George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Samuel Huntington, 29 December 1779

From Samuel Huntington

Philadelphia 29th Decr 1779.

Sir,

Your Excellency will receive herewith enclos’d two Acts of Congress of the 27th & 28th instant, for regulating the Post Office & discharging all Express riders retain’d in Constant pay at public Expence.1

It is expected this regulation of the Post Office punctually executed will supercede the necessity ⟨of⟩ keeping Express riders in Constant p⟨ay,⟩ & in a great Measure save the Expence of private Expresses, tho’ fro⟨m⟩ Necessity they must some times be employed on particular Occasions. I have the honour to be with perfect respect your Excy’s hble Servt

Sam. Huntington President

LS, DLC:GW; LB, DNA:PCC, item 14. Mutilated material on the LS is supplied in angle brackets from the LB. Although the LS is docketed as answered on 4 Jan. 1780, GW replied to Huntington on 5 Jan. and argued that “the exigency and good of the service will not admit of a general discharge of the Express Riders” (DNA:PCC, item 152; see also GW to Nathanael Greene, 2 Jan. [PPAmP: Nathanael Greene Papers]; and Charles Pettit to Greene, 1 Jan., Alexander Hamilton to Greene, 4 Jan., and Greene to Hamilton, same date, in Greene Papers, description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends 5:221, 232–33). Congress passed a resolution on 14 Jan. that authorized GW to retain as many expresses “as he may judge necessary for the immediate purposes of the army” (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 16:56; see also John C. Fitzpatrick, “The Continental Express Rider,” Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine 57 [1923]: 650–62).

1The enclosed copy of a resolution that Congress adopted on 27 Dec. 1779 reads: “That the post Office be so regulated as that the post shall set out, and arrive at the place where Congress shall be sitting twice in every week to go so far as Boston in the State of Massachusetts bay, and to Charlestown in the State of South Carolina.

“That all express riders in the pay of the United States be discharged, and that no established express riders be in future maintained at the public expence. …

“That as the duties of the postmaster General & Comptroller will hence forward be considerably increased by the above resolutions, The salary of the postmaster General be five thousand dollars per Annum And the Comptroller’s be four thousand dollars per Annum” (DLC:GW; 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 15:1411–12, and Huntington to Richard Bache, 2 Dec., 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 14:245).

The enclosed copy of a resolution that Congress adopted on 28 Dec. reads: “That the rate of postage until the farther Order of Congress be twenty prices upon the sums paid in the Year 1775.

“That single letters directed to any Officers of the Line, and all Letters directed to General Officers or to Officers commanding in a seperate department, And all Letters to & from the Ministers, Commissioners & Secretaries of these United States at foreign Courts be free” (DLC:GW; 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 15:1415, and General Orders, 2 Jan. 1780).

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