George Washington Papers

Circular to Various States, 4 August 1777

Circular to Various States

Philadelphia August 4th 1777


The great expence & Loss of time that has attended the recruiting service in most of the states, & the little advantage derived from it has induced Congress to recommend the executive Powers of each to adopt certain new Regulations for promoting this Important & essential Business, & for taking it entirely out of the Hands of the Officers of the Army. The Resolve on this subject & the regulations recommended, pass’d on the 31st Ulto & will, I presume, be transmitt’d you by the President1—I will not urge the expediency of carrying this proceeding into immediate execution. I will only observe, that the necessity is Obvious, & demands our most active attention. The principal cause of my troubling you at this time, is to request, that after the persons recommended are appointed in your state, you will transmit me their Names—their places of residence, & those design’d for the Rendezvous of Recruits & Deserters—As soon as I am advis’d upon these Subjects, I shall recall all the Officers now recruiting, & order them forthwith to Join their respective Corps—Before I conclude, I would beg leave to mention, that the Success of this Interesting Business, in all its parts, will depend much upon a judicious choice of those, who are to be employed in it, & that I think the Districts should not be too large & Extensive. I have the Honor to be Sir Your mo: Obedt Servant

Go: Washington

LS, addressed to George Clinton, in John Fitzgerald’s writing, CSmH; LS, addressed to Nicholas Cooke, RHi; LS, addressed to the president of the Massachusetts council, M-Ar; LS, addressed to the New Hampshire council, Nh-Ar; LS, addressed to Thomas Johnson, CSmH; LB, Ct: Trumbull Papers; transcript, addressed to Thomas Wharton, MH: Jared Sparks Collection. Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript DLC:GW. The draft indicates that this circular was sent to the governors of Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, but the Varick transcript, which was copied from the draft, adds the name of Delaware governor Thomas McKean to the list. The LS sent to Maryland governor Thomas Wharton was sold in Philadelphia by Stan. V. Henkels in 1912 (American Book-Prices Current, 18 [1912], 961). The cover of the LS sent to Clinton contains GW’s signature as well as the misdated docket “Augt 5th 1777.”

1For these resolutions, see Hancock to GW, 2 Aug., n.1, and 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 , 8:593–94.

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