George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Joshua Wentworth, 15 June 1776

To Joshua Wentworth

New York June 15. 1776


I received yours of the 1st Instant and am to Inform you, your Letters of the 15 and 22 of April advising of the Capture of the Brig Elizabeth by Commodore Manly, were put into the hands of Mr Moylan to answer, but by some means or other were not, nor can they be found—It will be therefore necessary to acquaint me again with the Contents If you esteem my answer to them material.1

I have agreable to your request transmitted you Copies of such Resolves of Congress respecting your department as are in my hands—they will point out the line of Conduct to be Observed in General cases which I apprehend must be pursued—But If there is any thing particular in the Capture you mention, which is not provided for, It will be proper that It should be forwarded me in order to my referring It to Congress for their Opinion—It is likely the Memorial you mention, If presented, has already occasioned ’em to determine upon the matter—If they have not, and I find It necessary, I shall transmit them such a Representation of the Circumstances of this Capture as you may send me, not Intending myself to point out any rule of decision not Authorized by Congress. I am &c.

LB, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Wentworth addressed his letters of 15 April and 1 June to Stephen Moylan, and apparently the one of 22 April, which has not been found, was also addressed to him. GW incorporated an extract from Wentworth’s letter of 15 April 1776 in his letter to Hancock of 25–26 April 1776. In his letter of 1 June, Wentworth wrote Moylan “I Adress’d you last of 22d April (& previously of 15) on the Captor of a Brigt. Elizabeth bro’t into this Port by Commodore Manly &ca since which I have not been favd with your answer—I can easily Conceive of your Engagements on matters of much greater concernment[.] Yet I shall be much oblig’d (if a leisure moment) by a reply to the letters Quoted above, with the Continental resolves, respecting my department they not appearing this way[.] The Sufferers of Boston have sent forward a memorial to the Congress, desireg their particular attention to this Captor. The Captor’s expect their full Quota of the neet proceed of Vessel & Cargo, wch no doubt will be the resolution of Congress; but a dificulty arrises how I shall come at that, unless the whole is sold at Auction—If Each claimant is to receive the ⅔ds of the proceeds, the dificulty will be obviated; but if the ⅔ds of the Good[s] that may be proved, the dificulty will stil remain. Those Good[s] that are not fully proved will be sold for the Continental acct—Your advice & direction will be exceedingly usefull to the mode necessary for me to persue” (DLC:GW). For Wentworth’s further actions relating to the Elizabeth, see his letters to GW of 2 July and 26 Aug. 1776 in DLC:GW.

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