George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Nathaniel Woodhull, 27 July 1776

From Nathaniel Woodhull

White Plains [N.Y.] 27 July 1776. Transmits “the enclosed Deposition relative to Wm Suttons declaration after returning from on board Governor Tryon’s Ship last fall.”1


1The deponent, who is not named in the enclosed document, testified before the Westchester County committee of safety at White Plains on 12 July that “some time after William Sutton returned Home from Governor Tryon’s Ship,” Sutton informed him that “our People were to be cutt off from New York & that the Kings Troops were to land about Ten Miles from Mamaroneck—That Hudsons River was to be occupied by them. that the Fleet was to be drawn up in a line before New York with intent to Keep the Forces there in Action, in Order to give the Transports a better opportunity of running up the North River, with intent to cut off the communication between the Country & City. That the Kings Standard was to be hoisted, and that the Tories would then have a Chance.” Sutton also said “that Robert Sutton of Long Island would join the Regulars with Seven hundred Men well equipped—That a Proclamation would be issued out by the Kings Party, that the People would then know what they had to expect & that there would be forty five Thousand Troops sent over to America this summer.” William Sutton’s son John told the deponent “that the Regulars would land between Mamaroneck & Horseneck & that he would join them” (DLC:GW).

In a second statement to the committee dated 13 July, the anonymous deponent says “that he saw Joshua Gedney of Dutchess County have a long List of Mens Names who would join the Ministerial Army” and that Gedney delivered that list to Governor Tryon in the deponent’s presence. The deponent also says that “he heard Caleb Fowler Junr of North Castle Degrade the Service he had been in, and [say] that if he went again he would go like a Man & join the Ministerial Army” (DLC:GW).

The convention subsequently ordered William and John Sutton to be arrested. John Sutton eventually was discharged from his arrest, but on this date the convention, having received further statements condemning William Sutton, ordered him to be jailed in Philadelphia as “an enemy to the rights and liberties of America” (N.Y. Prov. Congress Journals 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. 2 vols. Albany, 1842. (Microfilm Collection of Early State Records). description ends , 1:547; see also ibid., 528, 539, 542, 544–45, 548, and Force, American Archives description begins Peter Force, ed. American Archives. 9 vols. Washington, D.C., 1837–53. description ends , 5th ser., 1:1312, 1315, 1412, 1443, 1447–49).

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