George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Livingston, 28 December 1780

From William Livingston

Trenton 28 Dec. 1780

Dear Sir

The Act of Congress of the 4th of November mentioned in your Excellency’s Letter of the 10th Instant was laid before our Assembly before the Receipt of your Letter,1 & orders have been given to our Superintendent of Purchases in Consequence of it.2 But the Supplies, for want of money go on very slowly.

Mr Dunham our Superintendant; is, by the Act appointing him, to follow your Excellency’s directions, as also those of the Commissary General respecting the places for despositing the Supplies.

As the 12th Section of the Act for preventing the illicit Trade affects officers under your Command, I do my self the honour to transmit the Law; that in case it be thought necessary, orders may be given accordingly.3

By numerous reports but not by any dire⟨ct⟩ proof, I have reason to think that the Flag boats at Elizabeth Town are most scandalously perverted to the purpose of Trade & importing into our Lines the most dangerous Characters—I am with great Esteem & respect Dr Sir your Excellencys most humble Srv.

Wil: Livingston

ALS, DLC:GW, misfiled under 28 Dec. 1781. GW’s aide-de-camp David Humphreys docketed the letter as received on 11 Jan., and GW acknowledged its arrival when he wrote Livingston on 12 Jan. (DLC:GW). In his acknowledgement, GW misdated Livingston’s letter as “the 20th of Decr,” probably because Humphreys mistakenly had written that date on the docket.

2For the act that contained these directions related to the procurement of supplies for the army, see Livingston to GW, 15 Nov., source note.

3Section 12 of an act “more effectually to prevent the Inhabitants of this State from trading with the Enemy, or going within their Lines,” passed on 22 Dec., required “every commissioned Officer having Command of Militia or other Troops within this State, near the Lines of the Enemy, and every Commissary or Deputy Commissary of Prisoners, who may have the Superintendency of Flags between any Posts of this State and the Enemy,” to take an oath that they would not allow any trade or intercourse with the enemy (N.J. Acts, 15 Nov. 1780–9 Jan. 1781 description begins Acts of the Fifth General Assembly of the State of New-Jersey, At a Session begun at Trenton on the 24th Day of October, 1780, and continued by Adjournments. Trenton, 1781. description ends , pp. 11–19, quotes on 11 and 16).

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