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To George Washington from Lieutenant Colonel William Palfrey, 13 July 1779

From Lieutenant Colonel William Palfrey

Philadelphia 13th July 1779.

Sir

I have been honored with yours of the 8th Instt with several Letters inclosed, which I sent to the Post Office agreeable to your Excellency’s Request.

On the 10th of June last I sent to Mr Harrison Dy Paymaster General in Williamsburg, 100,000 dollars for the purpose of paying the Troops in that department,1 and doubt not that before this time, General Scott’s demands have been satisfied.

If any Complaints should arise for want of seasonable supplies of Money, your Excellency may be assured that it will be occasioned by the neglect of making timely application. The Congress and Treasury Board are so extremely attentive to this matter, that the Pay of the Army supersedes all other Claims whatever.

When I parted with your Excellency it was my determined Resolution to resign my Office,2 but the Congress having thought it highly necessary that all the Accounts for the Pay of the Army should be collected and properly arranged, have order’d me to hold my Office in this City, in order to accomplish that Business.3 It is a difficult and laborious task, but I hope by patience and Industry to be able to wade through it. The Accounts are much scatter’d and difficult to collect.

It will ever give me the highest satisfaction to render your Excellency any Services in this place, being with the most unfeigned Sentiments of Esteem & Respect Your Excellency’s most obedt & very humble Servant

Wm Palfrey Paymr Genl

ALS, DLC:GW; LB, MH: Palfrey Family Papers.

1Congress actually authorized this transfer from Palfrey to Benjamin Harrison, Jr., on 12 June (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 14:723).

2Paymaster General Palfrey elaborated on this sentiment in a letter to Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene written 14 Jan. at Marlborough, Mass.: “When I had the pleasure of conversing with you last, I told you of my intention to quit the Service … My Family is large, My Children all Young, Mrs Palfrey not of a very hearty Constitution and unable to support the fatigues, which a constant attention to provide for so many naturally requires—besides, I have not ‘a male in the House, not so much as a mouse’ to assist her. Therefore I think, after four Years Service, in which I have spent great part of my Original Stock for the support of my Family, it is high time for me to turn my attention to some way of Business to prevent my being a Beggar, which must be the Case if I should continue in my present office another Year” (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 3:165–67).

3For the resolution that Congress adopted on 29 May, 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 14:664–66.

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