George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Philip Schuyler, 22 March 1780

From Philip Schuyler

Philadelphia March 22d 1780

My Dear Sir

Yesterday I had the happiness of Your Excellencys favor of the 18th Instant.1

I find by enquiry at the Office that my first letter was not forwarded by the Conveyance I Intended It should but was sent by a subsequent one, It is therefore probably by this time reached You.2

As Gen: Lincolns dispatch to you will probably contain what he has Communicated to Congress I thought It needless to trouble You with a Copy of the latter.3

I do not recollect If advised You that the propriety of a Conference with Your Excellency had A second time been Insisted on, and that the Same opinion as on the first was prevalent.4

Messrs Sherman and Jones are to morrow to report the System they In Conjunction with Gen: Mifflin & Mr Pickering have formed for Conducting the Civil departments of the Army.5 I am afraid (from what I have learnt) It will not only be Inadequate but If adopted wound, or rather give additional Soreness to the wounds already given the Q:M:G. As I do not Concieve In our present Circumstances that any System however Judiciously Compiled can apply I shall do my endeavours So far to overturn the proposed one as that If even good, It shall only go as recommendatory, this may probably make some Attonement for the Indelicate Inattention which Gen: Greene has Experienced. I have Intreated him to take no hasty decided Step and have taken the liberty to point at the Consequences of a Change In that department at this Conjuncture.6

Communications on paper are more exposed from, than to the Army, It may therefore be proper for Characters In particular Situations not to be particular unless where there is the Greatest Certainty of safety In the Conveyance I mention this least You should attend from your politeness to more than I Expect, a bare Acknowledgment that a letter has been recevd will Suffice the friend. I am Dr Sir, most truly Your Excellency Obedient Hume Servant &c.

Ph: Schuyler


1GW’s letter to Schuyler of 18 March has not been found.

2Schuyler means his letter to GW of 7 March that reached its recipient during the evening of 21 March (see GW to Schuyler, this date).

3For an extract from Maj. Gen. Benjamin Lincoln’s letter of 22 Feb. to Samuel Huntington, president of Congress, see Huntington to GW, 19 March, n.1 (see also Lincoln to GW, same date).

4Schuyler is alluding to proposed supply department reforms (see GW to Schuyler, this date, n.3).

5This report was not submitted until 27 March (see 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 , 16:293–311; see also Nathanael Greene to GW, 28 March, n.5).

Allen Jones (1739–1807) came from a wealthy family in North Carolina and was educated at Eton College in England. He held several local government offices in North Carolina before the American Revolution and became an ardent Patriot. During the war, Jones served as a militia brigadier general, state senator, and councillor of state. He served as a delegate to Congress, 1779–80, later favored ratification of the U.S. Constitution, and remained active in politics as a Federalist during the 1790s.

6Schuyler is referring to a letter that he wrote Q.M. Gen. Nathanael Greene from Philadelphia on this date: “That you have been treated with Indelicaty and disrespect I am unhappily too well aware of . … I have depricated the Idea of appointing others to form a System for your Conduct In the department which you Conduct, and have repeatedly recommended to give you power without limitation In the business and all that Confidence which It is for the public Interest you Should have and without which no man can Effectually Serve It. … If you can Continue without a Sacrifice of reputation; you will Conceive It Your duty so to do both from public and private Considerations. In the last I Allude Specially to our friend the General. What must be his Situation with a New Man and most probably an Incompetent one In a department the head of which must of necessity be Confidentially trusted in a variety of Occassions.” Schuyler concluded his letter with another appeal to “Secure” Greene’s services: “Let me Intreat you to take no hasty decided measure; your Country is in danger, your general and your friend In distress, and your friends here feel for both of you” (Greene Papers description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends , 5:472–74).

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