George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Colonel Ann Hawkes Hay, 2 August 1779

To Colonel Ann Hawkes Hay

West Point Augt 2d 79


Sensible of the distresses which you must suffer from the repeated depredations of the enemy on your property, it gives me real pain that I have it not in my power to comply with your request1 respecting an order for Clothing. I am not at liberty to appropriate any part of the public supplies to a purpose different from that for which it was intended; and those in the article of cloathing are so scanty and the wants and distresses of the officers so great, that if I had the power, I could not exercise it without prejudice to them—These considerations will not permit me to yield to the inclination I feel to oblige a Gentleman who has made such sacrifices, as you have done, to his attachment to the common cause.2 I am with great esteem Sir Yr most Obedt sert.

Df, in Alexander Hamilton’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1At this point on the manuscript, GW’s aide-de-camp Alexander Hamilton, who penned the draft, crossed out the following words: “contained in your letter dated the 30th of July.” This letter has not been found.

2For Hay’s description of the distress of his family resulting from the destruction of his house and property at Haverstraw, N.Y., during British raids in the fall of 1777 and the summer of 1779, see Hay to George Clinton, 22 June 1780, in Hastings and Holden, Clinton Papers, description begins Hugh Hastings and J. A. Holden, eds. Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804. 10 vols. 1899–1914. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends 5:877–80.

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