George Washington Papers

From George Washington to George Clymer and John Nixon, 14 August 1780

To George Clymer and John Nixon

Head Quarters Orange town 14th Augt 1780


I have been honored with yours without date1—I am much obliged not only by the candid manner in which you have laid before me the State of the Bank,2 but by your assurances of using every possible exertion to afford a supply of Bread to the Army, as far as your circumstances will admit. Of this although I do not entertain a doubt, I cannot help expressing my apprehensions that we shall be under the necessity of placing our dependance upon you for the principal part of our support in the Article of Flour, at least untill the Crops of Maryland New Jersey and New York are got in and are fit to grind—From this consideration—I shall be glad to be informed, with as much precision as the nature of the case will admit, what quantity of Flour I may depend upon from the Bank, (delivered at the Army at or near this place) from this time to the 1st of October, I shall, by adding this to our other resources, be enabled to form an estimate of the number of Men I may draw together with a probability of finding subsistence for them. For want of this knowledge—I am obliged to keep my force disjointed, by which there is upon the whole a greater consumption, than when an Army is regularly formed, besides a number of inconveniencies and expences attending the keeping up a multiplicity of detached posts.3 I have the honor to be with very great Respect and Esteem Gentn

Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1In an undated letter, Clymer and Nixon wrote to GW: “A letter from your Excellency to Messrs Meredith and Barclay at Trenton has been by those gentlemen handed to us, as best able to give the necessary information respecting some of those subjects of enquiry on which it turns—We perceive from it that considerable dependance is placed upon the pennsylvania bank for keeping the army supplied with provisions; but how far this dependance should justly go, your Excellency will be best able to judge when we shall have laid before you a state of its affairs. The ground work was a deposit of money arising from subscription—this subscription is about eleven hundred thousand pounds continental currency of which we are now in the receipt of two payments of ten ⅌Cent each—but on what we principally rested was that convenience, the trading people would find in lodging their money in the bank, taking our notes payable on demand, by which, as the notes might be expected to have a free and continued circulation, we should have the command of a vast fund for our purchases. From these two sources of supply we have as yet drawn but about four hundred thousand pounds with a well grounded confidence however, that the production of the latter will be proportionably greater, the longer it remains open—Part of this amount, agreeable to the prudential rules of similar institutions, it was necessary to receive in our hands: with the remainder we should have proceeded in the purchases of flour, had any been at market, which, since the harvest, has not been the case, but for the attention we thought ourselves obliged to shew to the requisition of tents from the Committee of Congress with the army, who informed us they were of still more indispensible necessity than flour—Of these Mr Francis the factor of the bank has purchased materials for five or six hundred which he has directed to be made up and will forward to the army. We shall however in consequence of your Excellency’s letter desist from further purchases in this article and resume our original design, as flour can be obtained—but as to the daily or weekly quantities we shall be able to supply we can have no certain assurance. On the whole our sentiments are, that it will be proper to consider the bank rather as coming in aid of the ordinary means of supply, than as being in itself equal to any great effect without them, and that it will not by any means supersede the necessity of any one of them, but ’tho we cannot venture to say what degree of support this establishment may receive from the publick, we can assure your Excellency that there is the best disposition in all those who have the conduct of it, to extend its means and make it as extensively useful as possible” (DLC:GW). For the letter mentioned by Clymer and Nixon, see GW to Samuel Meredith and Thomas Barclay, 24 July.

2For this bank, an association of leading Philadelphia citizens, see Philip Schuyler to GW, 18 June, and n.4.

3Clymer and Nixon replied to GW on 21 August.

Index Entries