Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from the New York Committee of Correspondence, 2 April 1777

From the New York Committee of Correspondence

Kingston [New York] April 2d 1777


We received Your’s of the 29th. Ultimo1 and are extream⟨ly⟩ sorry to hear of your Indisposition.

In our last we expressed an Apprehension that the Enemy might possibly make Hudson’s River their first Object; not only because they could open their Campaign there earlier than they could go to Pensilvania as in one Case their Army would move by land and in the other by Water; But because having the command of the River, by taking the advantage of a southerly Wind, they would have it in their Power to run up in a few Hours and by destroying the Boats that are along it’s Banks render it impossible for Genl. Washington’s Army to cross till they have marched to Albany; a Thing almost impracticable at this Season of the Year, considering the distance and badness of the Roads. This would enable them not only to ravage all this State but to enter Connecticut on it’s Western side, where the disaffection of the People will insure them many friends. We have strained every Nerve to prepare for their reception, having vested a Power in Genl. George Clinton2 to make whatever Drafts he may think necessary from the Militia; in consequence of which every third Man is ordered to be drawn from the Southern and every fifth Man from the Northern Counties. We are not without Apprehensions that these heavy Drafts will be dreadfully felt in the want of the necessary Supplies for the Army and Inhabitants, which can hardly be raised under such Circumstances in this State; but more remote Evils must yield to the pressures of Necessity. We enclose you by direction of Convention some Resolutions lately passed in order to render the Laws against Spies and secret Enemies more effectual.3 You will be pleased to deliver them with our respectful Compliments to his Excellency the General.

We are happy to hear of the Arrival of the Vessel with Arms from France,4 as no supplies can be more necessary. We flatter ourselves that it will shortly be in your Power to communicate ⟨m⟩ore important Intelligence from that Quarter.

We are with great Respect Sir Your most Obedient and very humble Servants.

Wm. Allison

Robt R. Livingston

Gouvr Morris

Colo. Alexander Hamilton

LS, in writing of William Allison, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress; Df, in writing of Robert R. Livingston, New-York Historical Society, New York City.

1Letter not found.

2Clinton was in command of the Highland forts.

3The resolutions to which the Committee here refers read:

Resolved, That all such persons as have been or shall be apprehended in this State, without the enemy’s lines, by Continental or other American troops, as spies from the enemy, or for enlisting men into their service, or for furnishing supplies or intelligence to them, be tried for the said offences by martial law, and if found guilty, suffer death or other punishment at the discretion of a general court martial of the Continental army or of the militia of this State; provided that where any person shall have been convicted by a court martial by virtue of this resolution, that the sentence shall not be executed until approved by this Convention or a future Legislature of this State.

Whereas a form of government will soon be established in this State, and proper courts organized for the trial of offences therein: Therefore,

Resolved, That the resolution above mentioned continue in force until the first day of July next, unless sooner repealed by this Convention or the future Legislature of this State” (Journals of the Provincial Congress of the State of New-York description begins Journals of the Provincial Congress, Provincial Convention, Committee of Safety and Council of Safety of the State of New-York. 1775–1776–1777 (Albany, 1842). description ends , I, 856–857).

4On March 17, 1777, the French ship Mercury arrived at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, with 12,000 firelocks, 1,000 barrels of powder, and other supplies.

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