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John Moore to Pierre Van Cortlandt



On board the Hope, Flag of Truce, Verplank' s Point, 9th December, 1776.

DEAR SIR: Having obtained leave from Lord Howe to come up with a flag, in order to ask leave for my family to accompany me to New-York, I was in great hopes I could have been allowed to wait on the honourable Convention on that errand, but General Heath thinking it improper I should go forward, must apologize for the trouble of this letter. Being so happy as to be intimately connected with you by marriage, I must beg the favour of you, my dear sir, to solicit the honourable Convention in behalf of myself and family, that they will be so indulgent as to grant my wife liberty to come down with her child, servants, and house furniture. Your humanity, my dear sir, will plead for me, and I cannot but indulge the hope that the Congress will be favourably pleased to grant me this request. I take the liberty of mentioning to you that Mrs˙ Lewis (lady of the honourable Delegate at Philadelphia) and Mrs˙ Smith (wife of Mr˙ Smith) were last week permitted to go with their family and effects, flags of truce having come to demand them. The State of New-Jersey have also permitted many ladies to come from thence.

I write this letter not certainly knowing you to be at the Convention, and therefore take the liberty of directing it in case of your absence, to some other gentlemen, with some of whom I have the honour of an intimate acquaintance, and of others I know so much as to depend upon their humanity.

The connection (though more distant) between Mr˙ Jay, Mr˙ Duane, and Mr˙ R˙ Livingston, and my wife' s family, will, exclusive of my own character and the inoffensive line of my deportment, plead in her behalf, and obtain for me the only portion of happiness which these wretched times can in their nature afford me. Should the honourable Congress grant me this indulgence, I could wish for leave to go myself to bring my family down; indeed, at present I know not where they are, whether at my father' s, at West-Point, in the Highlands, or at her father' s, at Poughkeepsie. If I cannot go myself, I earnestly entreat the favour of you to send this letter by express to my father-in-law, Jas˙ Livingston, Esq˙, Poughkeepsie, enclosed in a line from yourself, desiring him, should my wife not be there, instantly to send this letter to her, desiring her to come down by land or water, with as much of her effects as she may be permitted to bring. I am obliged to repeat my earnest request to be allowed to wait upon you, on my way for my family. I am willing to go in any way the Congress or General may please, and am ready to pay the expense of one or more guards to accompany me.

Enclosed are two letters from Mr˙ Elliot to his friends Messrs˙ Duane and Jay; to Mr˙ Duer also he desires his compliments. I hope that gentleman also, and any others who may be at Congress, and who knows me, will solicit this favour for me. I need not say how highly I shall be obliged, and how much happiness it will afford a woman at present very unhappy.

Mr˙ Ph˙ I˙ Livingston is here on the same errand, as is Mr˙ Inglis; and we have sent to General Heath a letter in our favour, from the very worthy Colonel Magaw, who commanded at Fort Washington. We hope that letter also will be laid before you.


I have not time to add, but to beg pardon for this liberty, and to assure you that I am, very respectfully, your affectionate and obedient servant,


To the Hon˙ Pierre Van Cortlandt; in his absence the Hon˙ James Duane, John Jay, Robt˙ R˙ Livingston, Mr˙ Duer, or Anthony Hoffman, Esqrs˙, or either of them, Fishkill.