From James Gray
Albany March 24th 1779
With this you will receive my Return for Jan’y1—as I think it verry probable it would be as satisfactory, and servicable for your Excellency, If instead of these Monthly Returns, I forwarded a Monthly Return Only of the stores on hand in the Northern department, which might be done at an early day, as I have Order’d all my Assissts. at the Middle of each Month to make me A Return of what stores they have on hand. I shall be greatly Oblig’d by knowing your Excellencys mind respecting what I have now Mention’d.2 I am Hon’d Sir With the greatest Respect, and Esteem, Your Most Obedt And Verry Hble Servt
1. Gray, assistant commissary of issues for the northern department, enclosed tables with the titles “A General Return of Stores & Provisions on Hand and Receiv’d, at the several Posts and Places in the Northern Department, in the Month of January 1779” and “A General Return of Stores & Provisions Issued, Forwarded, and Remaining on Hand at the several Posts and Places in the Northern Department, in the Month of January 1779” (DNA: RG 93, manuscript file no. 22016). These returns contain information on flour, hard bread, cattle, fresh pork, salted pork, salted beef, rum, brandy, wine, soap, candles, salt, rice, peas, wheat, molasses, hides, rendered tallow, unrendered tallow, and neat’s feet.
2. GW replied to Gray from Middlebrook in a letter of 19 April that reads: “In your letter of the 24th ultimo, you desire my opinion on the expediency of altering the present form of your returns. I would observe on this subject, that, provided it is the form directed by your instructions, it can only with propriety, be set asside, and another substituted in its room, by that power which prescribed it” (Df, in James McHenry’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW).