George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Elizabeth Burgin, 16 March 1780

From Elizabeth Burgin

Philada Marcth the 16 1780

Kind General

When I Vew the Kind Prvidence of God in Delivering me Throw So many Dificultys I think I Canot Give him Sufficient Praise At the Same Time I Feel a hart Full of Gratitude For the Many Favours I have Recevd From Your Excelency Your Order: For Rations for my Self and Children Are Punktily Obeyd Wicth is Great Releif to me in A Strange Place I Recev’d a Kind Letter From Your Aidicamp Informing me that Your Excelency had Recomended me to the honerable Continential Congress—Congress have Refferd me to the Board of War In Whose house I now Live Rent Free & in Some Measure as Comfortable As one under my Distitute Situation Could Expect.1 I Should Be Glad to See a French Fleett Surrounding New York By Watter & the Brave Americans Storming the Lines By Land & Were I a man I Think I Should not Want Courage to Be one of the Foremost in Mounting one of their Strongest Fortreses Pardon me Dear Sir For these Expressions Probaly an Annesity2 of Mind For the home W[h]ere I Lived Comfortably With my Children Caused me to Drop Them & Tho I Beleive With an Unshaken Faith that if Those Creatures Who now Pos[s]es[s] New York Dont Sneak of[f] as they Did From Boston Philada & Rode Iland3 the[y] Will one Day or Other Be Cannonaded out in the mean Time I Should Be Glad I Were Able to Putt my Self in Some Way of Buiseness to Suport my Self Children Without Being Chargeable to Congress4 Accept of my hearty Thank For all the Favours I have Receved thus With my Prayrs For Your Welfare I Conclude & Make Bold to Subscribe My Self Your Excelency Most Obeident Humble Servant

Elizabeth Burgin


1For the assistance GW extended Burgin and her children for aid she had provided American prisoners while a New York resident, see GW to Samuel Huntington, 25 Dec. 1779. The letter from GW’s “Aidicamp” presumably was from James McHenry, also written on 25 Dec. and found at n.3 to the same document.

2Burgin probably meant anxiety.

3British forces had evacuated Boston in March 1776 (see GW to John Hancock, 19 March 1776); Philadelphia in June 1778 (see Council of War, 17 June 1778, and GW’s second letter to Henry Laurens, 18 June 1778); and Rhode Island in October 1779 (see GW to Duportail and Alexander Hamilton, 30 Oct. 1779, notes 1 and 2).

4Congress paid Burgin a pension through at least 1787 (see “Expenditures under the Genl Head of Contingencies from 1st Jany to 31st Decr 1787,” in DNA:PCC, item 141).

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