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Letter from the New-York Congress to their Delegates in the Continental Congress


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

GENTLEMEN: Your favour of the third instant we have received, and are happy to find that we have the honour of your concurrence in our sentiments on the subject of emitting a Paper Currency. We pray leave to add, that unless your respectable body shall make some speedy order with relation to the levying of money, it will be impossible for us to comply with their further requests. Publick faith has been stretched as far as it will go, and the pledge of a future fund to be hereafter devised, hath been trusted to its full value. We have engaged ourselves personally, and further we cannot proceed, unless every private gentlemen amongst us will consent to sacrifice his own property to the pressing calls made upon him by the publick.

The importance, the necessity of attention to Indian affairs, is deeply impressed on our minds, because our publick peace is more endangered by the situation of the barbarians to the westward of us, than it can be by any inroads made upon the sea-coast. Britain will spare the last for her own sake, and policy will teach her Ministers to light up an Indian war upon our frontiers, that we may be driven for protection to embrace their terms of slavery. To obviate such evils will, we hope, occupy a considerable share of your wise attention. We do not presume to dictate any measure to you, being confident of your prudence and knowledge; at the same time we submit it to your consideration whether it is proper to leave the management of the numerous tribes of Indians entirely in the hands of persons appointed and paid by the Crown. If it be not, then you will best be able to determine the proper remedy for this evil, and whether it will not be both politick and just to nominate a Continental Superintendent of Indian affairs, and provide ways and means to defray the expenses of his office; or whether we may not have greater cause to apprehend danger from such appointment than by suffering these things to flow in their former channel, seeing that the Indians have already declared their willingness to preserve peace unless their Superintendent shall be molested.

We have hitherto received no sufficient supply of powder or other ammunition for the defence of our Colony; and whilst we regret our present inability, we beg leave to assure you, that if Connecticut can furnish a sufficient store for the garrisons of Ticonderoga and Crown Point, (posts which are necessary for our mutual protection,) as soon as it is in our power we shall gladly replace the expenditure.

The extensive qualifications necessary to form the General, are far beyond the reach of our humble abilities, and better fitted to the wisdom of the Continental Congress. We feel ourselves under the deepest obligations to you for enabling us to recommend persons to the offices of Major and Brigadier-General. We are sensible of the extent of this condescension, and are equally affected by the honour of the trust, and our incapacity to execute it.

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 shall require 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 character 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, &c.