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Letter from Francis Stephens to George Wray



Office of Ordnance, New-York, August 21, 1775.

SIR: I have received your letters of the 9th and 17th July, the former accompanying your first and second Bills of Exchange in my favour on the honourable Board of Ordnance, for one hundred Pounds sterling, which I shall endeavour to negotiate; but with what success is by no means at present in my power to determine, as you must, no doubt, be sensible of the Congress having long ago forbid all persons purchasing such from those who are any wise connected with the Army. However, you may depend I shall do my utmost to surmount this difficulty, and when disposed of, apply the amount thereof to the purpose intended.

Mrs˙ Gay has received her two Shillings sterling per diem from Mr˙ McEvers, as has Mrs˙ Gillihen her five Pounds currency per month, and Mr˙ Elphinston has likewise received from that gentleman his subsistence for the months of July and August, with Walker, the cooper, and Sergeant Brown, with one Parbudge, late a matross, have also been paid their pensions. In respect to the mode of settling your account with the late Mr˙ Forman, it is by no means in my power to advise you, as nothing has yet been done in his affairs otherwise than securing his papers, which are extremely numerous, and will require a person of ability, and take up some considerable time, properly to adjust them, &c. As to Samuel Roberts, the armourer, he has been employed for some years past as an extra artificer at this place, and has hitherto received four Shillings currency per diem; but on his leaving New-York I agreed in that case to pay him three Shillings sterling per diem, equal to what he will be allowed should he be appointed in the room of the late Charles Hartley, deceased, and which Mr˙ Richard Forman, in a letter to him about three months since, intimated was really the case; but as I have not as yet received any letter from the Board on the subject, of course cannot at present look upon him as such, or otherwise than an extra armourer. He has been paid by me to the 30th June last, and his three Shillings sterling per diem should commence the first July, reserving eighteen


Shilings currency per week, which he desired might be paid to his wife, and which she accordingly receives from me, during his absence; but I should think, as he is at present situated in Boston, and immediately under your direction, you had better get him included in your extra list, deducting from his pay the above eighteen Shillings, on account of his family, which sum I can, in like manner with the rest, debit your account. I notice what you observed in respect to my purchasing a supply of fine paper, and wish with all my heart it was in my power to comply with your request; but were I in possession of that or any other article which you may be ever so much necessitated for, it would not be possible for me at present to get them any wise conveyed from hence to Boston, as a guard is constantly kept in order to prevent any thing of the kind being effected. On a slight view of your account, as it at present stands in late Mr˙ Forman' s books, there appears a balance against you of £1048 4s. 3½d. sterling; but I don' t find any credit given you for such vouchers as you may have transmitted him during the time you have been at Boston, and which no doubt must be the case on a further elucidation. Mr˙ Charles McEvers, Captain Adye, and myself proposed, soon after Mr˙ Forman' s decease, to administer to his effects; but for reasons since agitated, it was thought most advisable to protract it, observing to prevent any other person taking out letters to that purpose. I shall certainly write to Colonel Cleveland by this conveyance; but be that as it may, desire that you will acquaint him that nothing shall be wanting, that is in my power, towards complying with his request, in respect to the management of the business he recommended, that of paying such draughts as may have been drawn on the late Mr˙ Commissary Forman. And every thing which may any wise tend to promote the good of His Majesty' s service, shall be properly attended to by, Sir, your most obedient servant,


P˙ S. The letters which you enclosed in your last for Mrs˙ Wray were forwarded the day they were received, viz: on ninth instant; and the one I now send you from her, has been a considerable time by me waiting for an opportunity. Pray be so good as to cause the enclosed to be delivered as directed.

Mr˙ George Wray, Acting Commissary, &c˙, Royal Artillery at Boston.