James Duane and Ezra L’Hommedieu
to Alexander Hamilton and William Floyd
Prince Town [New Jersey] Sept. 1. 1783
We enclose you an Extract of Dispatches from his Excellency our Governor received this Day, respecting the Instructions of the Legislature at their last Sessions for the Security of the Western Posts.1
You will be pleased to observe that an official Report on a subject so interesting to the State is deemed to be necessary; as well as a particular Detail of the Motives which influenced Congress, against the declared sense of the State, to give Directions to the Commander in Chief for garrisoning those Posts with Continental Troops.2 This is a Duty to which, not having been present at the Debates, we find ourselves incompetent. We can therefore only refer his Excellency and the Legislature to you, our worthy Colleagues, who being fully possessed of the Facts, can alone give the necessary official Information.3
With Sentiments of the most perfect Esteem and Regard we have the Honour to be Gent. Your most Obedient Humble Servants
The Honorable Colos. William Floyd & Alexander Hamilton
LS, in writing of Ezra L’Hommedieu, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress; Df, in writing of L’Hommedieu, New-York Historical Society. In JCHW description begins John C. Hamilton, ed., The Works of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1851). description ends , I, 399–400, this letter is dated 1783.
1. See George Clinton to H and William Floyd, April 1, 1783; “Report on the Garrisoning of Frontier Posts by Continental Troops,” May 12, 1783; H to Clinton, June 1, 1783; and H to Clinton, July 27, 1783.
The extract from Clinton’s letter, dated August 23, 1783, reads as follows:
“I would take this Oppertunity also of calling your attention to concurrent Resolutions of the Legislature respecting the garrisoning of the Western Posts in this State which by the provisional Treaty are to be evacuated by the British. These Resolutions were in the Tenor of Instructions to our Delegates and were immediately transmitted to them, but as I have not been favoured with any official Information of the Result I submit it to you whether some Report on a Subject so interesting to the state may not be necessary for the Satisfaction of the Legislature. From informal Communications made to me by the Commander in Chief, I have Reason to believe that he has Directions from Congress for garrisoning those Posts with continental Troops and that he is making Arrangements for that purpose. But as you will observe that as it was the Sence of the Legislature that those Posts should have been garrisoned by the State an Explination on the Subject becomes the more necessary; and it is now for this Reason alone I would request that you would be pleased to favor me with a particular Detail of the Motives which influenced the Determination of Congress on this Occasion; for it will readily be perceived that should Congress at this late Day accede to the Propositions made by the State it might be impractable to carry them into execution, especially as I have not ventured, in the State of uncertainty in which I was left, to incur the Expence which the necessary Preparations for the Purpose would have required.” (Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.)
The concurrent resolution of the legislature was enclosed in Clinton to H and Floyd, April 1, 1783.
3. On September 3, L’Hommedieu sent Governor Clinton the following account of H’s action on the concurrent resolution:
“We have also wrote to Colos. Floyd & Hamilton to make the Report as we were not here, when that Business was under Consideration. A few Evenings before the Receipt of your Excellencys Letter, I was informed by My Colleague that such an Instructions had been left with him by Colo. Hamilton who received the same early from the Legislature and had suppressed it, so that it had not been known to any Person in Congress, he having determined that it was best for the state that the Posts should be garrisoned with Continental Troops. Whether Colo. Floyd was acquainted with the Instructions I am not able to learn. It was new to me.” (Public Papers of George Clinton description begins Public Papers of George Clinton (New York and Albany, 1900). description ends , VIII, 249.)
4. L’Hommedieu had arrived in Princeton to attend the Continental Congress on August 7.