George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General Thomas Mifflin, 29 May 1777

To Major General Thomas Mifflin

Head Quarters Middle Brook 29th May 1777.

Dear Sir

I observe, by the late regulation of the Quarter Master General’s department, that the appointment of the Deputies and Assistants is left to you, subject to my approbation.1 As I must suppose, that you will appoint none, but such as are sufficiently qualified for their respective offices, I hope I shall not be under the disagreeable necessity of putting a negative upon any of your nominations. One matter I would guard you against, and that is, not to suffer the Solicitation of any persons in favour of their Friends, to induce you to make appointments that you would not think fully competent, were you left to the exercise of your own judgment. I know it is often hard to withstand such Sollications, but the good of the Service and the reputation of your department requires it. Genl Sullivan writes me, that you had appointed the late Major Jacob Morris, Deputy Quarter Master General, to a grand Division of the Army, and desires my confirmation.2 I suppose the matter is so, but as I have it not from you, I cannot with regularity or propriety give an answer. I would just remark, that Mr Morris, in my opinion, is by no means qualified for such an Office. He is a very young Man, and cannot have had any experience in the line to which he is promoted. I therefore, fear, that the Solicitation of his Friends and not your own choice has influenced you. But, if the appointment is made, I must confirm it. Had I known any thing of this matter before, I should have made an objection upon another account. Mr Morris, in a very abrupt manner, and upon the most frivolous pretences, resigned a Majority in one of the New York Regiments,3 and I had determined to have kept him from any further promotion, at least till he had fully seen the folly of his behaviour, for a majority was as much or rather more than he had a right to expect.

Colo: Meade informs me, that you find it difficult to procure Teamsters for Horses that draw in a line, and that therefore you wished for liberty to alter the Waggons already built and make those on hand go double. To this I have no objection, if the Service will be expedited by it. I am &ca

G. Washington

Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1See Congress’s resolutions of 14 May in JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 7:355–59.

2Sullivan wrote to GW on 25 May from Princeton: “This morning General Morris with his Son Jacob Honoured me with a visit & Informed that Genl Mifflin had appointed Jacob one of his Deputies & that he might take the Department if agreeable to me provided your Excellenceys assent could be obtained; he being Desireous of this Department begs me to write your Excellencey & Solicit your assent” (DLC:GW).

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