George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Levinius Clarkson, 22 August 1781

Treasury Office of the United States Philada Augt 22d 1781


I have the Honor to inform your Excellency by Direction of the Board of Treasury that, a few days ago, they received a Letter from Elias Boudinot Esqr. formerly Commissary General of Prisoners dated the 6th of June last, inclosing Copy of one from his Friend William Donaldson of London dated the 12th of April 1780 returning a number of Bills of Exchange that were sent him by Mr Boudinot to be negotiated on the Public Account, drawn by several British Officers on their Agents and Friends in England in favor of Ezekl Williams Esqr. of the State of Connecticut for their subsistence, while Prisoners of War in the said State. The Board represented the Matter to Congress; and in pursuance of their Order of the 21st inst., I have the honor to inclose your Excellency certified Copies of fifteen sets of the said Bills with their several Protests, and also certified Copies of the Letters from Mr Boudinot & Mr Donaldson, and Copies of the Letters theirein referred to. A copy of the order of Congress of the 21st instt is also inclosed. Your Excellency will be pleased to observe that it is the desire of Congress the Name of Mr Donaldson, the Writer of one of the Letters, should be suppressed lest he should suffer, Inconveniencies from a knowledge of the part he has acted in rendering the Services he has in this Business. I have the Honor to be With the highest Respect Your Excellency’s Most Obed. humble Servant

John Levinus Clarkson

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


Baskinridge June 6th 1781


In the Summer of 1778 I received from the Treasury Board, as Commissary Genl of Prisoners, 19 Setts of Bills of Exchange drawn by several british Officers, in Favor of Ez: Williams Esqr. of Connecticut, with Orders to negotiate them in New York, & apply the Proceeds to the Use of the American Prisoners of War, but so as not to charge the Public with any Damages in Case of Protest. Not being able to dispose of these Bills in New York, I ordered them to be sent to London, on the Public Acct, as the surest Way of preventing any Danger of Loss.

In the Settlement of my Accts in April 1779, I credited my self with these Bills, expecting that they would have been carried to Colo. Beaty’s Debit, and he directed to finish the Business, on Advice from London of their Success—I have lately received my Friend Mr William Donaldson’s Answer, enclosing all these Bills protested in due Form, except No. 9 drawn by M. Stanhope on F. Stanhope for 25£—which is paid and carried to my Credit, and one or two more detained for sufficient Reasons by Mr Donaldson as per his Letter.

I send herewith the several Bills, with their Protests, and that your Board may clearly understand the whole Transaction & see the Villany of these Officers, as well as be sattisfied with the charges attending the Negotiation which I think very reasonable—I enclose also a copy of Mr Donaldson’s Letter of 12th April 1780—This has been a long time getting to hand, having been detained at New York in a Friend’s Hands; I have accordingly credited my Public Account with the £25 Sterling, and debited same Acct with the Expences at £9.0.3 Sterling. You will be pleased to take Notice that the Articles of 2 Drafts on Parris for 360 [Dolrs] mentioned in Mr Donaldson’s Letter was a private Transaction not relating to the Public at all.

I should be much obliged by a Line from yourSecretary, acknowledgeing the Receipt of these Bills. I have the honor to be with great Respect Gentl. Your very Obt Hum. Servt.

Elias Boudinot

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