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Letter to the Delegates in Continental Congress


In Provincial Congress, New-York, June 7, 1775.

GENTLEMEN: The Colonies of Massachusetts and Connecticut have formed their respective armies, and nominated to the general command of them; the supposition that in case a Continental Army should be established by authority of your respectable body, their officers will be permitted to preserve their respective ranks, appears to us highly probable. In this view, we think it not improbable that we should be called on for a recommendation to fill the offices in the military appointment of this Colony. We take the liberty for the present to furnish you with our sentiments on the appointment of a Major and Brigadier-General; and submit them to your superiour wisdom, either for use or concealment. Our only motive is to prevent a delay that might otherwise be occasioned by an opinion you may entertain of the necessity of asking our sentiments on that subject.

Courage, prudence, readiness in expedients, nice perception, sound judgment, and great attention, these are a few of the natural qualities which appear to us to be proper. To these ought to be added, an extensive acquaintance with the sciences, particularly the various branches of mathematick knowledge, long practice in the military art, and, above all, a knowledge of mankind. On a General in America, fortune also should bestow her gifts, that he may rather communicate lustre to his dignities than receive it, and that his country in his property, his kindred, and connexions, may have sure pledges that he will faithfully perform the duties of his high office, and readily lay down his power when the general weal requires it.

Since we cannot do all that we wish, we will go as far towards it as we can, and therefore you will not be surprised to hear that we are unanimous in the choice of Colonel Philip Schuyler and Captain Richard Montgomerie to the offices of Major and Brigadier-General. If we knew how to recommend them to your notice more strongly than by telling you that, after considering the qualifications above stated, these gentlemen were approved of without a single dissent, our regard to the publick service would certainly lead us to do it in the most forcible terms; nor will we enter into a minute detail of the characters and situations of two gentlemen with whom our Delegates cannot but be acquainted. In a word, we warmly recommend them, because we have; no doubt, but their appointment will give general satisfaction.

We beg leave to assure you, gentlemen, that we are, with the profoundest respect, &c.