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New-York Congress to General Lee


In Provincial Congress, New-York, March 6, 1776.

SIR: We have now under consideration the case of Mr˙ Samuel Gale, who was lately apprehended in this city by a military guard, and conveyed to Fairfield, in the Colony of Connecticut, where he now is in close confinement. We are wholly ignorant of the nature of the charge brought against him, or the cause of his commitment, and should be glad to be informed thereof, that proper steps may be taken either for his discharge or punishment.

It may not be improper to remind you, sir, that the right of apprehending, trying, and punishing citizens who violate the resolutions of Congress, or act inimical to the liberties of America, is, by the Continental Congress, delegated to the Provincial Conventions in the respective Colonies. This right we think it our duty to insist upon as essential to the security of our constituents. We hold ourselves ready to co-operate with you in every measure that may be thought necessary to promote the common cause of the Continent, and to frustrate the arbitrary designs of a wicked Ministry; at the same time it becomes us, as faithful guardians of the


people, to protect the liberty and property of our constituents as much as possible in our present unhappy situation. We are sensible of the many difficulties you have to struggle with while commanding an undisciplined soldiery; but we flatter ourselves their irregularities will be checked upon proper information. This consideration, sir, induces us to inform you that the Port-Guards continue to fire upon the boats coming to and going from this city, for the purpose of supplying the inhabitants with provisions and other necessaries. If this practice is continued, we are apprehensive it will greatly distress the inhabitants, render it impossible to provide for the troops, and prevent our Commissary from supplying the magazine we are now establishing for the Continental Army. We therefore entreat you, sir, to give such orders to the Port-Guards as will prevent such inconveniences for the future.

We are, with esteem, your obedient servants.

By order.

To Major-General Lee.