George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Joseph Spencer, 24 January 1778

To Joseph Spencer

Head Quarters [Valley Forge] 24th Januy 1778

Dear sir

Your Favor of the 7th Inst. has this day come to my hand inclosing a Return of the force of the Enemy at Rhode Island—I have for some time understood that Lord Howe sail’d for Rhode Island with more than 100 Transports in order to Winter there which must be those mention’d by you—I am concern’d to find that the want of Money in that Department has put you to so many inconveniencies, & that the Prices of the necessary Articles there, have become so exceedingly high, which must be the Source of infinite difficulties.1 This proceeds from the great depreciation of our Currency and the avarice of the people and not from a real scarcity of many Essential Articles. I hope the Tax recommended by Congress will be collected in the several States, and that our Money will become more valuable.2 Nothing will place it on a more respectable footing than lessening the Quantity.3 I am Sir Your most Obed. servt

G. Washington

Df, in John Fitzgerald’s and Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Robert Hanson Harrison wrote the remainder of the draft except the closing sentence, which was written by Fitzgerald.

2GW is referring to the eighth article of confederation, passed by Congress on 15 Nov. 1777 (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 , 9:913–14).

3An additional paragraph in John Fitzgerald’s writing was crossed out: “You have my sincere thanks for the many services you have render’d during your command in the Army—& I am satisfied you will be amply rewarded in your honorable Retirement by the approbation of a good Conscience, in having faithfully discharg’d the important trust reposed in you, as long as your time of life & State of Health would permit.”

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