George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Jacob Schreiber, 4 March 1783

Philadelphia the 4th Mars 1783


Knowing your Excellency’s Sentiments of Justice and Equity, I dare flater me Self you would be So Kind to take my disagreeable and Critique Situation into Consideration and to grant me Relief.

As your Excellency already aquainted with my being discharged the Service as Prisoner of war by Resolve of Congress in Consequence of two Memorials of which I have the honour to transmit a Copy. No. 1 et 2. Likewise a Copy of the Resolve. No. 3. I Leave to think how Sensibly an officer Shall be affected, after fourteen Months Captivity, Suffered the greatest Misery done his duty as an officer according the Certificate of Colonel Laumoy, to receive Such treatment. Copy No. 4.

having no other fortune then my Probity and Talent and as my Lot will be again to Serve in an Army in Europe Which can not be without being exchanged, I endeauvred me Since this time in troubling your Excellency, in presenting Memorials to Congress for Getting my Exchange, in which I represented my Ruin and the Lost of my future happyness in Case if I Should not obtain my Exchange, but all Relief I recieved was a Resolve of Congress of which I join a Copy No. 5. in Consequence of this Resolve I Laid before Congress an other Memorial in which I represented, that, by this Principle of Delicacy according the Resolve, I Can hope that the United States would not dispose deliberately of the honour and happyness of an officer in Causing him his Ruin and that I wish, Congress would grant me a flag to go to New york for negociating my Exchange on my own Expences. I was honoured in Answer to my Memorial by Secretary Tompson that I Shall apply to the Minister of war for this Matter. of whom I received a Warrant for Six Months Pay and a Letter to the Commanding officer to Dobb’s ferry. Letter No. 6.

I Should have pursued my Project, if the financier General had not refused to Pay me Six Months Pay. in consequence of his refusal I Rode a Letter to Congress I was honoured in Answer to my Letter as your Excellency will be pleased to Learn by the Copy No. 7.

thus by the Answer of Congress my fate has been left to the Discretion of the financier General to act therein as he may conceive most proper. the financier General left me Know by words of the Minister of war, what Sum I demand in resigning of all demands of the United States, Viz. Pay. Subsistance, half Pay. &c.

having been indebted, and having wished to go home, and having been assured by my Knowledge, that the Minister of war could never pretend a Resignation of a Prisoner of war, I demanded thousand Dollars, which Sum was just Sufficient to Pay my Debts and to Carry me home. thus I recieved four hundred Dollars Ready Money and Six hundred Dollars in Bills of exchange upon france for my resignation. having been disapointed by the Season of the Winter to Set off, I Could not execute my design which I formed for Europe. therefor I am then obliged to apply to your Excellency in Supplicating my Exchange, which will be my greatest happyness to obtain it in this moment, and my Ruin if I Should be So unhappy to Stay as Prisoner of War without Services.

I Could Set out to your Excellency in more Sensible Words my Critique Situation, but I believe, that the Onely motive to be a Prisoner of war without Services and without an other fortune, then the Military State, is Sufficient to dispose your Excellency, who has taken alleways Pleasure to render Justice, to grant me the Grace which I demand, for Which I will hold me Self during Life under the greatest Gratitude and I will never forgit to vow to God for your Excellency’s Conservation and Prosperity. in Expectation of a favorable and positive Answer I have the honour to be with the greatest Respect your Excellency’s most humble and obeidient Servant

J. Schreiber

Capt. Engers

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


Copy of a Memorial Laid before Congress

4 October 1781


I beg Leave to represent to your Excellency that I have Lost all my Baggage on my voyage coming to this Continent, being taken by the English—and plundered of every thing, that I have been obliged after being paroled at Large, to travel at my own Expence from Virginia to Philadelphia, without receiveing any money, as most of the other officers have in Virginia, further that on the 360 dollars of new Emission I received for my Warrant, I was obliged to Loose 3/5 being much distressed for Want of money, and Consequently the remainder was not Sufficient to find me in the Most indipensable Necessaries, and that besides this I have not received any thing for my Service in america. I am therefor under the Necessity of amplying to your Excellency to order at Least So much money to be payd to me, as to inable me to Live agreeable to the Character of an officer.

from your Excellency I expect Redress for the many Sufferings I had to undergo in this Country and in Expectation of a favorable answer. I have the honor to be your Excellencys Mo. Ob.


Copy of the Second Memorial Laid before Congress
To his Excellency the President and the honorable Members of the Congress of the United States,

17 October 1782


After having humbly represented to your Excelly and the honble Members of Congress the wretched Situation of your Memorialist as also three times to the honble Board of War, but being allwais put off by the Latter with the Reply, that they could not grant me any thing without an order from Congress for that purpose, I would therefor beg your Excellency and the honble Members, to grant me as much, as that I may a Least be above the want of the common Necessaries of life, or in case I can not be any Longer Supported in this Country, I will be obliged to return to my home, for which End I would beg the favour of your Excellency and the honble Members to grant me a Permission and my two years Pay in Bills of exchange upon france, for which your Memorialist will hold him self under the greatest obligation during Life and more so, if he could Know his fate in a Short time, in order to have the advantage of the Season for his Sea Voyage. in Expectation of a favorable Answer I have the honor to be with the greatest respect. your Excellency’s and the honble Members of Congress most obed. &c.


War Office November 8. 1782


Congress having objected to the negotiation of partial exchanges—Captain Schreiber goes to your post for the purpose of addressing a letter to his friends in New York to endeavor at obtaining his liberation by purchase—should he proceed, and his presence is necessary in New York, he will write to General Washington for his permission.

You will please to assist him in facilitating his passage to New York. I have the honor to be Sir, Your very obedient servant

B. Lincoln

P.S. Captain Schreiber proposes writing to General Washington at the same time that he writes to New York. in order that there may be no delay in waiting for his permission—this letter you will be so good as to forward.

B. Lincoln

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