George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Robert Howe, 25 August 1781

Peeks Kill 25th August 1781

Dear sir

Every circumstance [militates] to confirm me in opinion that your Excellency intends marching with the army under your immediate command to the Relief of Virginia, the two Carolina’s & Georgia. I wish you Dear sir in that, as in all other Cases from the Bottom of my soul success, Honour, glory and safety. The wisdom of the measure deserves the highest applause and I anticipate the deliverance of those countries in general, & my own in particular, with a pleasure both Patriotic and personal. At the same time however I have it much to lament that I had not been included in the Details for that service. Perhaps it would be impossible for a military man Even in common Cases of active Operation not to Request his not Bearing a Part in them, but when Here all will probably remain in a state of inactivity, when the war is to be waged in the Vicinity of my own state, and must infalibly progress into it, when my friends & my Country will Expect me to attend your Excellency, & will wonder that I do not, & when malevolence will suppose then upon an occasion so Essentially interesting to me I could not have been left behind had I been worthy to have been taken on, my Anxiety and Mortification is beyond all Expression. When my fortune was in Being it was so remote from this army that I never requested a furlough to attend to it, because to have properly arranged my affairs and to have travel’d backwards & forwards would have requir’d Six or Eight months at least, a length of absence I could never think of asking, nor would I have receiv’d had it been offer’d me; But when Your Excellency was to move with a part of the Army to my native Country, and when commands were not made out by Divisions but by Detail, I should have felt it an obligation, & consider’d it a happiness to have served upon an Occasion so Glorious, and to have Embraced a Military Opportuni[ty] of Collecting those Scatter’d Fragments of fortune the Enemy had left me, which trifling as they are, are now the only Barriers between me and poverty Extreme. This last consideration consequential indeed to me could not [as I am illegible ] but have been obvious to you & that it had not its Influence upon a mind like your Excellency’s so fraught with Benevolence as in all other Cases to have attended to the mere Ease and convenience of your officers, leaves me destitute of a hope (tho’ I am not con[scious] of deserving it) that I am not so fallen in your opinion as to be held by you as unfit for operations of importance however Essentially I may be Personally interested in them. Of this sir you may be assured that thro’ the whole course of a life adverse in almost every Circumstance to Felicity, & disapointed as I have been in almost every darling wish of my heart, my peace never receiv’d so deep a wound as the present circumstance has given it. It shall not however Even for a moment Call off my attention from my Duty in this Department such as it may be, nor in the least abate that Zeal to promote your Excellency’s Honour and happiness that has Ever activated my Bosom, for I have felt, and do feel for you, a Personal Esteem and Affection, & have the highest Reverence for your Publick Character and Conduct, & to deserve your applause has been and is, among the most Earnest wishes of my heart. This Having been, and being the case, How Poignant must be my anxiety when circumstances indicate so strongly, that you Sir suppose me unworthy of a [drust] which interest, inclination, ambition & Duty to my Native Country Combine to Render inexpressibly desirable to me. Pardon Dear Sir the liberty I have taken in this address, I am writing in Confidence to my General, whose Candour I know will applaud me for feelings I should have wanted Sensibility not to have been impress[’d] with, & sincerity not to have Declared. With Repeated wishes for your Glory and happiness & with the most affectionate Respect I have the Honour to be Dear sir your Excellencys most obt hum. servt

Robt Howe

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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