Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. VIII (1779-1780)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. VIII (1779-1780) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. VIII (1779-1780).
About Liberty Fund:
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
I have the honor to inform Congress, that I have received a letter from a confidential correspondent in New York, dated the 27th of November, containing the following paragraph.
“The Men-of-War at the Hook have taken in water for several months, and on friday the Admiral went down with all his Baggage. A fleet for Cork and a number of Vessels for England will sail in a few days, some of which are loaded with valuable Cargoes. However, some think that they will not sail till D’Estaing has left the Coast, or till there is some arrival from England. Privateering is now almost over, not more than six now out and few fitting. There have not any prizes of Value arrived for some time past.”
The circumstance of the two fleets destined for England and Ireland, is also mentioned by Major Lee. He sends me a list of the enemy’s naval force as follows: At the Hook The Russel and Robuste 74’s The Europa, Defiance, and Raisonable 64’s. The Roebuck of 44 and two smaller Frigates. The Renown of 50 and Romulus of 44 at New York. I understand he forwarded a similar list to Congress. As I have not before heard of the Defiance I am in doubt whether there may not be a mistake with respect to her.
But the most important part of the first mentioned letter relates to the indefatigable endeavors of the enemy to increase the depreciation of our currency by increasing its quantity in Counterfeits. It asserts, as a matter of certainty, that Reams of the paper made for the last emissions struck by Congress have been procured from Philadelphia. The writer had taken much but fruitless pains to detect the [persons] concerned. He observes that the enemy have great hopes of terminating the War in their favor in another Campaign, as they expect, confidently, the entire ruin of our money and a failure of provisions for the Supply of the Army. The prevailing opinion, he says, among the most knowing in New York is, that a considerable part of the Army will be sent to Georgia, as soon as it is known that the French Fleet has left the coast; and it is thought by some, that several Regiments will go to the West Indies. He speaks of the arrival of a packet, which left Falmouth the 7th of September, posterior to the period to which the different accounts refer the engagement between the fleets, and which brings no intelligence of such an event. Your Excellency’s letter of the 2d Inst. is come to hand. I have the honor to be, &c.
P. S. The very critical situation of the Army made still more critical by the proposed detachment to the Southward induces me to take the liberty of again intreating the attention of Congress to the Subject of my letter of the 18th last month. Several of the Assemblies are now sitting and if the requisitions of Congress do not reach them before they rise, the delay on assembling them will protract our succors to a period which may leave us absolutely at the discretion of the Enemy. The Army daily dissolving will be so weak in the early part of Spring, that without proportionable reinforcements, if the enemy keep their present collected force they will have it in their power to take such advantage of our situation as may be fatal to our affairs. There is indeed a probability of their making detachments, but there is far from being a certainty. Though it should be their present intention (against which however many cogent reasons may be assigned) to operate to the Southward, they would be very likely to abandon it on finding we had transported to that quarter a force sufficient to defeat their attempts. In this case they may send a few Regiments to their Islands and still retain a force very formidable to our Weakness. Should we experience any disasters, we must dread the consequences at this delicate period of our currency; and that we should experience the most serious disasters we can have little doubt when we reflect that we should be too weak and too much divided to resist the enemy in the posts we are obliged to occupy, and too much fettered by the difficulty of transportation and supplies to avoid them and reunite our force—If not a moment should be lost, the Recruits will hardly join the Army before the Month of April—It is therefore evidently of the greatest importance that no delay should be incurred—For my own part, I confess my anxiety on the subject is extreme.1
[1 ]“From the Silence of our Articles of War with respect to the right, which parties in arrest have, of challenging or objecting to Members of Courts Martials I would beg leave to submit the point to the consideration of Congress, and to request, that they will be pleased to decide—Whether the parties have such a right.—Whether it may be exercised in all or in what cases.—To what extent as to number, challenges may be made:—Whether they may be peremptory, or must be special, assigning causes—and whether the parties have the privilege of making both. These are points which appear to me necessary for forming a part of our Military code—and which can only be defined and fixed by Congress. And I will take the liberty to add, that the important trials coming on, make me solicitous for a very early determination. I have consulted many of the General Officers of the Army upon the occasion—and it seems to be a matter generally agreed—that the practice of Armies admits challenges of both sorts; but we have no rule fixing their extent or the cases in which they may be made.”—Washington to the President of Congress, 8 December, 1779.