George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel James Clinton, 27 June 1776

From Colonel James Clinton

June 27th 1776
at Fort Constitution [N.Y.]

May it please Your Excellency

Since I wrote to You I Rece[ive]d the within Letter but I think it Necessary to have Your Orders before I Comply with the within Request1 I hear the Committees have taken Coll Cadwallader Colden on Suspicion of being an Enemy to the Liberties of America but what they will Do with him I Cannot tell2 Lawer Cranney who has Left Poug[h]keepsie some time ago and has been Advertised there is Likewise taken by the Committees and Sent Back by a Guard to Poughkeepsie. I am Dr Genl Your Most Obedient Humle Sert

James Clinton Coll


1On 26 June Abel Belknap wrote to Clinton on behalf of the committees of safety for the precincts of Newburgh and New Windsor in Ulster County: “As complaints have been made before these Committees of Sundry Persons in the Precinct of New Burgh, as being Very Dangerous to the Cause in which we are Ingaged, We the Said Committees in Conjunction do request and Pray that you will be pleased to grant us Liut. Israel Smith with twenty five good Men for the space of one Week in Order that we may get some of these rascalls Apprehended and Secured. ... If you are scarce of Arms we will furnish them, Ammonition we are destitute of at present, therefore beg they’ll bring a Supply with them” (DLC:GW).

2Cadwallader Colden II (1722–1797) had been arrested at his home, Coldengham, in Ulster County during the previous week by a group of armed men from the Newburgh and New Windsor precinct committees. After being arraigned before a joint committee of the two precincts, Colden was allowed to return home to await trial by the Ulster County committee of safety (Colden to Ulster County committee, 27 June, in Force, American Archives description begins Peter Force, ed. American Archives. 9 vols. Washington, D.C., 1837–53. description ends , 4th ser., 6:1112–13). At the trial, which occurred at New Paltz on 4 July, Colden openly professed his Loyalist principles and refused to sign the association published by the provincial congress. The county committee then confined him to jail until further order (minutes of Ulster County committee, 4 July 1776, ibid., 1272–73). Colden was subsequently released, but after several more arrests, he was permanently banished to New York City in August 1778.

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