George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from John Mathews, 2 May 1781

Philadelphia May 2 1781

Dear sir

You will no doubt think it some thing singular, that the inclosed should be of so old a date and handed to you with this, but the reason of it is, that it was meant to go by Govr Rutledge, who intended paying a visit at Head Quarters, but being taken ill tho’ expecting daily to be in condition to prosecute his journey finding that not likely to be soon the case, I have requested Mr Duane to be the Bearer of it.

Our last accounts from Europe are very flattering particularly from Spain. From some circumstances that have lately taken place at that Court, it seems more favourably disposed towards us than it hath hitherto been. And as soon as some late determination of Congress can arrive there, we have little room to doubt, but what our expectations in that quarter will be fully compleated.

The decisive measures pursuing by Holland supported as they are, by the strongest assurances from Russia, places the war in Europe on the most formidable footing against G: Britain Although the Emperor of Germany puts on the appearance of war (and as, is generally supposed in favor of G: Britain) yet it is most likely he will be too much over awed, to enter seriously into it.

How unfortunate is it, that with all these bright prospects in our favor, we have little or no ability to profit by them. However, as you will see Mr Duane, and who proposes making a full communication to your Excy of the present state of our affairs, I shall forbear to ingroce your Time with any further observations on that subject.

The inclosed extract of a letter, sent us by Genl Moultrie, will shew yr Excy what a deplorable state our unfortunate prisoners at Chs town are likely to be reduced to unless some thing can be immediately done for their relief. We are further informed Ld Chs Montagu, has enlisted between 5 and 600 of our Continentals, & was daily engaging more, all intended for the West India service, so that they must be for ever lost to us. The Committee of correspondence, by order of Congress, have written to Genl Greene on this subject; to take the most effectual measures to effect an exchange as far as his power extend, but its likely he will want some instructions from you on the business.

I have the honor to be with the highest respect and sentiments of the most sincere Esteem yr Excys most Obet servt

Jno. Mathews

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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