Letter, to Benjamin Harrison, 1783 March 19
Scope and Contents
Written from Newburg, NY, Washington supports financial plight of soldiers, inspite of brewing conspiracy against him.
- Creation: 1783 March 19
- Washington, George, 1732-1799 (Creator, Person)
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From the Collection: approx. 25 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
Written from Newburgh while facing a mutiny due to a lack of soldier's pay and supplies, George Washington appealed to Virginia's governor, Benjamin Harrison, for financial support of his troops. Referencing an earlier letter, he began, “About the first of this Month I wrote you along letter. I touched upon the state of the Army. …I little expected at the time of writing that letter, that we were on the eve of an important crisis to this Army; when the touch stone of discord was to be applied—and the virtue of its members to undergo the severest trial.”
Washington continued, “You have not been altogether unacquainted, I dare say, with the fears, the hopes, the apprehensions and the expectations of the Army relatively to the provision which is to be made for them hereafter. Altho’ a firm reliance on the integrety of Congress and a belief that the Public would finally do justice to all its Servants, and give an indisputable Security for the payment of the half-pay of the Officers had kept them amidst a variety of sufferings tolerably quiet and contented for two or three years past; Yet the total want of pay—the little prospect of receiving any from the unpromising state of the public finances—and the absolute aversion of the States to establish any Continental funds for the payment of the Debt due to the Army, did at the close of the last Campaign excite greater discontents & threaten more serious & alarming consequences than it is easy for me to describe or you to conceive.” With words of praise for his troops, he ended his request: "all the feelings of gratitude towards a body of Men who have merited infinitely well of their Country." Washington wrote thousands of similar letters to state and local leaders throughout the Revolution.