Primary tabs

General Schuyler to President of Congress



[Read February 9, 1776.]

Albany, Monday, January 29, 1776.

SIR: Yesterday, at four o' clock, I had the honour to receive your despatches of the 20th instant.

Congress will perceive by the copy of General Washington' s letter, which I had the honour to enclose you in my last, that a regiment is raising in the Massachusetts-Bay; and yesterday I received a letter from Colonel Fellows, who was to have raised and commanded a regiment in consequence of my consent given to the Committee of Berkshire. I hope my answer to that letter will prove satisfactory to Congress.

On Sunday, January 14, I wrote to General Wooster. The following is an extract of my letter:

"DEAR SIR: At six last night, Mr˙ Antill delivered me your despatches. It is much easier to conceive than to describe the distress it has occasioned me. In the gallant and amiable General Montgomery the Continent has suffered a vast loss. May Heaven graciously be pleased to extricate you out of the perilous situation you are in. At this distance it would be presumption in me to direct what measures should be taken; these can only be determined by events as they turn up. May God guide your councils and bless your operations.

"Expresses are already gone to Congress and General Washington. I have proposed to the latter, to detach three thousand men to your assistance by the way of Number Four, Onion-River, and Missisque-Bay. I have furnished Colonel Warner with money to engage all the men he possibly can, and to send them on to you without the least delay. I am in great hopes from that gentleman' s zeal, that he will be able to procure men.

"As I have by repeated letters observed to Congress the necessity of sending troops immediately into Canada, it is probable that some are on their march from New-Jersey; the moment they arrive here, I shall push them forward, or conduct them myself, if my health will permit. I shall arrange matters in such a manner that I make no doubt they will arrive in Canada in six or seven days from this.

"I am very happy that you have issued orders not to let any men depart, although the term for which they are inlisted is expired. You may rest assured, sir, that a conduct so prudent, will meet with the fullest approbation.

"By all means secure a retreat for Colonel Arnold at Montreal; and should Carlelon follow you there, as you may certainly expect succours, I do not doubt but you will suffer every hardship before you will give up the town. Our cause, sir, is just, and I trust that Divine Providence will dispel this untoward cloud, and that we shall again receive its smiles."

As I have no return of the arrangement made in Canada,


I cannot fill up the commissions; I sometime ago wrote to General Montgomery for it, and should probably have had it, had we been so happy as not to have lost him. I have reminded General Wooster of it, and am in hopes I shall soon receive the proper returns.

I am making every preparation in my power to facilitate the march of the troops into Canada. Biscuit is baking here, at Fort-George, and Ticonderoga; and I have had a quantity of the most portable pork boiled, to be used on the march. I am much put to it to procure a sufficient number felling-axes, but hope to receive some from New-England, to which I have sent.

Permit me to observe, that intrenching tools of every kind will be wanted in very considerable numbers, whether we do or do not possess ourselves of Quebeck in the course of the Winter.

The hint General Wooster, has given of sending Sutlers to Canada, is a very good one. If I can get any good men to go, I will venture to assist them, on proper security, with money out of the military chest here, to purchase the necessary articles, and let them repay it in Canada. From all the inquiries I have made, I have reason to conclude, that the want of a small circulating medium greatly distresses our people in Canada. Perhaps it will have a good effect, and tend to introduce the circulation of all our paper currency in Canada, if Congress was to furnish some persons, such as may be depended upon, with ten thousand pounds in specie, and send them to Canada with twice or thrice that amount in small bills, none exceeding a dollar, and a great proportion of them of one shilling only. When a soldier receives his pay in Continental money, he might go to those persons and get small change, and if it was then promulgated that any holder of such small bills might immediately receive cash for them, and that being punctually complied with for a little time, their credit, I fancy, would be so well established, that very few more would be brought in. The expense in emitting these bills would, I conceive, be compensated to the publick by the wearing out of the bills. I am the rather induced to believe that this plan would have the effect I expect from it, as the bills emitted last Spring by the Committee of this County, and which were small, are not brought in for redemption, although the Committee have repeatedly advertised for them. Many of the bills should be one shilling and six pence, two shillings and six pence, and three shillings and six pence, as with these six pence may be paid, where no more is due, by changing.

The expense that arises by the officers that are prisoners is extremely high. I have desired them to pay the bills, and promised to repay as much as Congress should allow. In future I shall allow only fire-wood, candles, and lodgings. I shall order the expense that has attended them to be made out, and transmit it as soon as I can. The transportation of the clothing should be charged to them, as also that of such women as are above what each company is allowed. It is even a great burden that we are to furnish these with provisions.

The six Highland chiefs will leave this next Monday. The others whom the Tryon County Committee have sent down, appear to me to have no influence. I have desired that the charges against them should be reduced to writing. If they should appear frivolous, which I suspect to be the case, I will take security for their forthcoming whenever Congress shall please to direct it.

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


To the Honourable John Hancock, Esq˙, &c˙, &c.

P˙ S˙ Mr˙ Trumbull has delivered me the enclosed this moment, and as none of the Connecticut people have been paid, a considerable sum will be wanted for that purpose. What I have still in hands may amount to about twenty-five thousand dollars. P˙ S.