To John Jay
West point August the 31st[–1 Sept.] 1779
I have been duly honoured with Your Excellency’s Letters of the 20th and 24th with the papers to which they refer.
The Acts of the 16th—17th & 18th have been communicated to the Army, in a manner calculated to inspire a proper sense of them.1
I hope they will have a good effect. As far as my information extends, they have given great satisfaction. It is only to be lamented, that the state2 of our money should make such large grants necessary and still more so—that they may contribute to encrease the evil which produced them. I am happy to hear, that there are farther Resolutions on the same subject under consideration, as it will be essential to place the whole Army on the footing of equality, in proportion to their respective situations and advantages.
Without knowing that an application had been made to Congress on the subject of Officers going to Canada, I had given such directions to Colonel Bland,3 as in my judgement appeared proper. I am sorry to find they differed from the views of Congress:4 But in compliance with their sense, I now inclose a Letter to Colo. Bland countermanding my former Orders, which if Congress think proper, I request the favour of Your Excellency to transmit.5 I also send an Extract from my former Letter to Colo. Bland respecting this affair, by which Congress will perceive, that General Philips’s request was not consented to, in the form in which it was made for the Officers to go by land.6 I have the Honor to be with sentiments of the highest respect & esteem Yr Excellency’s most Obed. Sert
P.S. I transmit Your Excellency a York paper of the 28th—and also an Extract from a Letter received from Lt Col. Taylor at Elizabeth Town of the 30th. They contain more particular information with respect to Admiral Arbuthnot’s arrival & his Fleet, than any I have obtained before.7
LS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Congress read this letter on 6 Sept. (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 15:1028).
2. On the draft manuscript, GW’s secretary Robert Hanson Harrison, who penned that document, wrote this word above the crossed-out word “depreciation.”
3. The copy in DNA:PCC, item 169, leaves out the next thirty-two words.
4. See GW to Theodorick Bland, 27 July and Jay to GW, 24 Aug.; 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 14:933-34, 985-86.
5. See GW to Bland, this date. Congress decided to transmit to Bland the letter countermanding GW’s former orders (see source note to GW to Bland, 31 Aug., 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 15:1028-30). For GW’s instructions to Bland, ordering that all future requests from the officers and men of the Convention Army be addressed to Congress, see GW to Bland, 1 Sept., in the source note to GW to Bland, 31 August.
6. The enclosed extract copy of GW’s 27 July letter to Bland consisted of the first paragraph minus the opening sentence (DNA:PCC, item 152).
7. The paper was James Rivington’s Royal Gazette of 28 Aug. (see GW’s first letter to Stirling of 1 Sept.), which announced that Vice Adm. Marriot Arbuthnot—the new commander in chief of British naval forces in North America—had arrived on 25 Aug. with a squadron of warships and a convoy of store ships, ordnance ships, merchant vessels, and transports that were carrying army reinforcements. The arrival of these British reinforcements had been expected since May. For more on this fleet and the full scope of GW’s defensive preparations, see GW to Jay, 11 Aug., n.5.
The enclosed extract copy of Lt. Col. John Taylor’s letter to GW, dated 5 A.M. 30 Aug. at Elizabeth, N.J., reads: “The long expected Fleet under The Command of Admiral Arbuthnot hath at last arrived, composed of seventy sail consisting of two 74 gun ships, five Frigates, and (as Mr Rivington says) between thirty and forty Merchantmen, and from intelligence from different quarters two or three and twenty hundred British and Irish troops, the greatest part of them Recruits, no German Troops, They are chiefly landed on Long Island; one Regiment and some Recruits to fill up the 37th Regt Stationed on Staten Island, and fifty horsemen are landed on Staten Island, I cannot learn that the horsemen have come in with this Fleet” (DNA:PCC, item 152).