George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Benjamin Lincoln, 12 June 1782

Head-Quarters, 12th June 1782

Dear General,

Immediately on the receipt of your letter covering Colo. Van Schaick’s request to you that he might remain out of camp, until Congress should take up and determine on the matter of his promotions, I laid them both before Congress who referred them to me. In my report I observed that although the several States, by the Articles of Confederation, had delegated to Congress the power of appointing all General Officers, and had not confined them in their choice to any particular rules, yet Congress themselves had found it necessary to apportion such appointments among the different States nearly in proportion to the number they were severally to raise—By this mode there are now many General Officers, who were young field-Officers, when others were Colonels and none remain so—The policy and even justice of this measure were so conspicuous that it was generally acquiesced in as necessary. If Congress should at this time promote Colo. Van Schaick to the rank of Brigadier, because he has been superceded, it would open such a door for promotions as would greatly embarrass Congress to shut, for the State of New-York has already a full proportion of General Officers—I therefore was fully in Opinion that Colo. Van Schaick could not be promoted; but that in consideration of his long services, he have leave to retire with the same emoluments as Officers who retired from service under the resolutions of Congress of the 3d & 21st of Octr 1780. Colo. Van Schaick’s friends opposed the report, hoping to do more for him; by that means it was lost, so that he is neither promoted nor has liberty to retire. I have the Honor to be, My dear General, With profound respect & Esteem Your Excellency’s most obedient Servant

B. Lincoln

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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