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To George Washington from John Bubenheim Bayard, 8 September 1777

From John Bubenheim Bayard

Philadelphia 8th Septem. 1777.


At a Time when the personal Exertion of every friend to Liberty is so essentially necessary it is with the greatest reluctance that the General Assembly of Pennsylvania find themselves under the Necessity of calling for some of their Members from the Army. By the Constitution of Pennsylvania a certain Number of Members is necessary in order to constitute a Quorum of its representatives—that Number cannot be made up without the presence of some Gentlemen of the Militia now in actual Service We need not remind your Excellency that the utmost Exertion of the civil powers of Government is, at this Juncture, highly necessary to call forth the Military Force of this State. I must therefore at the request and in the Name of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania desire that you will lay your Excellency’s Commands on the following Gentlemen immediately to attend their Duty in Assembly, They are Col. Robert Lollar Colo. Philip Marsteller Colo. Alexander Lowrey Colo. William Clark Colo. Daniel Hunter Col. Baltzar Gear and Colo. John Golden1—We make Use of the Word Command in hopes that your Excellency also will use it with respect to those Gentlemen as their Spirit may perhaps construe a bare Licence not a sufficient Justification to leave the Army at this important Crisis. I have the Honor to be Your Excellencys most obedient & most humble servt

John Bayard, Speaker


John Bubenheim Bayard (1738–1807), a respectable Philadelphia merchant who had been active in the American cause from an early date, was a member of the Pennsylvania general assembly 1776–79 and 1784, and he served several terms as its speaker. Bayard also was a member of the Pennsylvania council of safety 1776–77 and the state board of war during 1777. As colonel of the 2d Regiment of the Philadelphia City Associators, Bayard saw action at the battles of Princeton, Brandywine, and Germantown. He became colonel of the 4th Regiment of Philadelphia City Associators in 1779, and he served as a member of the Pennsylvania supreme executive council 1781–82 and as a delegate to the Continental Congress 1785–86. Bayard moved to New Brunswick, N.J., in 1788.

1Robert Loller (1740–1808), a farmer, surveyor, and sometime schoolteacher who lived at Hatboro, Pa., was lieutenant colonel of the 4th Regiment of the Philadelphia City Associators until 1778 when he became paymaster of the county’s militia. On 24 July 1777 the Pennsylvania supreme executive council directed Loller to survey the Delaware River and adjacent land below the Christina River, a task in which he was employed for eleven days. Loller also participated in the battles of Princeton, Brandywine, and Germantown, and at Germantown he was said to have been knocked unconscious by the concussion from a cannonball striking a nearby fence. Loller served in the Pennsylvania general assembly 1777–80 and 1784–89. Philip Marsteller (1741–1803), who served in the assembly 1776–77, was major of the 2d Regiment of Lancaster County militia during the summer of 1776, and in July 1777 he became lieutenant colonel of the county’s 1st Regiment. Marsteller was appointed paymaster of the Lancaster County militia in August 1777, and he later became a foragemaster. After the war Marsteller moved to Alexandria, Va., and in Dec. 1786 he agreed to act as GW’s commission agent there (see GW to Marsteller, 15 Dec. 1786, in Papers, Confederation Series description begins W. W. Abbot et al., eds. The Papers of George Washington, Confederation Series. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1992–97. description ends , 4:453–55). Marsteller was a pallbearer at GW’s funeral in 1799. Alexander Lowrey (1723–1805), a prominent fur trader in Lancaster, Pa., served almost continuously in the assembly 1775–89, and during the war he was lieutenant colonel of the 6th Regiment of Lancaster County militia in 1776 and colonel of the county’s 3d Regiment 1777–80 and 7th Regiment 1780–83. He participated in the Battle of Brandywine. Balser Geehr (Gehr, Gear; 1740–1801), a Berks County gunsmith and farmer who served in the assembly in 1777 and 1781–82, was colonel of the county’s 4th Regiment of militia.

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