George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to John Welles, Eleazer Wales and Edward Chinn, 22 September 1779

To John Welles, Eleazer Wales and Edward Chinn

Head Quarters West Point 22d Sepr 1779

Gentlemen

Your favr of the 1st Inst. came to my hands yesterday.1 I am exceedingly obliged to you for the information you give me respecting the mode that is adopted for the settlement of claims for waste &ca committed by the Army. I have been much embarrassed by applications of this nature, and where I have given order⟨s⟩ in the matter, it has been solely with a veiw of relieving individuals whose claims have been apparently well supported by vouchers from people of reputation and attachment. I remember that of Mrs McNeal was particularly so—Mr Smith made application to me a few weeks ago, but I gave him no satisfaction,2 and should he or any others apply again I shall refer them to the Board of treasury as you direct. I am with great Respect Gentn.

Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Welles, Wales, and Chinn were commissioners of accounts for the northern department (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 14:518).

Congress had appointed Eleazer Wales (1732-1794), of Hartford, Conn., commissioner of accounts on 3 Feb. 1778 (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 10:114). Claiming that he had been inadequately compensated, Wales resigned in June 1780 (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 17:513; 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 19:402). Wales, originally from Windham, Conn., was a graduate of both Yale College (1753, MA 1759) and Dartmouth College (1779). Before the Revolution, he briefly practiced medicine and was also licensed to preach. Sometime before his death, he moved to Chester, Mass., where he died.

1This letter has not been found.

2“Mr Smith” is probably the Patrick Smith who owned a farm near Fort Edward, New York. Col. Morgan Lewis, deputy quartermaster general for the northern department, in a letter of 7 Aug. to GW’s aide Alexander Hamilton, had requested assistance in obtaining compensation for damages to Smith’s home and farm caused by the occupation of American troops (see Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 2:125). For the petition of Mrs. McNeal (McNeil), which has not been identified, see John Stark to GW, 31 Aug. 1778, and GW to Stark, 8 Oct. 1778.

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