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To George Washington from Robert R. Livingston, 29 November 1776

From Robert R. Livingston

Fish kill [N.Y.] 29th Novr 1776.

Sir

Agreeable to the directions of the Committee of Safety of this state, I do myself the honor to transmit the enclosed resolutions, & to request if your Excellency should concur with them in thinking that every means should be persued to obstruct the navigation of Hudsons river, & to secure the passes thereon, that you would be pleased by uniting in, to add weight to their applications to the hon: the Congress.1

The Enimy have long manifested an intention to possess themselves of this State, to which indeed they are greatly invited by its situation. Past experience, with the blessing of heaven upon your Excellencys endeavours, must e’er now have convinced them, that this is impractica⟨b⟩le2 unless by means of their navy, again⟨st⟩ which, every motive concurs in inducing us to guard—Your Excellency will easily enter into3 the reasons which influenced the committee to wish that this business may be confided to Genl Schuyler, whose activity aided by his knowledge of the country & its resourses, together with the leisure afforded him by the retreat of the enemy from the northern frontier give him many advantages over any Gent. in whom these circumstances do not so happily unite. they can not therefore but hope that the whole of the enclosed resolv⟨es⟩ wi⟨ll⟩ meet with your Excellencys approbation. if unfo⟨rt⟩un⟨ate⟩ly they should be deceived in this hope, they will on your Excellencys favouring them with your sentiments thereon endeavour to render them most conformable to your wishes.4 I have the honor to be Your Excellencys Most Obt Hum: Servt

(by order &ca[)]

Df, MiU-C: Miscellaneous. Livingston presented a draft of this letter to the New York committee of safety on 28 November. The text of the letter that the committee of safety then approved differs significantly from the text of this draft in several places (see 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 , 1:722, and nn.1–4).

1The text of the letter approved by the committee of safety on 28 Nov. reads: “and to request, if your Excellency should concur with them in sentiment, that you would, by uniting in, add weight to their application to the Honourable the Congress” (ibid.).

The committee of safety on 27 Nov. ordered that a letter be written to GW enclosing its two resolutions of that date regarding the obstruction of the Hudson “and requesting his concurrence therein.” In the first of those resolutions, the committee of safety resolved “that a letter be immediately written to Major-General Schuyler, informing him of the survey that has been taken of Hudson’s river at Poliple’s [Pollepel’s] island, and requesting him to take on himself the superintendence and direction of such works as he may think necessary, either there or elsewhere for the security of Hudson’s river.” In the second resolution the committee of safety resolved “that a letter be written to the Honble. the Continental Congress, informing them of the measures that have been pursued for obstructing Hudson’s river; suggesting the necessity of more effectually securing the posts and passes in the Highlands; employing the carpenters, who are now discharged from the shipping, in preparing fire ships and whatever else may be though necessary for the defence of the river, and annoying the enemy on their passage up; and requesting that they will be pleased to put the management thereof under the direction of Major-Genl. Schuyler, whose abilities, knowledge of the country and military command will give him great advantages in the execution thereof” (ibid., 721). For the letters to Schuyler and Hancock, see ibid., 722–24.

2The text of the letter approved by the committee of safety on 28 Nov. reads: “The enemy have long manifested an intention to possess themselves of this State, to which indeed its central and commanding situation very naturally invites them. Past experience, with the blessings of heaven upon your Excellency’s vigilance and skill, must ere now have convinced them that this is impracticable” (ibid., 722).

3The text of the letter approved by the committee of safety on 28 Nov. reads: “will easily conceive” (ibid.).

4The text of the letter approved by the committee of safety on 28 Nov. reads: “If unfortunately they should be deceived in this hope, they will, when your Excellency favours them with your sentiments thereon, endeavour to render them conformable to your wishes” (ibid.).

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