George Washington Papers
Documents filtered by: Author="Jay, John" AND Recipient="Washington, George"
sorted by: date (ascending)

To George Washington from John Jay, 19 March 1779

From John Jay

Philadelphia 19th March 1779

Sir,

I have the honor of transmitting to Your Excellency, herewith enclosed, Copies of three Acts of Congress, One of the 18th Inst. for exchanging Captain Greene, who was made Prisoner1 at the Cedars in Canada in 1776, with an Extract from a Letter of Major General Schuyler on that Subject.2

Another of the 18th Inst. declining to accept General Schuyler’s Resignation—and a third of the 16th Inst., concerning the Issuing Commissaries.3

The Subjects of your Excellency’s Letter of the 15th Inst., will I am persuaded meet with all the Attention due to their Importance.

Regulations for the cloathing Department are under consideration & I hope soon to have the pleasure of transmitting them to You.4 I have the Honor to be With the greatest Respect And Esteem Your Excellency’s Most Obedt Servt.

LB, DNA:PCC, item 14. GW replied to this letter on 24 March.

1This word was written inadvertently as “Prisoners” on the manuscript.

2The enclosed copy of this act regarding Capt. Ebenezer Green (Greene; 1746–1786) of Lyme, N.H., which Congress passed on 19 March rather than on 18 March, has not been identified, but see JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 13:338. Green, who had been appointed a captain in Col. Timothy Bedel’s regiment of New Hampshire rangers on 22 Jan. 1776, was captured on 19 May 1776 when the regiment surrendered at the Cedars, a small outpost on the St. Lawrence River about thirty miles west of Montreal. When on 8 June 1776 Brig. Gen. Benedict Arnold arranged a cartel for the release of the prisoners, Green and three other American officers remained behind as hostages to guarantee the reciprocal freeing of an equal number of British prisoners by the Americans. Congress refused in July 1776 to ratify the cartel on grounds that the British allegedly had allowed their Indian allies to kill some of the American prisoners before they were released to Arnold (see JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 5:454–58, 533–39). Paroled from New York City on 1 Jan. 1777, Green returned home, but the dispute over the cartel prevented him from regaining his full freedom (see Green to Congress, 15 Feb. 1780, DLC:GW). Congress attempted to get around that problem in its resolution of 19 March 1779 by directing GW to include Green’s exchange in the cartel that GW recently had been authorized to negotiate with the British (see GW to Henry Clinton, 14 March, and n.6). That effort proved abortive, however, and Green was not exchanged until 9 Feb. 1782 (see Green’s petition to the New Hampshire assembly, 19 Oct. 1785, in Hammond, Rolls description begins Isaac W. Hammond, ed. Rolls of the Soldiers in the Revolutionary War, 1775, to May 1777. . . [vol. 1]; Rolls of the Soldiers in the Revolutionary War, May, 1777, to 1780 . . . [vol. 2]; Rolls and Documents relating to Soldiers in the Revolutionary War . . . [vols. 3-4]. New Hampshire Provincial and State Papers, vols. 14–17. Concord and Manchester, N.H., 1885–89. description ends , 4:461–62; see also Samuel Huntington to GW, 21 Feb. 1780 (DLC:GW); GW to Huntington, 6–8 March 1780 (DNA:PCC, item 152); GW to Abraham Skinner, 12 April, 14 June, and 8 Aug. 1781, all DLC:GW; and GW to Skinner, 28 Aug. 1781, PWacD: Sol Feinstone Collection, on deposit at PPAmP). The enclosed extract from Maj. Gen. Philip Schuyler’s letter to Henry Laurens of 12 Jan. 1778, the first paragraph of which concerns Captain Green’s desire to receive his back pay and to be exchanged, has not been found, but the full letter is in DNA:PCC, item 153 (see also JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 10:74).

3The enclosed copies of these two acts have not been identified, but both are in JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends . After some debate on whether to accept Schuyler’s resignation, Congress on 18 March resolved that “the President be directed to acquaint Major General Schuyler, that the situation of the army renders it inconvenient to accept his resignation, and therefore Congress cannot comply with his request” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 13:332–35; see also Jay’s two letters to Schuyler of 21 March in Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 12:216–18). For Schuyler’s successful renewal of his request to resign his commission, see Schuyler to GW, 3 April, and Jay to GW, 20 April, DLC:GW.

On 16 March, Congress resolved: “Whereas the issuing commissaries of provisions are by their appointments attached to particular departments, which, from a change of circumstances, and the position of the army, is become inconvenient... That all issuing commissaries shall, for the future, attend and perform the duties of their office, at such places and with such detachments of the army as shall be directed by the Commander in Chief or commissary general of issues” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 13:321–22).

4For Congress’s reform of the department on 23 March, see JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 13:353–60.

Index Entries