From Elbridge Gerry
Lancaster [Pa.] Sepr 24th 1777
In Consequence of your Letter of the 22d directed to the President or any Member of Congress,1 I have conferred with William Henry Esqr. of this Place2 upon the most expeditious Method of collecting the Arms & Accoutrements in the Hands of the Inhabitants here, & he is of opinion that it may be accomplished by your Warrant to him grounded on the late Resolution of Congress for that & other Purposes.3 As there is not a prospect of having a Congress or Board of War for several Days to give him Authority, & the Articles are immediately wanted, he has consented to proceed in the Business without Delay, in Expectation that on the Receipt of this You will give him full Powers to justify his Conduct & date them the 22d, that the Time of his Transaction may comport with his Commission. With Wishes of Success to your Excellency & the Cause in which You are engaged I remain sir very respectfully your most humble Sert
ALS, MH: Jared Sparks Collection. Gerry addressed the cover to “His Excellency General Washington at or near to Potts Grove,” and he franked it.
1. This letter has not been found.
2. William Henry (1729–1786), a prominent gunsmith and inventor in Lancaster County, Pa., who had been principal armorer for the Pennsylvania provincial troops during the French and Indian War, served as a delegate to the Pennsylvania general assembly during 1776 and as a member of the state council of safety during 1777. Congress issued Henry several warrants for the purchase of equipment and the repair of arms between 1777 and 1780, and in April 1778 the Board of War appointed him superintendent of arms and military accouterments. Henry served as treasurer of Lancaster County 1777–85, and he was a delegate to the Continental Congress 1784–85.