Primary tabs

Letter from the Convention at New-York to the President of Congress



[Read in Congress June 10, 1776.]

In Provincial Congress, New-York, June 7, 1776.

SIR: Your letter of the 4th day of June, instant, enclosing certain important resolves of the honourable the Continental Congress, of the 1st, 3d, and 4th instant, was delivered to me this morning, and immediately communicated to the Convention of this Colony.

They have directed me to present to the Congress their warmest acknowledgments for the unwearied attention they have paid to the welfare and happiness of the United Colonies, and to assure them that this Colony will most cheerfully endeavour to comply with all their requisitions.

Persuaded that the pay allowed the Eastern Army during the last campaign was unreasonably high, this Convention received great satisfaction from the measures taken by the Congress (as they supposed) with a view to reduce it. The inferior allowance of pay given to the troops raised in this Colony, those of New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the lower Counties, was considered as a precedent which would soon become general, and it was expected that the patriotism and laudable pride of the other Colonies would not long permit them to accept higher wages than their neighbours for fighting in the same glorious cause and for the attainment of the same great and valuable object.

This Convention are most sensibly affected by the continuance of that discrimination; and though ready to consent to a still greater reduction of pay, provided it be general, yet a due regard to the honour of this Colony will no longer permit them, by a silent acquiescence in so odious a discrimination, to give posterity reason to conclude that it was established on just and proper principles.

This Convention readily confess the merit of the Eastern forces, but have as yet no reason to believe it exceeds that of the troops raised in the other Colonies; and therefore claim of the Congress, as a matter of justice, that they be put on one general footing. It would neither be wise nor honest to conceal from the Congress the discontents that have arisen from the continuance of this invidious distinction; they are too great and too general not to injure the service, and therefore merit the notice and attention of those who alone can remove them.


By this unfortunate circumstance the levies of this Colony have been, and in all probability will continue to be retarded; and there is now a great number of the inhabitants of this Colony (invited by higher pay) actually receiving arms in the New-England Regiments.

The resolves received this morning have been considered, and a Committee appointed to ascertain the quotas of men to be furnished by the different Counties, in order to complete the number required of this Colony; which Committee hath made report on that subject, and the said report been considered and agreed to. But it appearing from those resolves that although large detachments from the Militia of several other Colonies are also required for the service, yet there is an utter silence as to the quantum of pay to be allowed them, this Convention being unable further to proceed in their business, are under the necessity of ordering one of their members (Mr˙ Gouverneur Morris) to repair immediately to Philadelphia, in order to obtain from the Congress information on that head, and whether the same difference of wages, now unhappily subsisting between the regular troops, is to be extended to the Militia of the several Colonies. Should that be the case, this Colony will be exceedingly embarrassed; for while the regard due to its honour is suffered to clash with the regard due to the general cause, there is reason to fear its exertions will be feeble, and the harmony and mutual confidence of the Colonies probably diminished. The Convention, therefore, earnestly request the favour of the Congress speedily to dismiss Mr˙ Morris, they being very desirous of forming their regiments of Militia without delay.

I am directed, sir, by the Convention, to return you their thanks for your polite letter, and to assure you that they considered the remarks and exhortations contained in it as additional proofs of that zeal which you have ever manifested for the American cause.

I have the honour to be, with the greatest respect, sir, your most obedient and most humble servant,


To the Hon˙ John Hancock, Esq˙, President of the Continental Congress, at Philadelphia.