George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major General Arthur St. Clair, 10 April 1778

To Major General Arthur St. Clair

Valley-forge Aprl 10th 1778.

Dear Sir,

Majr Schull leaving Camp without giving me a second oppertunity of speaking to him, prevented another offer which I had in contemplation, and which I am still disposed to make him, if it can be done without carrying with it the appearance of importunity, and consequently embarrassment, if his inclination leads to a different pursuit.

The place I had in view for him was in my family—assistant Secretary—the good character given me of this Gentn, added to the favorable opinion I have imbibed of his abilities, and prudent deportment, makes this a desirable object; and I should think myself fortunate in the success of it, provided he could be brought into the Office with his own entire consent.

The pay will be Sixty dollars and four Rations a Month—his expences trifling, as he will have the use of my Table & be found forage for his Horses.

I will now, without appologizing for the freedom I take, and the consequent trouble you will receive, request the favor of you to discover, if you can, whether the offer would be agreeable to Major Schull, or not, and let me know as soon as you can1—If I have reason to believe that it would be agreeable to him to come into my Family in the capacity abovementioned, I would immediately write to him on this Subject—on the other hand if I found he had the least unwillingness I should decline all thoughts of it. I am Dr Sir Yr most Obed. & Affe. Ser.

Go: Washington

ALS, CSmH; ADfS, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1On 14 April, Peter Scull wrote GW from Reading, Pa.: “General St Clair has been so obliging as to inform me, that he is empowered to offer me the post of Assistant Secretary, in your Excellency’s Family. I do assure your Excellency without the least affectation, that I want words to convey to you, an adequate Idea of my sensations on this occasion. I would wish to make your Excellency sensible, how gratefully I receive this fresh instance of your favorable opinion, & how extremely my feelings are hurt, to find my situation & late connexions in the commercial line, render it totally impracticable for me to embrace so favorable, so desirable an object. It is a Station, Sir, which would so fully answer my most flattering hopes, that no interested considerations of my own should occasion a moment’s hesitation: But when I reflect that a large & young Family of Brothers and Sisters are dependant on my industry for support; the tyes of humanity & affection oblige me to relinquish, what, in other circumstances, it would be my utmost ambition to obtain.

“I beg your Excellency will permit me most solemnly to aver upon my Honor that it is not from disaffection or any kind of influence that I leave the Army: On the contrary, Sir, my sentiments have been invariably the same; & let me add that personal attachment to your Excellency & Gratitude for the Favors you have condescended to shew me, greatly encrease the Distress I feel on quitting a life I am so exceedingly fond of; & make m[e] more sincerely lament the necessity that enforces it” (PHi: Gratz Collection).

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