From John Nicholson1
[Philadelphia] November 28, 1792. “In the year 1780 Congress required certain portions of provision called Specific Supplies from the different States,2 in 1781 The late superintendant3 changed the mode of supplying the Army into Contracts,4 at which time part of the provisions purchased by Pennsa. for the United states according to the former System remained undelivered in several Mills & places in the state—this so purchased and paid for hath been justly claimed by me in exhibiting the Acct of Pennsa. against the Union, and in support of it I wish to adduce to the Commissioners testimony that information was given by the State of these purchases, this hath been done in part by these provisions at several places having been accounted for by the Contractors per their Accounts,5 and for what remained I applied to Mr. Morris,6 but not trusting to his memory he refers me to his letters or official papers for the information.7 I therefore respectfully request that you would cause an examination of those papers … from June 1781 to Novr. 1782.…”
LC, Division of Public Records, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg.
1. Nicholson was comptroller general of Pennsylvania.
3. Nicholson is referring to Robert Morris, who was superintendent of finance from July, 1781, through November, 1784.
5. During 1782 the state of Pennsylvania was given credit in its account of specific supplies for several small sums charged against five contractors for provisioning posts in Pennsylvania (D, RG 217, Journals of the Office of the Register of the Treasury, 1776–1799, Journal “B,” October 29, 1781–May 22, 1784, National Archives; D, RG 217, “Ledger B, 1776–1789, Register’s Office,” National Archives).
6. Under the date of February 7, 1783, the following note appears in Robert Morris’s diary: “Mr. John Nicholson Auditor of the State of Pennsylvania applied respecting the Accounts of specific Articles purchased by me and charged in the Account of that State, I soon convinced him how advantageous those Purchases are to the State but told him if the State chose to leave those Purchases for Account of the United States and commute the whole Sum of Money paid to me into the specific Articles at the Prices they bore when the same ought to have been delivered, I would chearfully acquiesce therein” (D, partly in the handwriting of Robert Morris, Robert Morris Papers, Library of Congress).
7. Morris to Nicholson, November 14, 1792 (ALS, Robert Morris Papers, Library of Congress).