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Letter from the New-York Convention to General Washington


"SIR: We received your Excellency' s favours of yesterday, and have, agreeable to your request, made out General Clinton' s appointment.

"As your Excellency seemed to think the Militia necessary, and had accordingly called them out, both from this and the New-England States, we, upon finding that they served with great reluctance at this busy season of the year, and were constantly quitting their posts to return to their farms, raised troops at great expense, in order to supply their place, conceiving that they would be considered in the same point of view, and entitled (agreeable to the resolutions of Congress with respect, to the Militia called out in time of actual invasion) to Continental pay and subsistence. If in


this we have beep mistaken, we only lament the error so far as it may have given your Excellency some trouble, since no pecuniary consideration shall make us relax those measures that are necessary to add strength to the great cause in which we are now engaged. We shall, therefore, retain the levies in our pay, subjecting them, however, implicitly to your Excellency' s command, till you shall think them unnecessary. In the mean while, the duty we owe our constituents, obliges us to request that your Excellency will be pleased to hint the utility of this measure to the Congress, in which case we dare safely rely upon their justice for reimbursing our expenses, except as to the bounty, for which, considerable as it is, we expect no compensation. In order to avoid the confusion that will arise from the appointment of officers who may afterwards be removed, if our levies should be placed on the Continental establishment, we shall appoint, as Commissaries, the persons Colonel Trumbull nominated, especially as their characters are unexceptionable; and we beg that he will take the direction of them till we are informed by Congress of the light in which they are to be considered.

"We consider the order mentioned in your letter as an additional proof of that attention to the members of this Convention which your Excellency has before so frequently manifested, and which they conceive themselves bound gratefully to acknowledge. We see in the same point of view the communication of that interesting intelligence received from the deserters.

"It is our great misfortune that at this important crisis this State is unable to make those exertions which the cause of America requires. From the disaffection of some amongst us; from the want of arms; from the exposed situation of Long-Island and our frontiers; from the possession of one County by the enemy, and the probability of our being soon called upon to reinforce the Northern Array, we are unable to add much strength to the troops under your Excellency' s command, being, by the several reasons above-mentioned, deprived of the assistance of nine Counties out of fourteen which compose this State. Notwithstanding all these difficulties, we are determined to combat every obstacle and to strain every nerve in defence of the rights and liberties of America, which we conceive to be most materially interested in the safety of this State. By our resolution for ordering the several draughts made in the Counties of Suffolk, Queen' s, King' s, Westchester, Dutchess, Ulster, and Orange, to the environs of New-York, we hope in about six days to add near three thousand men to your Army. We lament exceedingly that we should have occasion to complain of the languid efforts which the neighbouring States have made for our assistance. From the zeal they professed for the publick cause, from the vicinity of some of them to this invaded country, and from the dangerous situation in which Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Jersey must be in, should the enemy succeed in their designs against this State, we expect the most strenuous and expeditious exertions. How great our concern at finding so considerable deficiency in the establishment for this Army, your Excellency may easily judge from the feelings of a patriotick bosom on the importance of the cause and the dangers to which it is by this means exposed. We flatter ourselves, however, that this supineness will not be of any duration, and that the Continental Congress will devise means of affording the most expeditious and effectual assistance to preserve a State, the loss of which, from its geographical situation and the political character of too many of its inhabitants, would be almost fatal to the cause of American liberty.

"We have the honour to be, with great esteem and regard, your Excellency' s most obedient servants.

"By order."

Friday Afternoon, August 9, 1776.