George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the Philadelphia Ladies Committee, c.13 February 1781

From the Philadelphia Ladies Committee

[c.13 Feb. 1781]

After the Death of the late Amiable Mrs Read we found the Benevolent Work she had begun was at a stand,1 The Idea was painfull and we determined to be Candidates for that laudable employment we succeeded and have the pleasure to inform Your Excellency that Agreable to your Advice to that Worthy Lady2 we have invested the Whole of the Pennsylvania Donation in Shirts, and delivered to Coll Miles four Boxes, Containing Two thousand one hundred & seven Shirts, 2 pair of Breeches, & 14 pair of Stockings, (lately received from Chester County) Seventy Seven of the Shirts are the produce of the donation from some Ladies of Trenton which Your Excellency transmitted to our Treasuress for that purpose3—happy to receive your Commands and only regretting that each Soldier in our brave Army couldnt be beneffitted by the Attentions of the Women of this State—We have the Satisfaction to Assure you that immediately on our having cut out the Shirts a great Number of Patriotic Women of this City with warm and gratefull Hearts begged they might be indulged with the pleasure of Making them lamenting thier Abilitie was so far short of thier Wishes, to testify the high Esteem they had for our Brave Army.

Permit us to embrace this Occasion of expressing the feeble Wishes that Warm our Hearts in Your Excellencys favor—May your merrits be as deeply impressed on the Minds of all Worthy Americans as Your exalted Virtue deserves—May you lead home in Triumph a Victorious Army, framed by your influence, and trained by your Precepts, for the most Valuable purpose of restoring expiring Liberty—May you enjoy all the Train of Blessings Consequent to such Virtuous labour and long live the Idol of a gratefull People Acknowledging you, the happy instrument in the hand of Divine Providence, for perfecting the glorious Work of Peace & Liberty to Your Native Country—The United & Independent States of America.

Pardon most revered Sir if we have intruded on your time which we are sensible is invaluable to America, and attribute our presumption to the Overflowings of gratefull Hearts and the known benignity of Yours, being with the Warmest zeal and Utmost respect Your sincere Friends & most Obliged Hume Serts

A. Francis
Henrietta Hillegas
M. Clarkson
Sarah Bache
Susan Blair

LS, DLC:GW; copy, MHi: Belknap Papers. Both the LS and copy are undated. The date is taken from GW’s reply on 13 Feb., which provides the approximate date.

Anne Shippen Willing Francis (1733–1812) was the wife of Tench Francis, Jr., a prominent Philadelphia merchant.

Henrietta Boude Hillegas was the wife of Philadelphia merchant Michael Hillegas, the Continental treasurer.

Mary Boude Clarkson (1735–1794) was the wife of Philadelphia merchant Matthew Clarkson, who had been marshal of the Pennsylvania court of admiralty until leaving that position in November 1780.

1Esther De Berdt Reed had died on 18 Sept. 1780.

3See GW to Blair, 22 Dec., found at Blair to GW, 8 Dec., n.2.

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