George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Jay, 31 August 1779

From John Jay

Philadelphia 31 Augt 1779

Dear Sir

The enclosed account of the Reinforcement with admiral arbuthnot is copied from one recd by Mr Jos. Wharton from his Friend in Paris.1 The Confidence Mr Wharton has in his Correspondent induces him to think this account may be relied upon.2 I am Dear Sir: with perfect Regard your most obt Servant

John Jay

P.S. Mr Wharton would not chuse that this Line of Intelligence should be generally known.

ALS, DLC:GW. Jay marked the cover “private.”

Jay had also sent GW an intelligence report on the British army reinforcements that he had received from Arthur Lee in Paris (see Jay to GW, 30 Aug.). The naval squadron of Vice Adm. Marriot Arbuthnot had arrived at New York on 25 Aug., with 3,800 British army reinforcements (see GW to Jay, 24-27 Aug., and n.8 to that document). For GW’s defensive preparations for the arrival of this long-expected British reinforcement, see GW to Jay, 11 Aug., n.5.

1Joseph Wharton, Jr. (1733/34-1816), a Quaker merchant of Philadelphia, recently had returned from France (Franklin Papers, description begins William B. Willcox et al., eds. The Papers of Benjamin Franklin. 40 vols. to date. New Haven, 1959–. description ends 29:261-62). Wharton wrote to GW from Philadelphia on 25 Aug. (see GW to Wharton, 15 Sept.). Wharton would write again to GW, on 21 Oct. 1793, and hearken back to this exchange in an unsuccessful attempt to gain a naval office appointment (Papers, Presidential Series, description begins W. W. Abbot et al., eds. The Papers of George Washington, Presidential Series. 17 vols. to date. Charlottesville, Va., 1987–. description ends 14:255:56). Wharton’s friend in Paris may have been his brother Samuel Wharton (1732-1800), also a Philadelphia merchant, or his nephew Joseph Wharton (d. 1781), a son of Samuel Wharton; both men were in Paris in May (Franklin Papers, description begins William B. Willcox et al., eds. The Papers of Benjamin Franklin. 40 vols. to date. New Haven, 1959–. description ends 29:589).

2The enclosed unsigned copy of a report, in Jay’s writing and dated 25 May at Paris, reads: “I have just recieved certain advice from a Gentleman in office in London, that the following is an account (to be depended on) of the whole Force going to new York with admiral arbuthnot.

The Squadron consists of 4 Ships of the Line, all 74’s.

Transports with the Glascow Regiment 1168 men
D. Edenburgh Regt 1168
N.B. new raised Regiments
German Recruits  500
2800 men”

(DLC:GW; the numbers total 2,836, not 2,800).

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