Primary tabs

Letter from General Schuyler to the New-York Provincial Congress


"Albany, September 9, 1776.

"GENTLEMEN: In consequence of information received from Colonel Dayton on Friday last, that a body of the enemy were to be at Oswego on the 4th instant, and that another body were actually on their march to the Mohawk river, I have requested the Committee of this County to order up the Militia, and they are now convening here.

"At half past ten this morning, I received a letter from General Gates, dated the 6th instant, at Tyeonderoga, in which he gives me the following extract of a letter from Lieutenant-Colonel Hartley to him, dated from Crown-Point at two o' clock on Friday:

"‘There has been a very heavy cannonade down the Lake all this morning. It is undoubtedly between our fleet and the enemy, so that you may prepare accordingly. I have sent down a boat just now to know more particularly.’

"This intelligence has induced me to call on the neighbouring Counties in the New-England States, and those of Dutchess and Ulster in this, to march their Militia up. Future accounts from General Gates or Colonel Dayton must determine which way I am to march the Militia, whether to Ticonderoga or to the westward. Our army is in the greatest distress for medicines, and this, in common with all the other misfortunes that have attended our Northern operations, is imputed to me. I am happy that I have it in my power not only to exculpate myself on the most minute and critical inquiry, but that I can point out the source of most of our disasters in this department. Your respectable body will not be displeased at this declaration, since you have, more immediately, cause to wish that I may have discharged my duty with propriety, as by your recommendation I was appointed to a command which, notwithstanding your favourable opinion of me, I knew I was incompetent to, and therefore reluctantly accepted the arduous task.

"Envy, detraction, and the most unbecoming jealousy have followed from the beginning. I hope I have properly resented every calumny where 1 could fix it on individuals. To exculpate myself from the general clamour, I have entreated Congress to make the strictest inquiry into my conduct, that if I am culpable, I may meet with the detestation of my fellow-citizens; if not, and that others are, that the publick resentment may be transferred to the proper object. I have even ventured to declare that ‘I do not believe I shall be even convicted of an errour in judgment.’ As twenty-four days are already elapsed since I requested an inquiry, and have not been honoured with any answer, and as the calumny against me increases with rapidity, I have by this conveyance advised Congress and General Washington of my intentions to resign, and as soon as I return from Tryon County or Ticonderoga, and that I will in some other way strive to evince my affection for my country and my zeal in its cause.

"I hope this step will meet your approbation, and although I am not at liberty to lay before you such proofs as I trust will clearly and fully acquit me of any impropriety of conduct, yet it may hereafter be my duty to do it, as well for my own justification as for that of the Provincial Congress, who wrote so partially in my favour to the Continental Congress.

"I am, gentlemen, with the greatest respect and esteem, your most obedient, humble servant,


"To the honourable the Provincial Congress of the State of New-York. "