George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Joseph Reed, 19 December 1780

From Joseph Reed

In Council Philada December 19th 1780


I am to acknowledge the Receipt of your Excellencys favour of the tenth—Instant appointing the places of deposit for the specifick articles required by Congress.1 Some difficulties have arisen with respect To Wyoming which the Inhabitants2 of this state do not consider as of Continental importance, but only as holding a possession for the state of Connecticut: in consequence they think it hard to supply it from the state of Pennsylvania. Besides which, there are Complaints of abuses in entering the settlers as soldiers, and drawing rations: every Officer and soldier under Colonel Butler from Connecticut is a land holder under the Connecticut Claim; it was therefore proposed that Connecticut should support it as a state post: or in Case that state declined it, Pennsylvania would take it up without any charge to the United states. Representations were made to Congress, and the enclosed Resolve has passed,3 in consequence of which we wait your Excellencys determination to make the arrangements for the ensuing season.4 I have the honour to be Your Excellencys Obedient and very humble servant

Jos: Reed President

LS, DLC:GW; copy, PHarH: Records of Pennsylvania’s Revolutonary Governments, 1775–90; copy, NHi: Reed Papers.

1See Circular to State Executives, 10 Dec., and the source note to that document; see also n.4 below.

2The writer of the LS wrote “Imhabitants” for this word.

3Two copies of the congressional resolution placing the garrison at Wyoming, Pa., under Continental jurisdiction, adopted on 12 Dec., are in DLC:GW; see also Samuel Huntington to GW, 16 Dec., and n.1 to that document. For the disputes between Pennsylvania and Connecticut settlers in the Wyoming Valley, see Reed to GW, 14 April 1779, n.3. Col. Zebulon Butler had led Connecticut interests.

4GW replied to Reed from New Windsor on 28 Dec. 1780: “Previous to the receipt of your Excellency’s favor of the 19th Instt (which only came to my hands this day) I had been honored with the resolve of Congress of the 12th preceeding.

“In consequence, a detachment belonging neither to the Troops of Pensylvania or Connecticut—Nor Citizens of either, were ordered to relieve the Garrison at Wyoming.

“The places for the depositing of Provision pointed out by my letter of the 10th Instt was consequent of the resolve of Congress of the 4th Ulto—they were the best that my judgment at that time, or now, can fix. and I can assure you that, in determining upon them, I had no regard to the views or interests of any particular States” (ADfS, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW; see also GW to Israel Shreve, 28 Dec., and to Alexander Mitchell, 30 Dec.). GW refers to a congressional resolution adopted on 4 Nov. that enabled states to pay taxes in provisions (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 , 18:1011–17; see also Huntington to GW, 12 Nov., and n.1 to that document).

The Pennsylvania Supreme Executive Council “received and read” GW’s letter on 3 Jan. 1781 and directed Col. Samuel Hunter, Northumberland County lieutenant, “to send forward to the garrison of Wyoming the provisions lately stopped by him” (Pa. Col. Records description begins Colonial Records of Pennsylvania. 16 vols. Harrisburg, 1840–53. description ends , 12:591).

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