George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Mathews, 23 October 1780

Hd Qr Passaic falls Oct 23d 1780

My Dear Sir,

I have received your letter of the 14th and shall with the greatest pleasure apply to Sir Henry Clinton for the permission you wish for Mrs Matthews, the moment the Board of War make their application for the vessel. As I have heard nothing concerning this from them, I presume it is not done, and before it is, the other request would be premature. I shall be happy if any thing on my part can promote your wishes in an article so interesting to yourself and family; and of this I beg you to assure Mrs Matthews with my respects.

Your Southern affairs wear a most disagreeable aspect and prove more and more the necessity of renouncing that feeble system, which has brought this Country to so perplexing a crisis. If there were any hope of our councils assuming that complexion, which the exigency demands, the progress of the enemy at this period would seem to me an advantage rather than an evil; for they have not a stamina of force sufficient for such extensive conquests, and by spreading themselves out, as they are now doing, they will render themselves vulnerable every where. But I see no chance of the change we stand in need of, and therefore, I fear they will realize their acquisitions.

You have your wish in the officer appointed to the Southern command. I think I am giving you a General; but what can a General do, without men, without arms, without cloathing, without stores, without provisions?

Lees Corps will also go to the Southward. I believe it will be found very useful. The corps itself is an excellent one and the officer at the head of it has great resources of genius.

With the truest regard and attachment I have the honor to be D. Sir Your most obedt st

Go. Washington

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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