Primary tabs

Letter from General Schuyler to the President of Congress



German Flats, August 8, 1776.

SIR: Last night I was honoured with yours of the 18th July, with copy of the petition of Captain Benedict, of the 11th July, to Congress, and the resolution of Congress of the 16th thereon.

Captain Benedict' s pay was stopped in consequence of an order from the honourable Commissioners of Congress, before whom, it seems, he had been charged with some malpractices in Canada. What were the particular charges against him I cannot determine; I was only ordered to stop paying until further orders.

Yesterday afternoon the conference with the Six Nations was opened in form, previous to which two of their Sachems requested that we should publickly condole the death of one of their Sachems who fell at the Cedars, or in Major Sherburne' s rencounter. We instantly rejected the proposal with indignation, deprecating the insult and their want of faith, and they waived the matter. This morning our speech is to be delivered to them. By their answer I hope we shall be enabled to judge whether it will be prudent to offer them the hatchet. Our emissaries unanimously think it will not, and that it will greatly prejudice our interests, as the friends we have amongst them have used it as an argument of our sufficiency to cope with the enemy without their aid, as we have never asked it. Whatever the result of this meeting may be — whether they engage to take an active part with us, whether they promise to remain neuter, or give evident marks of an unfriendly disposition — it will be incumbent upon us to prepare for the worst, as their promises are not to be relied upon however solemnly made.

That an ignorant multitude, instigated not only by my own enemies, but by those of the country, should have been instigated to traduce my character, is not very surprising, and I had already made myself easy on that score; but a late transaction of a Council of Officers held at New York is so injurious, that I have found it necessary to resent it in a letter to General Washington, copy of which I have requested his Excellency to lay before Congress.

Of the half million of dollars which Congress ordered on the 22d of May last, only two hundred thousand have reached the military chest in this department. Half was sent to the Army, and the remainder paid out as fast as the warrants could be drawn, much more than that sum being due when it arrived. And since that time the service has been carried on upon credit; but that, too, is exhausted, and we are driven to the necessity of borrowing money at interest, or leaving undone what is indispensably necessary to be done. But as no individual' s estate is equal to the expense of supporting an Army, that mode will soon fail; and what the consequences will be is easily foreseen. Permit me,


therefore, to entreat the attention of Congress to this capital article.

I am, sir, most respectfully, your obedient, humble servant,

To the Hon˙ John Hancock.