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Letter from General Schuyler to the President of Congress: Resigns his commission, but does not by this step mean to elude an inquiry into his conduct



[Read September 23, 1776.]

Albany, September 14, 1776.

SIR: When I had the honour to address Congress on the 9th instant, it was probable that I should have been under the necessity of marching the Militia either to Ticonderoga or into Tryon County; that necessity is superseded, as Congress will perceive by the information contained in the enclosed papers, in consequence of which the Militia are dismissed; and I do, therefore, now, agreeable to my resolution signified in that letter, hereby resign my commission as Major-General in the Army of the American States, and all and every other office or appointment which I have been honoured with by the honourable Continental Congress.

I do not, however, by this step mean to decline or elude an inquiry which Congress may hereafter be pleased to make into my conduct; on the contrary, it is a duty I owe to myself, to my family, and to the respectable Congress of this State, by whose recommendation, unsolicited by me, Congress, I believe, was induced to honour me with a command, that I should exculpate myself from the many odious charges with which the country resounds to my prejudice. I trust I shall be able fully to do it to the confusion of my enemies and their abettors. But aggrieved as I am, my countrymen will find that I shall not be influenced by any unbecoming resentment, but that I will readily persevere to fulfill the duties of a good citizen, and try to promote the weal of my native country by every effort in my power. I trust that


my successor, whoever he may be, will find that matters are as properly arranged in this department as the nature of the service will admit. I shall most readily give him any information and assistance in my power.

As Congress may perhaps judge it necessary that a General Officer should constantly reside at this place, I shall continue to act as usual until such a reasonable time is elapsed in which one could be sent, which, I should suppose, need not exceed a fortnight. I wish it the soonest possible, as I propose attending my duty in Congress with out delay.

It is a natural wish, sir, that those gentlemen who have been of my family, and incline to continue in the service, should be provided for. The office of Deputy Mustermaster-General in this department is vacant; Congress will permit me to recommend my Secretary, Captain Richard Varick, a gentleman of merit, strict honour, probity, and capacity, to that employment. Major Henry Brockholst Livingston, my Aid-de-Camp, I also beg leave to recommend to the attention of Congress as a gentleman of a most amiable and deserving character; Major Rensselaer, my other Aid-de-Camp, declines any further service.

I am extremely sorry that I am not the only cap of the General Officers in this department against whom the virulent tongue of slander has been employed, I perceive by General Arnold' s letter that his reputation is also cruelly attacked. I have not the least doubt of the falsity of the reports that prevail to his prejudice; but as I have experienced that innocence is no guard against malevolence, I am the less astonished at what is said of him. I sincerely lament that this unhappy spirit is so prevalent at a time when unanimity is so essentially necessary. I dread the consequences to our common cause; we have external evils sufficient to contend with, without adding that of internal dissension.

As Mr˙ Douw is removed out of town, and the other Commissioners of Indian Affairs reside so remote that they cannot pay attention to that department, I humbly conceive it will be necessary that others should be immediately appointed.

I beg leave to suggest to Congress the necessity of a speedy answer to the matters I laid before them respecting the Nantikoke Indians, as the Ochquaques have already called upon me to know if I had received an answer.

I am informed that the term for which some of the New-Jersey and Pennsylvania troops, now at Ticonderoga, were engaged will soon expire, and that there is reason to apprehend many of the men will not re├źngage; if so, it may be attended with many disagreeable and dangerous consequences. Permit me earnestly to entreat Congress to take some measures to retain them if possible.

I am, sir, with very sincere regard, your most obedient, humble servant,


To the Hon˙ John Hancock.