Philadelphia 11th December 1783
Want of time this Morning prevented my giving the reasons that operated in my mind against the delivery of the duplicate Cannon inscribed for Count De Grass—duty obliges me to inform your Excellency that the two pieces ordered by Congress were executed in this City and forwarded by the Ship Washington previous to any knowledge of those now on hand being preparing in the vicinity of camp—On their Arrival I waited on the Minister of France and informed him through Mr Marbois of the circumstance; the reply gave me to understand that it was probable an application would be made to Congress at a future day for their disposal, and requested me to keep them until their pleasure was known, this and the impropriety of finding them which in every view to me appeared in a glaring light, has actuated my conduct in refusing the order from the secretary of the War Office—Congress (by whom alone distinguishing honours for military services rendered to the United States are granted) having thought fit to order only two pieces of Cannon to be given to Count De Grass, it appeared to me that to send him four would be contravening the views of Congress, if it were not deemed a derogation from their dignity and other Officers on whom similar marks of distinction have been bestowed might think themselves injured. However, if I have your Excellencies order to offer in justification I will deliver the additional cannon requested immediately. With the Most profound respect I have the honour to be your Excellencies Most Obedient servant
Comy [Mil.] Stores
DLC: Papers of George Washington.