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P. De Witt to New-York Congress



Witt' s Mount, August 30, 1775.

HONOURED SIR: I wrote you on the 8th instant, which Captain Radcliff tells me he has delivered to yourself; since that, I received none from you, which I do not


impute to your disregard thereto, but to throng of business, and want of a safe opportunity. However, the regard I have for my native land, and the liberties thereof, concerns me to such a degree that I think myself in duty bound thereto to give you a further information.

Some time last week Timothy Doughty, Adam Bergh, and Christian Bergh, Jun˙, three of the persons I mentioned in my last, appeared at their houses and in this neighbourhood again publickly; carried their pistols with them; bid defiance to all, and threatened death if an attempt should be made to take them; endeavoured to obstruct the choice of officers that was making on the 25th instant in Captain Radcliff' s Company; threatened him; d—d the Congress; spoke ill of the new commissions the officers are to receive, and called them d—d rebels; after that, enlisted four men in the Ministerial service, probably more; they offered to enlist more, particularly a young man I hired a few months since; they would enlist him during the troubles in America, under the promise of four hundred acres of land that shall be conquered by the Ministerial Army; another they offered to enlist in the same manner; another they had enlisted, and his master persuaded him back. This they did all unmolested. On the 28th instant they went on board a sloop the said Berghs own, with the four enlisted men and others, and sailed down the river; last night the sloop returned. They are all gone on board a sloop belonging to John and David Dob, in order to go on board the man or ship of war; these Dobs carry wood to New-York, and commonly land it at the North River docks, where they and their sloop are well known. These proceedings seem to strike a terrour in this neighbourhood, although all are tories, only a few excepted. It is by some suspected they will in a few days return, and attempt by stealth to carry me or some other person or persons off to one of the ships of war. If it should so happen, I expect no assistance; and as to myself, I am not afraid; but if any mischief should be intended, I am more afraid to share the like fate of Walter Livingston, Esq.

The question might be asked me, how or in what manner shall a stop be put to these and such like proceedings, and alleged there are many tories in Dutchess; it is a dangerous attempt to quell,suppress,and bring them to reason by force; some of the Convention and Committee-Men in Dutchess County are false and treacherous; nothing can be concerted but it transpires to the Tories; Dutchess County has but two or three Companies of Minute-Men yet; New-York is in danger, and cannot spare any; and many other difficulties may be cast in the way — to which I answer, there is but little difficulty or danger. Cowardice should be removed first; the ringleaders should be advertised; a reward offered to those who take them; without any choice sent to the mines. I am creditably informed the Militia of Esopus are all Minute-Men, and want no better sport than to come over. Three hundred men from thence, with the Minute-Men in this County, or two or three hundred men of the Militia of Connecticut, which are next joining to this County, under proper officers to manage, as I proposed in my former letter, would do the job in a very little lime. Subscribing the Association, or a recantation, should not be deemed sufficient, but an oath should be added. If such a method is not taken very soon, the breach will never be repaired, and the end miserable.

I cannot pass by to let you know that I am informed that Captain John Van Ness, who never had any other than a Captain' s commission one campaign the last war, is nominated Colonel of the Minute-Men here, and Major Robert G˙ Livingston, Jun˙, to be Major; which I think strange and wrong. The latter is already a Major in the Militia, and a gentleman that has all the qualifications of a commanding officer; who is engraved on the hearts of the Militia; admired almost to adoration; beloved by every one, the Tories not excepted. This must be a Hoffman' s trick; they are ever false.

Petrus Ten Broeck, by commission from the Governour, has been Colonel of a Regiment in this quarter; he is a man not fit for it. The men that were willing he regarded not; those that were unwilling he furnished not; trained at times the act forbid — by which he has brought the Regiment in confusion, and is the reason many turned


tories. I hear he has offered his service again; it should not be accepted. Anthony Hoffman, who was his Lieutenant-Colonel, was never before the Regiment; such disregard consequently makes him unfit, besides other reasons. Robert R˙ Livingston, Jun˙, should be Colonel, and Robert G˙ Livingston, Jun˙, should be Lieutenant-Colonel, in their stead, and they should choose their own Majors. Gilbert Livingston has doubtless given information that none of the Field-Officers in the Regiment that was commanded by Leonard Van Kleek ought to be such again.

These abovementioned Dobs ought not to be allowed to come to New-York with their sloop. When they are here they are strong tories, and when at New-York they feign themselves on the other side; and it is the same with one Nathan Clason and Peter Thorpe, who, with one John Halleck, own a boat. They also carry wood to New-York, and land it on the North River docks; are well known there; none of them have subscribed the Association. Mordecai Lester, mentioned in my last, has not appeared since; it is said he is on board the man-of-war.

These my informations and opinion are not out of malice, ill-will, nor flattery, but impartial, and sincerely for the good of the common cause; but beg you will not use my name, to prevent the venting of malice. I intend this per Captain John L˙ Hardenburgh, who I shall desire to deliver it into your hands; he knows nothing of the contents.

I am, with the greatest respect, honoured Sir, your very humble servant,


Peter V˙ B˙ Livingston, Esq.