George Washington Papers

Circular to the States, 30 June 1780

Circular to the States

Head qrs Ramapough [N.J.] June 30th 1780


As the Levies required of the States for filling their Battallions have not yet joined the Army1 or the French fleet arrived—I beg leave to inform Your Excellency, that it will be unnecessary for the Militia, which the Honble the Committee of Congress were pleased to call for on a late occasion, to be at the place appointed for their Rendezvous, before the 25th of next month.2 By this time I would willingly hope that things will be in such a Train, as to enable us to commence our operations, and to make their aid essential. The present crisis is by far the most important and delicate that this Country has ever experienced, and it pains me in the extreme that we are so backward in all our measures. I hope a moment will not be lost in pushing on the Levies to fill the Batallions. our allies would be chagrined, were they to arrive to day, to find that we have but a handful of men in the field, and would doubt, it is more than probable, whether we had any serious intentions to prosecute measures with vigor. If we do not avail ourselves of their succour by the most decisive and energetic steps on our part, the aid they so generously bring, may prove our ruin, and at best it will be in such case among the most unfortunate events next to that of absolute ruin, that could have befallen us. I think it my duty as often as I have the honor of addressing the States to forewarn them, that the completion of their Battallions to their full establishment of Five hundred and four rank & file, is a measure of indispensable necessity to the intended cooperation, and that without it we cannot even attempt any thing decisive.3 I have the Honor to be with the greatest respect & esteem Your Excellency’s Most Obedt servant

Go: Washington

P.S. As my request to delay the assembling of the Militia at the place appointed for their Rendezvous, proceeds principally from the French Fleet’s not being arrived—I beg leave to observe if this event should have taken place when this reaches Your Excellency or it happens soon after, my request is not to have an operation, but in such case it is my desire that the Assembling of the Militia should be hastened as much as possible.4

LS, addressed to Connecticut governor Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, Ct: Trumbull Papers; LS (partially burned), addressed to New York governor George Clinton, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, enclosed in GW to Udny Hay, this date, N-Ar: George Clinton Papers; LS, addressed to Rhode Island governor William Greene, in Tilghman’s writing, R-Ar; LS, addressed to New Jersey governor William Livingston, in James McHenry’s writing, Nj; LS, addressed to Massachusetts governor Jeremiah Powell, in Harrison’s writing, M-Ar; LS, addressed to Pennsylvania president Joseph Reed, in McHenry’s writing, DLC:GW; LS, addressed to Delaware governor Caesar Rodney, in Tilghman’s writing, offered for sale by Remember When Auctions, 18 July 1998 (catalog no. 44, lot no. 10); Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Although a note on the draft indicates that GW addressed an LS to New Hampshire council president Meshech Weare, his communication to that official on this date differs significantly from this circular letter.

Livingston replied to GW from Raritan, N.J., on 2 July: “I have received your Excellencys Favour of the 30th of June, & shall regulate my self accordingly as far as my Influence can extend either in procuring & accilirating the Expected Aids from this State” (ALS, DLC:GW; Harrison wrote “no Answer necessary” on the docket).

1For troops required from the states, see Samuel Huntington to GW, 10 Feb., and n.1 to that document, and Circular to the States, 20 February.

2The Committee at Headquarters had sent a circular asking for militia reinforcements (see Circular to the States, 2 June, and n.1 to that document).

3See GW to the Committee at Headquarters, 25 May, and n.3 to that document.

4The postscript appears only on the draft, the Varick transcript, and the letters addressed to Greene, Powell, and Trumbull. A notation on the draft indicates that the LS sent to Weare also included the postscript.

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