposition will remove, if it be in your Power. I have the Honour to be with the greatest Respect, Sir, Your Excellency’s Most humble and most obedient Servt

Wm Clajon—late Secretary to

Major General Gates and

Interpreter to the

Northern Depart.

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


c.13 December 1783

The United States of America to William Clajon, late Secretary to Major General Gates, and Interpretor to the Northern Department

1783 November
To Six Months Subsistence
at the Rate of Four Rations for
himself as specially granted
to him by Congress
and Six Months Do for one Servant 120 Dollars
To Three Months Pay on Account,
in Notes of the Honble the
Superintendant of Finances
payable at Six Months Date, and now due,
at the Rate of Sixty Six Dollars per Month
for his Pay, as Secretary to General
Gates and Interpreter to
the Northern Department,
according to the Resolves
of Congress of
January 9, 1777 198
Dollars 318
By Contra paid Two Months Subsistence
on Account 40
Balance due 278

Errors Excepted By Wm Clajon

Late Secretary to Major General Gates

and interpreter to the Northern Department

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