George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Robert Howe, 25 February 1783

Camp 25th Feby 1783

Dear sir

I have delayd answering your Excellency’s favour in reply to mine requesting leave of absence until the matter betwixt Genl Hazen and Mr Edwards was determined, as it appeard to be your wish (to me always a Law) that I should remain ’till it was over. As motives of Business induced the request I made, the delay has not been without inconvenience to me, but my own affairs Shall always be, as indeed they always have been, subordinate to my Publick duty—I think with your Excellency that too many General Officers ought by no means to be absent at a time, & perhaps I have not been without Surprise at the number who have, & the Earnestness with which some have requested it. I am very Confident that your Excellency by kindly accommodating to their convenience & inclination has not only hurt your own feelings but that you have made the Burthen of command much heavier to your self. There are some who seem to think the Army made rather for them, than they for the Army, & Contrive to Solace themselves at Home, or in the Lap of pleasure until the Campaign cCmmences, & [then] return and assume the most Honourable & Sprightly commands if they can. I rejoice that I can not be rank’d in this number, because except the time when your Excellency honour’d me by permitting me to Attend you to Rhode Island & the few weeks you then indulged me with to Reconnoitre the States of Massachusetts & Newhamshire, I have not in the whole time I have been under your immediate Command, (now near four year) been out of the Camp, unless, for a day or so, in its Vicinity, & Even that very seldom for I can not admit the time I was [Persecuted] by Mr Walton under Colour of the State of Georgia, & the time I was miserably detain’d afterwards for want of money to pay my way out of Philadelphia as leave of absence—A [severer tour] of Duty than that never in the Course of an Eight years war having fallen to my Lot—the calls of [   ]Business and inclination are common to all, & I will be bold to say that Except your Excellency who have nobly and intirely Devoted your self to the cause of your Country & have set at [   ]the importunities of both as much, as any man in this Army was no [leave] to be given to General officers at all; I could chearfully remain forever in Camp, on which it is given will content my self with a third of the allotted time, & would [even] not ask that, when I can possibly avoid it—as part of the Business I now wish to go upon is of a pecuniary nature, & in a manner Essential to my present Existence in the Army, another Part, if I am so happy as to Effect it, may probably [fit] (after the Peace) the Colour of my Future life; [but] neither object shall influence me if this necessity of service [absolutely] requires my presence; if it does not I should be glad of permission to set out tomorrow, I should be happy Sir to Execute any Comm[and] you may have—Having postpon’d my setting out So much beyond my time, I am afraid it will be impossible for me to finish my business by the 15th of April but if it can be done, I shall certainly be punctual [to] the time, or even if it is not I will be so if your Excellency injoins it, tho it should be ever so Detrimental to my self—[I have] take this Opportunity upon my [leaving] Camp my Dear Sir to thank your Excellency (as Earnestly I do) for your many Personal attentions to me, as well as official [ illegible Complying] with the requests I have presum’d to make to you, of which be assur’d I retain a [deep] sense, & I beg of you sir to believe, for in the sincerity of my heart I [   ] it, that I have an Affectionate Attachment to you, & feel every Earnest wish for your honour, glory & happiness, as well as every [desire] to promote them. I am Dear Sir with the greatest Respect & Regard your Excellency’s most obt hum. servt

Robt Howe

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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