George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Henry Laurens, 11 June 1778

To Henry Laurens

[Valley Forge, 11 June 1778]

Dr Sir

I thank you for your favor of the 8th which was duly recieved.

I must take the freedom to hint to you, that if in the packets transmitted by this conveyance there are any Letters for persons, with whom you are not acquainted, or in whose firmness and attachment you have not an entire confidence, it may not be improper to open them. This I am persuaded would be the case; However I am the more induced to mention it, as the obvious nay almost sole design of Several Letters which have come to my hands is to give the Commissioners the most favourable characters, for candor and integrity and to establish a belief, that they have the most competent and extensive powers. The Letters coming sealed, was sufficient to awaken my suspicions and I shall not transmit a single one of this complexion. You and I, I am convinced move on the same principle, and therefore I am certain, I hazard nothing in taking this liberty.1 I am Dr Sir with great friendship and esteem Your Most Obedt & obligd H. servant

Go: Washington

Df, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The letter was marked “Private.”

1This letter, which Harrison marked “Private,” was sent under cover of a public letter of this date from GW to Laurens: “The Letters, which I have the Honor to transmit you by this conveyance, were sent by a flag last night to our advanced post at Radnor, and from thence to Head Quarters this morning” (DLC:GW). Congress read GW’s public letter on 13 June (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 , 11:605). For the source and contents of the packet, see Henry Clinton to GW, 9 June.

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