The Papers of General Nathanael Greene


From John Mathews

Dear Sir

I received your favor of the 23d ulto by Majr Giles, for which I acknowledge myself very much obliged to you. The intelligence it contained was a most healing cordial to our drooping spirits. It was doubly welcome, as it was so very unexpected. It seems to have had a very sensible effect on some folks, for as this is a convincing proof that something is to be done, in that department, which for some time past had appeared to be almost annihilated, & forgot[,] they seem at present to be well disposed to give it every possible aid, in order to restore it to re-existence, & vigour; and give it a fair chance to distinguish itself. I can assure you, that, could we command the means, to put you in the most respectable situation you could desire, it would be done. But alas! the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Indeed the distresses of every department is at present past discription. A want of money totally unhinges every thing.
In the committee's letter you will see what is sent, & sending forward, and this day Congress passed an order for £10,000 specie, for a variety of necessaries for your department, which I can assure you is stretching a point, the state of our coffers considered.
Congress have lately passed an act for establishing a permanent revenue, to be at their entire command which if agreed to by the states, will certainly give us a tolerable credit. However, this will be a work of time. The act is transmitted of Govr Rutledge & as he is with you, I thought it unnecessary to send it, as he will of course communicate it to you.
I am very happy to find, you are not disappointed in the character I gave you of Mr Rutledge, and I am convinced, the more you know of him, the greater reasons you will have, for admiring his many amiable qualities, & extensive abilities. Both his heart, & his head are sound, & you will find him one of those characters who improve on acquaintance.
The Minister communic[a]ted to me this day in confidence & in the same manner I convey it to you, that a part of the french fleet will soon make their appearance in your quarter. They will first make an attempt on Gardners Bay. If is to be done there, the next object will be the fleet in Virginia & then to make a feint on ChsTown. I give you the hint. You know how to improve it. That is to say, if you shd be in capacity to take advantage of it. At any rate it will most probably draw of [off] a part of Cornwallis force towards C. T. which will give you a breathing spel.
Rest assured my Dear sir, that , which can be done for your support, will be neglected.
I am sensible that your time must be very much occupied, by the important caus which have devolved on you; but whenever a leisure moment offers, believe me, none of your friends will receive most satisfaction in hearing of your welfare than

yr most affect & Obed Hmbe servt

Jno Mathews

Autograph letter signed (MiU-C) 3 pp.