From John Jay
Philadelphia 9th July 1779
I have been honored with your Excellency’s favors of the 27th Ult. & 1st Inst. They were committed. Peter Wickoff Esqr. has been appointed Cloathier General, and will I hope soon enter on the Execution of that Office.1
Herewith enclosed is a Copy of a Letter from Governor Rutledge to the Delegates of South Carolina of the 9th Ult.—of one from General Lincoln to Congress of the 4th Ult.2—And of an Act of Congress of the 6th Inst. making further Provision for Sub & Brigade Inspectors.3 I have the Honor to be with the greatest Respect & Esteem Your Excellencys most obedt Servant
John Jay Presidt
ALS, DLC:GW; LB, DNA:PCC, item 14.
1. Congress had elected Peter Wikoff as clothier general on 24 June, but he declined the office in a letter to Jay, written at Philadelphia on this date: “I was honored with your favor of the 8th Instant this day, enclosing a Copy of an Ordinance of Congress for regulating the Cloathing-Department.
“The Salary annexed to that department you inform me is five thousand Dollars a year—a Sum, which a few years agoe would have been too much; but now, will fall vastly short of defraying half of the necessary & unavoidable expences of living even in the most obscure private manner—Therefore I hope you will pardon me, if I should not accept the Office on terms, so exceedingly inadequate to what I have always made, and Still expect to make by my attention & Industry in Trade.
“I by no means wish to raise a fortune at the Expence of my Country—at the same time, I cannot Suppose that my Country expects that I should Sink the remainder of what I had acquired, after suffering much more already, than I could afford in her Service, and in Consequence of the glorious cause in which we are engaged.
“I am very sensible that its the duty of every good Citizen, to exert himself to the utmost of his power to promote the Interest of his Country; and I assure you, nothing can make me happier than to have Opportunities to contribute my Mite towards it” (DNA:PCC, item 78; see also 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 14:757, 765, 815, and Jay to Wikoff, 6 July, 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 13:155). For the eventual selection of James Wilkinson as clothier general, see Jay to GW, 15 and 29 July.
Peter Wikoff (d. 1804) was a successful merchant and auctioneer in Philadelphia but apparently suffered financially in his later years.
2. The enclosure from South Carolina governor John Rutledge, dated 9 June, and the one from Maj. Gen. Benjamin Lincoln, dated 4 June, have not been identified. Congress read Lincoln’s letter on 7 July and Rutledge’s letter on 8 July (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 14:807).