George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Sullivan, 26 November 1780

Philadelphia Novemr 26th 1780

Dear General

I am honored with your Excellencys Favor of the 20th Instant—and feel myself under the greatest obligation for your obliging Condescension in Consenting to a Continuation of my Letters.

Sensible of your Situation & Course of Business I feared to write Lest your Politeness Should Divert your attention from important matters & Lead you to answer Even where an Answer appeared unnecessary. But I now take the Liberty of assuring you that I Shall not Expect Frequent or Lengthy answers. When the Nature of my Letter requires & your Liesure will permit I Shall promise myself an answer & not otherwise.

I Shall take the Liberty of Informing your Excellency from time to time of Those Points which Turn up in Congress & are interesting to the Publick in General or the Army in Particular & Shall Continue This without Expecting regular or Frequent answers.

I am happy that the Late Regulations are Pleasing to your Excellency; & with you Lament that They were not Sooner adopted: But I can with great Truth assure you that they are not now the offspring of Choice but necessity which perhaps has been Lately Painted in more Striking Colors & has been more realized than formerly.

I am Sensible of the injurious Consequences of Sending out requisitions at so Late a Period But I flatter myself That The States will yield a Chearful & Speedy Compliance as I have Seen An Act from Connecticut and Answers from other States which promise much toward a Speedy Supply.

I will Endeavor to have it mentioned in Colo. Palfreys Instructions to obtain materials in preference to ready made Cloathes for the reasons you mention. Colo. Palfrey is appointed Consul & Commercial agent.

The means you have been pleased to point out are Fortunately Adopted. Congress have in the most Decent & at the Same time in the most pressing Terms Solicited a Loan & I have Long Since without the knowledge of Congress Solicited the French Minister and Mr Marbois to favor the application which they have already Done by writing to the French Court warmly in favor of it.

I am fully Sensible of the Evils arising in the Cloathing Department, a report is now on the Table for regulating it; which I hope will pass this week—The mode you mention for future Provisions I hope will be Adopted. We have had Cloathing Sufficient for the Army at Cape Francois Eighteen months & a Sufficiency on the Shores of France Since April Last; & we have had a number of Frigates Employed in useless adventures. This Clearly proves the Justice of your observation respecting The attention of Congress being Taken up in Trivial affairs while great Nations Concerns have been Neglected. Several attempts have been made toward a reformation, but to no purpose. You might almost as Soon Teach the Streams to run back to their Sources as perswade Congress out of Their Ancient Tract. I have the honor to be with all possible respect yr Excellys most obedt Servt

Jno. Sullivan

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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