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Letter from the Albany Committee to the New York Convention


Albany Committee Chamber, August 10, 1776.

GENTLEMEN: In obedience to your resolve of the 26th day of June last, requesting this Committee to lay before your honourable Board the proceedings had against Abraham C˙ Cuyler, Henry Cuyler, Stephen DeLancey, John Duncan, Benjamin Hilton, and John Monier, inhabitants of this City and County, sent to Hartford in the Colony of Connecticut, and the misdemeanors with which they stand charged, this Committee beg leave to acquaint your honourable Board that the representation respecting Henry Cuyler


is groundless; and as to the others, we refer you to the matters contained in the paper herewith sent, distinguished by No˙ 1, which sets forth the conduct of some of them previous to this Committee' s proceedings against them.

At a meeting of this Committee on the 9th day of May last, the said Abraham C˙ Cuyler, Stephen DeLancey, and John Monier, among other persons of this city, were judged to be notoriously disaffected to the American cause; whereupon it was resolved, that the said disaffected persons should be cited to appear before this Board, and that the Association made by your honourable Board the 27th day of March last should be tendered to them. They were cited accordingly, and appeared before this Committee on the 11th day of May last, which Association they refused to sign; upon which it was resolved that the said persons should be disarmed, as will appear by a certified copy of the Minutes of this Board, herewith sent, marked No˙ 2.

Respecting Benjamin Hilton, we refer you to Nos˙ 3 and 1.

The morning of the 4th of June was ushered in with the firing of guns, pistols, &c˙, by boys, negroes, &c˙, a circumstance not agreeable to the inhabitants of this city, knowing the scarcity of powder. We were no longer at a loss to guess from whence this untimely liberality proceeded than the evening following, when a number of unfriendly persons assembled at the house of Richard Cartwright in order to celebrate that anniversary. The Mayor was conducted to this noble banquet by Thomas Barret, a cooper, and Charles Folliott, a carpenter, supported by them under each arm. The unusual noise on this occasion alarmed many of the inhabitants of this city, who went to Cartwright' s, to inform themselves of the occasion of this indecent meeting, when, to their astonishment, they found Abraham C˙ Cuyler, Stephen DeLancey, and John Monier, with a number of the lower sort of people, carousing, and singing God save the King, &c. Their former conduct having so exasperated the good people of this city that they could no longer refrain taking notice of this daring insult, upon which they rushed in, seized Stephen DeLancey and John Monier, among others, and committed them to the Tory Jail. The next day the petition No˙ 4 was presented to this Committee by a number of respectable inhabitants of this city. Shortly after, a verbal request was made to this Board by the said petitioners, praying that the said Abraham C˙ Cuyler, Henry Cuyler, Stephen DeLancey, John Monier, John Duncan, and Benjamin Hilton, might be removed out of this city. Whereupon this Committee, on the 13th day of June last, on motion, resolved that the said six persons above named, and Lieutenant Angus McDonald, should be removed under guard to Hartford in Connecticut. See the Resolve No˙ 5.

During the residence of these men in this place, our enemies were daily increasing in number and insolence, boasting that they were to make returns of their proceedings to some of the greatest men in the country. We plainly foresaw that nothing could be done with the rabble who were influenced by them till they were removed; and indeed the conduct of the Committee of Albany was freely and loudly censured by the good people of this County in all parts. Complaints were made that the most atrocious offenders were screened in Albany, while every poor low fellow was immediately prosecuted for only lisping out things which those people uttered daily in the most daring language. Since the removal of those leading enemies to our freedom and repose, this place has enjoyed much more tranquillity than heretofore. Many iniquitous plans have since been discovered, and their execution prevented; for they now, being destitute of council and support, when taken some of them have made full and free confession. We may also observe, that during the stay of these gentlemen in this place complaints have been made by the officers of almost every regiment that passed through here, that the minds of their men were immediately poisoned on their arrival, and many who had marched in the most peaceable manner from Philadelphia had deserted from here, and others turned almost ungovernable; which complaints have, since their removal, entirely subsided.

We are, gentlemen, your most obedient servants.

By order of the Committee:
JOHN BARCLAY, Chairman pro tem.

To the President of the Convention of the State of New York.