George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Mathews, 15 March 1782

Jacksonburgh So. Carolina March 15. 1782.

Dear Sir.

Your Letter of the 19th of December last was by my Predecessor Mr Rutledge, laid before the Legislature of this State at Their last Meeting in January. In consequence whereof and from a previous conviction, of the importance of the several matters recommended by Your Excellency, the subject of recruiting the line of this State, had been taken up, and on receipt of your letter a law was passed conformable thereto.

A certifyed Copy of this law I have transmitted to the President of Congress,, and now inclose you a printed extract of it, which contains all its material parts.

On taking a view of this law, I have no doubt you will be convinced, of the perfect good disposition of this State to re’establish its line, on the most respectable footing.

The bounties offered are very high, and as Negroes sell here, in North Carolina and Virginia, will be equal to 200 Guineas for each recruit, and from the best information, the legislature were persuaded that the bounty proposed by the law, would more readily procure Men than an equal Value in Money—The Country having been very much thined of Negroes, they are in great demand, and money is of little use, as the market to which it can be carried, are at too great a distance.

How far this State may be able to furnish the number of men proposed by the law to be recruited, is problematical, but I am confident the temptation will bring considerable numbers out of No. Carolina, and probably some out of Virginia—Although the men taken out of those States, may lessen their levies, as they will be entitled to a credit for them. Yet it will answer this good purpose, that the Men will by this means be brought into the Field, when in all probability, they would not, by either of those States.

Besides our full quota of Troops, the State has directed 440 able bodied negroes to be furnished this Army, to act as Artificers, Waggoners, Pioneers and Officers servants, which I shall be able to deliver in a few days, by this means General Greene will be able to throw so many good men into the ranks.

Knowing how great a temptation it is to men to enlist, and how much it tends to promote the Service, I have formed a plan for furnishing the line of this State with cloathing—I think it promisses success, as, through the same channel, Washington and Lee’s corps have been almost entirely equiped, at the expence of this State in the first instance, and many very useful Articles have been supplyed to the Army at large.

Perhaps the request I am about to make, may wear the face of an unreasonable jealousy, but so strongly impressed as I am with the desire of retaining that place in your Esteem, with which you have heretofore honoured me, I cannot avoid renewing my claim to a continuance of it, and signifying how happy I should be, to ingrose a few moments of your leisure time, by a line sometimes from you—And at the same time requesting such information from you, as will be useful to me in my public station.I am My Dear Sir with the most sincere Esteem and Regard Your Exclys most Obedt Servt

Jno. Mathews

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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