From Major John Clark, Jr.
[Middlebrook] March 11th 1779
May it please your Excellency
I waited at your quarters yesterday evening in hopes of seeing you, but was informed you were engaged; upon this, I requested Doctor McHenry to inform you I wanted leave of absence to regulate several matters in my department, as the Board of Treasury have lately made a new arrangement therein.
They have by a Resolve of the “23rd Feby 1779 appointed three Audrs for the different Districts, Wm Bedlow Esqr. for the Eastern, Alexander Fowler Esqr. for the Western, and Felix Varley Esqr. for the Southern,1 & they are severally directed to correspond with, make returns to, and conform to the modes that are or may be adopted for settlement of Accts by John Clark & James Johnston Esqrs. Audrs of the main Army, who are directed from time to time, to furnish each of the Audrs first mentioned, with copies of such Resolves of Congress and other papers as are or may be necessary for conducting the business of the said Office.”2
Mr Bedlow I have seen, & such papers & Instructions as I have in my Office, will send him to morrow—But there are many things wanting for him that I cannot get, unless, I go to Philada having wrote repeatedly for them, & cannot get any one to do the business—Shou’d I not go off, those different Offices cannot proceed to Business—for want of the necessary Papers &ca—I am sure you will readily see that the whole of this matter falls on the Audrs of the main Army: Mr Fowler is now waiting in Philada. I want to have him dispatched to Fort Pitt with all possible haste, that no delay may be in that department; & should he go without the necessary Articles &ca the public will be much injured; other Dispatches for Mr Varley are to be sent equally rapid, & if I had them ready should not know where to direct them.
By another Resolve of same Date, I a⟨m⟩ ordered to lay before the Board a form to settle Reg⟨imental⟩ paymaster Accts—this is a matter of immediate consequence, & either the Board cannot understand or we cannot understand them; it is necessary I shoul⟨d⟩ attend them, that it may be immediately complete⟨d &⟩ sent with the other Instructions to the different A⟨udrs⟩.
I could enumerate many other matters to convince your Excellency that it is requisite I shou⟨ld⟩ attend the Treasury,3 but what I have said I hope will convince you it is the public good I have in view. I shall only add, that I shall thank you for leave of absence to do the duty required of me, so soon as ’tis done, I will repair to Camp: and unless Congress should be disposed to make a proper allowance, for the trouble in transacting the business of this Office; I shall be obliged to resign my appointment as an Audr, I should not have continued in it so long (but was appointed through your obliging Letter)4 or indeed accepted it, as my Health was, & still is so delicate that I am much injured by so sedantary a life:5 I trust my Conduct has been agreeable, & I shall ever esteem the favor done me, & think it an honor to serve you—Should it be requisite for me to attend you, I will readily do it; making the dispatches alluded to, prevents me at this time. I could wish to go to morrow if agreeable, & wait your pleasure.6 I am with much esteem Your Excellency’s Most Obedt Hble servt
Jno. Clark Junior Audr
1. For William Bedlow, see Alexander McDougall to GW, 19 Jan., and n.2 to that document; for Alexander Fowler, see Remarks for the Continental Committee of Conference, 23–31 Jan., and n.9. For letters introducing “Varley” and Bedlow as district auditors, see the Board of Treasury to Benjamin Lincoln and to John Sullivan, both 16 March, the former in Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 12:198, and the latter in Gregory and Dunnings, “Gates Papers.” Felix Warley (Varley; c.1749–1814) clerked for Henry Laurens’s mercantile house in Charleston, S.C., until September 1773 and eventually established himself as a merchant in that city. Commissioned a lieutenant in the 3d South Carolina Regiment in June 1775, he advanced to captain in May 1776. Warley was nominated to be an army auditor by Congress on 11 Feb. 1779 and subsequently elected on 20 Feb. (see 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 , 13:177, 217). He was taken prisoner at Charleston on 12 May 1780, exchanged in June 1781, and remained in the service until the end of the war. Warley served as clerk of the South Carolina Senate, 1785–1801, and as a South Carolina financial official for much of the time between 1804 and his death.
2. It is notable that the Board of Treasury passed this resolution not long after Congress had authorized a fourth army auditor on 23 Jan. and a fifth one on 9 Feb. (see 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 , 13:112–13, 156).
3. Clark and his fellow auditor James Johnston wrote John Jay on 12 March to ask Congress for an increase in their pay to $8 per day, largely because of the “amazing depreciation of the continental Currency, and the extravagant price of the common necessaries of life,” and to request the appointment of “an (Assistant) Auditor to the Main Army” to superintend the books on a daily basis (DNA:PCC, item 78).
5. A letter of resignation dated 1 Nov. 1779 from Clark, citing health and personal expenses as reasons for his action, was read and accepted by Congress on 4 Nov. (see DNA:PCC, item 41, and 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 , 15:1237; see also Clark to the Board of Treasury, 27 Oct., DNA:PCC, item 41, and Elbridge Gerry to Clark, 16 Nov., in Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 14:200). For Clark’s active military service, which ended in 1778, see Spangler, “Memoir of Major John Clark.”
6. GW’s assistant secretary James McHenry replied to Clark in a letter of this date that reads: “His Excellency in consequense of the pressing nature of your business, and as it respects the Department—gives permission to your going to Philadelphia—But at the same time—desires that you would make your stay as short as possible that there may be no interruption in the affairs of your office as relating to the Army” (DLC:GW).