George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the New York Convention, 17 August 1776

To the New York Convention

Head Qrs N. York Augt 17: 1776


When I consider that the City of New York will in all human probability very soon be the scene of a bloody conflict: I can not but view the great Numbers of Women, Children & infirm persons remaining in It with the most melancholy concern—When the Men of War passed up the River the Shrieks & Cries of these poor creatures running every way with their Children was truly distressing & I fear will have an unhappy effect on the Ears & Minds of our Young & inexperienced Soldiery. Can no method be devised for their removal? Many doubtless are of Ability to remove themselves; but there are Others in a different situation—Some provision for them afterwards would also be a necessary consideration—It would releive me from Great anxiety If your Honble body would Immediately deliberate upon It & form & execute some plan for their Removal and releif in which I will co-operate & assist to the utmost of my power—In the mean Time I have thought It proper to recommend to persons under the above description to convey themselves without delay to some place of safety with their most valuable Effects.1 I have the honor &c.


LB, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The LB is addressed “to The Honble The Presidt of the Conventn of New York.” The convention read this letter on this date, and it is printed in 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 , 1:578. That text, which presumably was taken from the unfound receiver’s copy, is identical in wording to the LB.

1See GW’s Proclamation for the Evacuation of New York, this date. For the convention’s response, see the second letter that Abraham Yates, Jr., wrote to GW on this date.

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