George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Laurens, 7 July 1778

From Henry Laurens

Philadelphia 7th July 1778.

Dear Sir.

I have had the honor of presenting to as many Members of Congress as have been convened in this City since the adjournment from York, Your Excellency’s several favors of the 28th & 30th June & 1st Inst: & at their special Instance have caused them to be printed for the information of the public.1

I arrived here on Tuesday last, but hitherto have not collected a sufficient number of States to form a Congress, consequently I have received no Commands.2 Your Excellency will therefore be pleased to accept this as the address of an Individual intended to assure you Sir of my hearty congratulations with my Country Men on the success of the American Arms under Your Excellency’s immedeate Command in the, late Battle of Monmouth & more particularly of my own happiness in the additional Glory atcheived by Your Excellency in retrieving the honor of these States in the Moment of an alarming dilemma.

It is not my design to attempt encomiums upon Your Excellency, I am as unequal to the task as the Act is unnecessary, Love & respect for Your Excellency is impressed on the Heart of every grateful American, & your Name will be revered by posterity. Our acknowledgements are especially due to Heaven for the preservation of Your Excellency’s person necessarily exposed for the Salvation of America to the most imminent danger in the late Action; that the same hand may at all times guide & Shield Your Excellency is the fervent wish of Dear sir Your much obliged & faithful humble servant3

Henry Laurens

ALS, DLC:GW; LB, ScHi: Henry Laurens Papers. A notation on the letter book indicates that this letter was carried “by [Joseph] Gray.”

1There was no favor of 30 June; Laurens meant GW’s letter of 29 June (see Laurens to GW, 8 July). On 4 July, Laurens wrote John Dunlap, editor of the Pennsylvania Packet (Philadelphia), asking him to publish the three letters, and they appeared in a special one-page issue of the Packet dated 6 July.

2The previous Tuesday was 30 June. The Continental Congress, which had been adjourning from day to day since 2 July, reconvened on this date ( 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 , 11:671–72).

3GW wrote Laurens on 11 July, acknowledging this letter and continuing: “My warmest acknowledgements are due for the indulgent terms in which you express your sense of my conduct, in our late rencounter, with the British army. Not to be pleased with the approbation and esteem of any of the virtuous and discerning part of my countrymen would indicate a want of sensibility; but I assure you, my dear Sir, there is no man on whose good opinion & friendship, I set a higher value than on your’s; and every fresh instance, I receive of them, cannot fail of affording me the most sincere & genuine satisfaction. At the sametime, it is both a pleasing and humiliating consideration to me, that the partiality of my friend⟨s⟩ greatly overates the importance of my Services” (ALS, DLC: John and Henry Laurens Papers).

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