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Letter from William Clajon to Horatio Gates
Clajon, William
August 1780
Volume 14, Pages 565-567



The exhausted State of the Treasury prevents my joining you as yet, or I would set out with Col. Kosciusko. My Warrant for 14,000 Dollars lies in Mr. Hillegas's Hands, who will pay when he has Money, which he hourly expects. I cannot find to borrow under the enormous Discount of Fifteen for One, which, added to the continual Depreciation, would disable me from going on, even tho' the Public were not capitally injured by the Consequences of the Extortion.

Mr. Nourse has given me the Inclosed for you, and you will know by him your Son's State of Health. Colonel Kosciusko intends to visit Traveller's Rest before he joins you, so that you will have by him a more circumstantial Account than you can otherwise have from your Family.

I have sent you, about a Fortnight ago, the Pennsylvania Gazette, which contains my Piece, No My Lord, but all Lords in the United States of America. Whatever the Performance may be, I trust you will do Justice to my honest Intention.

Colonel Pickering sets out for Camp next Wednesday, and his Appointment gives great Satisfaction to all Patriots. He will be missed at the War Office. It is not an easy Matter to replace an

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indefatigable Man of Integrity.

You have seen in my last that General Lincoln expected you would be assisted by the 1st of August, in Consequence of Intelligence he received before his Surrender, and which he was thus far authorized to mention, without Breach of Parole.

I wish he were already exchanged, for he assured me he would solicit to serve under you at the Southward, as he did at the Northward, and he spoke of you in the most respectful, affectionate manner. The good Man shed Tears; but they were the Tears of Affection and Patriotism. I was near enough to him to observe the Drop he endeavored to conceal when it forced its Way out of his Eye. He certainly is your Friend.

The short scrawl he gave me for you, unsealed, ends thus: God bless you. But he alludes to your political Situation. Were he exchanged he would be more explicit.

We are told here that a Detachment of your Army has been very successful. This appears ominous, and I am not the only Man who suspects you would be impeached were you to Burgoyne Lord Cornwallis. May it be so! But I hope I shall be there in Time. The Campaign will soon open with you; and I believe that it will be very active, unless the Climate should have fought our Battles before the Armies met.

I suppose you have heard already that Mr. Izard is here, and has obtained a Committee of Congress to hear him on the Mismanagement of our Minister, Doctor Franklin. He says that he will speak in and out of Congress; that such Prevarications are intolerable, and ought to be known; that the Doctor suffers himself to be imposed upon, and ruins the States, he being open to Flattery, and Flatterers knowing his Foible; that it matters not whether a Man be a Traitor or Dupe to Traitors, when the Consequence is the same. For my Part, I calmly hear those Things, and am very sorry that my Judgment of the Doctor proves so true as I made it ever since his Return to America, after he quarrelled with the Ministry. I have had opportunities to know him better than many others, without seeing him, and better than many who were constantly with him. His Commission with his Son did not a little strengthen my opinion of him.

Count Pulaski's pretended Brother is gone to the Enemy. I suppose he was afraid of being known to have been expelled out

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of Lauzun's Legion in the French Service, that Corps being at Newport.

Congress have, at last, taken off Doctor Shippen's Arrest. A considerable Reformation is to take Place in the medical Line. I shall particularly inform you of the Resolve of Congress, which has taken Two Rations from me. I submit patiently, hoping that you may assist me when you shall have deserved to be impeached; but I must be with you, that I be recommended with some propriety. I could bear my Loss with more Cheerfulness, could I see Economy applied in a Princely Manner. Alas! it is not. The most scandalous Niggardliness and the most wanton Profusion equally disgrace our Leaders and ruin our Operations. And yet there are virtuous men amongst them. The proof of it is that we cannot be conquered, tho' we labour under such Difficulties. Our Case is unparalleled in History. The Reason is that our local Situation is, of all, the most advantageous to withstand such distant Enemies.

I shall write by Tuesday's Post, upon a Subject which I can not mention before I Know something which I expect to hear Tomorrow.

I am, very respectfully, Sir,
Your most affectionate
And humble Servant,

Philadelphia, August 20th, 1780.

I beg you will assure my good Friends Major Armstrong and Doctor Browne that I do not forget them.

I enclose you a Pamphlet I had from Mrs. Shippen. I'll try to get another for myself, on declaring how I disposed of her Present.