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Jacob Wynkoop to New-York Congress



New-York, August 15, 1775.

GENTLEMEN: It is with the utmost reluctance I am induced to trouble you with the mention of any private or personal discontent, and thereby to withdraw any part of your attention from the weightier publick matters with which it must be engaged; but I confide in your candour that the causes of it will appear to you so reasonable, as to be admitted a sufficient apology for my involuntary intrusion.

I feel the difficulty of addressing you in a manner that may seem to carry the appearance of arrogating to myself a higher degree of merit than you have thought me possessed of, by placing me in the station you did; but as I have reason to think you were unacquainted with the circumstances from which arises my dissatisfaction with the appointment you have been pleased to honour me with, I hope it will not be esteemed improper or unbecoming, to lay them before you.

I have served in the two last wars both by sea and by land, and have been in many engagements. I have a commission from General Shirley as Captain of a company of batteaumen; and in consequence of an action under Col˙ Broadstreet, in which we lost forty-nine men the first fire, I was honoured, with the command of His Excellency General Gage, to be called by the name of his company, to whom his baggage was always entrusted; and had likewise the offer of a commission in the "Royal Americans." I have a good deal of experience of cannon as well as small arms. To these circumstances let me add, I am now fifty-one years old.

I confess I expected to have had an appointment in the First Battalion; but by arrangement lately published, I find I am postponed to the Fourth, and there hold only the rank of Eighth Captain. According to this adjustment, I am to receive the command from thirty-seven Captains who are made my superiors in rank and authority, which, considering my age and experience, and the youth and inexperience of most of those who are placed above me, not to disparage their intrinsick merit, appeals to me to exhibit a very exceptionable and derogatory preference, which cannot fail being extremely unpleasant to any man tinctured with but a moderate share of emulation.

With humble deference, therefore, I entreat you will condescend to take the matter under consideration, and if you conceive my complaint well founded, will be pleased to redress it; for in justice to myself I am compelled to declare, that though I am ready with alacrity to hazard my life in the cause of my Country, yet I cannot be satisfied to do it on terms which I must confess I look upon as somewhat degrading, since a perference is given to many, whose title to a superiority over me I am unable to discern the foundation of.

I am, Gentlemen, with the utmost respect and regard, your most obedient and very humble servant,


To the Honourable Provincial Congress of New-York.