Contractors Office April 2d 1783
On the arrival of the Packet at Philada with Dispatches from the Count De Estaing, Announcing the Preliminaries of a general Peace to have been signed at Paris on the 20th of January, the Honble the Secretary at War, was pleased to write Sir Guy Carleton on the Subject of a Contract for the supply of Provisions to the Army under his Command, & recommended myself & Compy as persons proper to make such supplies. This letter I had to honor to deliver to Sir Guy Carleton on the 24th Instant, but no Official Accounts having at that Time reached New York prevented the Commanding Officer in that City from entering into engagements of such a nature with persons in our Situation: and I was obliged to return without effecting this object. I have therefore to request your Excellency to grant me the proper passports to return to that City, that I may be ready, on the arrival of such Intelligence to compleat the business that was recommended by the Secretary at War. I am constrained to make this application to your Excellency from the dangerous situation in which we shall be placed as Contractors for the American Army should the supply of the British Army pass thro’ other Channels. The great scarcity of Beef in the Country gives us the most alarming apprehensions, & fully convinces us, that it will be out of our power to supply the American Army, should other persons purchase the supplies which will soon be required in the City of New York, at an enormous advanced price, & with ready Cash.
These Motives have induced me to trouble your Excellency with the present application; & I flatter myself that a compliance with this request will not be deemed inconsistent with the public good. I have the honor to be, with perfect Respect your Excellency’s most obedt & hbe servt
DLC: Papers of George Washington.