George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Brigadier General George Clinton, 21 March 1777

From Brigadier General George Clinton

Fort Montgomery, New York, 21 March 1777. Writes on behalf of a John Griffiths who wants to travel to England to attend to his wife’s estate.

“Some Time since a Relative of Mrs Griffiths (I think a Brother) died in England & by his Will devised to her or her Son a considerable Estate in Lands on Condition the Devissee shoud return to England within a limitted Time & possess it—Mr Griffiths for this Purpose applied to the Convention of this State & obtained Leave to go to England from them;1 But Govr Tryon refusing to let any Passengergs on Board the Vessel in which Mr Griffiths intended to take Passage without their taking a certain Oath which he conceived inconsistent with his Engagements to the Convention & the Rights of a Freeman refused & was thereby prevented from prosecuting his Journey—He has lately received Information that such Steps are taken that unless he can be speedilly in England his Family are likely to loose their Interest there And proposes waiting on your Excellency for Permission to go there—I can with the greatest Confidence recommend him as a Gentleman of too much Honor & Integrity to make any Ill Use of any Indulgence your Excellency may Please to shew him on this Occasion.”

ALS, DLC:GW. John Griffiths (1709–1783), a native of Haverford West in Wales who had settled in New York in the 1730s, lived in Orange County, New York. Griffiths was a merchant and the proprietor of the Orange Iron Works.

1A printed version of this letter which may have been taken from a draft or retained copy that burned in the 1911 fire at the New York State Library in Albany, reads “applied last Spring to the Convention” (Hastings, Clinton Papers description begins Hugh Hastings and J. A. Holden, eds. Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804. 10 vols. 1899–1914. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends , 1:672–73). The New York committee of safety granted John Griffiths permission to travel to London on behalf of his wife Jane on 19 Mar. 1776 (see N.Y. Prov. Congress Journals description begins Journals of the Provincial Congress, Provincial Convention, Committee of Safety, and Council of Safety of the State of New-York, 1775–1776–1777. 2 vols. Albany, 1842. (Microfilm Collection of Early State Records). description ends , 1:372).

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