George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the Massachusetts Council, 31 August 1779

From the Massachusetts Council

Council Chamber, August 31st 1779


The inclosed Packet for Congress contains Dispatches from Pensecola to Ld George Germain and was found on Board a Prize taken by an Armed Vessel from the Port of Salem, which hath been bro’t into that Port.1 They are not of great Moment, but such as Congress perhaps may wish to see. The Council request your Care to forward them on to Congress2 We congratulate You on the late brilliant Successes of Detachments from the main Army. In the Name and Behalf of Council I am with Esteem Your most Obedient, humble Servant

J. Powell. President.

LB, M-Ar: Secretary’s Letterbooks.

1The dispatches contained in the packet have not been identified, but they may have been the various documents in DNA:PCC, item 51, dated at Pensacola, Fla., between April and July. Some of these documents are from the British Indian commissioners to George Germain. The council’s cover letter to John Jay, signed by Jeremiah Powell and dated this date, is in DNA:PCC, item 65.

George Germain (1716-1785), the third son of Lionel Cranfield Sackville, duke of Dorset, was the British secretary of state for the American colonies from 1775 to 1782. As such, he was the minister primarily responsible for the conduct of the war in North America. Prior to the Revolutionary War, he had served in the British army, where he rose to the rank of major general. However, he had been blamed for the British failure to achieve a decisive victory at the battle of Minden in August 1758, and a subsequent court-martial barred him from further service in the army. He nevertheless managed to restore his reputation and became active in politics, allying himself with Lord North, who appointed him to the cabinet in 1775. He had assumed the name of Germain under the terms of a will in 1770. Upon leaving the cabinet, he became Viscount Sackville.

2In his reply to Powell of 7 Sept., GW informed the council that he had forwarded the packet to Congress “by Express.”

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