From William Livingston
Persippeney [N.J.] 30 March 1779
I had the honour of your Excellency’s favour of the 23d instant on the subject of fixing signals, and appointing convenient posts for the militia to assemble at for orders. If my approbation of the plan pointed out by your Excellency, could impart to it any additional weight or importance, I do most heartily approve it. But having no authority since the expiration of the Council-of-Safety-Act, to order the former, I intend to advise on the Subject with the privy Council, which I have called, for that & some other purposes.1 Not that their consent will render it legal, or entitle me, either to draw upon the Treasurer for the expences attending it, or warrant the occupying the lands, or cutting the woods of the Proprietors.2 But the thing being so manifestly for the public safety, and the expeditious collecting of the Militia of so great moment, as all the success that the Enemy can promise themselves must depend upon the rapidity of their progress, that with such consent, I shall cheerfully risque the matter.
Our Generals at present are, Major General Dickinson, And Brigadiers Winds & Heard. General Dickinson I believe statedly resides in Maryland, but has expressed his readiness to repair to this State upon the first intelligence of its being invaded. General Winds lives at Rockaway in the County of Morris; and General Heard at Rocky-hill in Sommerset.3 I have the honour to be with the highest esteem & respect, & the warmest wishes for your happiness & success Dear Sir your Excellency’s most humble & most obedient Servt
ALS, DLC:GW; ADf, NN: Lyon Letter Book.
1. Livingston brought GW’s request before the New Jersey privy council on 9 April, and the council approved GW’s plan for additional beacons (see Bernstein, N.J. Privy Council Minutes description begins David A. Bernstein, ed. Minutes of the Governor’s Privy Council, 1777–1789. Trenton, 1974. In New Jersey Archives, 3d ser., vol. 1. description ends , 1:111; see also Livingston to Abraham Clark, 30 March, Prince, Livingston Papers description begins Carl E. Prince et al., eds. The Papers of William Livingston. 5 vols. Trenton and New Brunswick, N.J., 1979–88. description ends , 3:50–52). The authority to erect beacons, given to the governor by the New Jersey general assembly in “An Act for constituting a Council of Safety,” passed on 20 Sept. 1777 and extended by an act passed on 20 June 1778, had expired on 8 Oct. 1778 (see N.J. Acts, 1776–77, 84, 90, and 92, and N.J. Acts, 1777, Third Sitting description begins Acts of the General Assembly of the State of New-Jersey. [At a Session begun at Trenton on the 28th Day of October 1777, and continued by Adjournments.] Being the third Sitting of their second Session. [Trenton, 1778]. description ends , 87–88).
2. Livingston is referring to unimproved lands under the control of the East Jersey Proprietors.
3. For Livingston’s subsequent decision to recall Maj. Gen. Philemon Dickinson to New Jersey, see Livingston to GW, 8 June (NN: Lyon Letter Book); see also GW to Livingston, 3 June (DLC:GW). Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Heard temporarily took command of Brig. Gen. William Winds’s brigade after that officer resigned his militia commission in June 1779 (see Livingston to Heard, 7 June, in Prince, Livingston Papers description begins Carl E. Prince et al., eds. The Papers of William Livingston. 5 vols. Trenton and New Brunswick, N.J., 1979–88. description ends , 3:106–8).