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Tryon County (New-York) Committee to Provincial Congress



Tryon County Committee Chamber, October 28, 1775.

HONOURABLE GENTLEMEN: As we found our duty and particular reasons to inquire or rather desire Sir John Johnson' s absolute opinion and intention of the three following articles, viz:

1. Whether he would allow that his tenants may form themselves into Companies, according to the regulations of our Continental Congress, to the defence of our Country' s cause;

2. Whether he would be willing himself also to assist personally in the same purpose;

3. Whether he pretendeth a prerogative to our County Court-House and Jail, and would hinder or interrupt the Committee of our County to make use of the said publick houses for our want and service in our common cause;

We have therefore, from our meeting held yesterday, sent three members of our Committee with the aforementioned questions contained in a letter to him directed, and received of Sir John, thereupon, the following answer:

1. That he thinks our requests very unreasonable, as he never had denied the use of either Court-House or Jail to any body, nor would yet deny it for the use which these houses have been built for; but he looks upon the Court-House and Jail at Johnstown to be his property till he is paid seven hundred Pounds — which being out of his pocket for the building of the same.

2. In regard of embodying his tenants into Companies, he never did forbid them, neither should do it, as they may use their pleasure; but we might save ourselves that trouble, he being sure they would not.

3. Concerning himself he declared, that before he would sign any association, or would lift his hand up against his King, he would rather suffer that his head shall be cut off. Further, be replied, that if we would make any unlawful use of the Jail, he would oppose it; and also mentions that there have many unfair means been used for signing the Association, and uniting the people; for he was informed, by credible gentlemen in New-York, that they were obliged to unite, otherwise they could not live there. And that he was also informed, by good authority, that likewise two-thirds of the Canajoharie and German-Flatts people have been forced to sign; and, by his opinion, the Boston people are open rebels, and the other Colonies have joined them.

Our Deputies replied to his expressions of forcing the people to sign in our County; that his authority spared the truth, and it appears by itself ridiculous that one-third should have forced two-thirds to sign. On the contrary, they would prove that it was offered to any one, after signing, that the regretters could any time have their names crossed, upon their requests.

We thought proper to refer these particular inimical declarations to your House, and would be very glad to get your opinion and advice, for our further directions. Please, also, to remember what we mentioned to you in our former letters, of the inimical and provoking behaviour of the tenants of said Sir John, which they still continue, under the authority of said Sir John.

We must further hear that the Governour, Tryon, shall have granted again a commission to the great villain, Alexander White, for High-Sheriff in our County; but we shall never suffer any execution of such office in our County by the said White. We have not yet been favoured with your answer and opinion in regard to our proceedings in voting a new Sheriff for our County. Be also pleased to despatch to us the commissions for our Militia officers, as it is very difficult to cause the regulations to be executed according to the resolves of our Provincial Congress, without such authorities.

We remain, with much esteem, honourable Gentlemen, your obedient humble servants.

By order of the Committee:


To the Honourable Provincial Congress at New-York.

P˙S. We must also see some of our enemies, Indians of Guy Johnson' s party, come back, and in particular the Indian William Johnson, who fought against our forces near St˙ John' s, and has now made his abode again in our Canajoharie Castle, very boldly, and perhaps with bad designs.