Alexander Hamilton Papers

To Alexander Hamilton from Philip Schuyler, 10 September 1780

From Philip Schuyler

Poughkepsie [New York] Sept: 10th 1780

My Dear Sir.

I am very apprehensive the unhappy event mentioned in your favor of the 5th Instant will draw very serious consequences in its train.1 It will certainly much embarrass us, and probably retard the termination of the war. It will however be attended with one good, the adherents in Congress to the Gallant commander will not have it any longer in their power to play him off against the General. Gracious God! that any rational being should put two men in compe[ti]tion, one of which has commanded an army the other only been at the head of one, for I aver that when he was to the northward he never made a disposition of his troops. Indeed he was incapable, he never saw an Enemy except at a good distance and from places of perfect security. Indeed! Indeed, he has not lost a whit in my estimation by this last stroke of his.

The General will have shewn you the Extracts from the senate and Assemblys adresses to the Governor; a committee of both houses is appointed to report on the proceedings of the Convention.2 They will certainly adopt and extend the views of that Convention. Some here are for appointing a Dictator with a vice dictator in each state, invested with all the powers conferred formerly by the roman people on theirs; I made great Interest to be left out of the delegation and obtained It altho not with out much difficulty. Gen: McDougal is appointed in my stead, but I believe I shall be obliged to go to the eastern convention, If I shall not repair to Rhode Island so soon as I Intended.

Colo Warner3 is wounded & two of his officers killed near fort Edward.

Pray make my respects acceptable to the General, to the Gentlemen of the Family, the Marquis & those of his.

Adieu   I am   Dear Sir,   very affectionately   & Sincerely   Yr most obed servt

Ph. Schuyler

I forgot to Inform the General that the Governor had sent him an extract of the proceedings of the convention, which I had promised to transmit.4

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Although the letter referred to in this sentence has not been found, Schuyler is undoubtedly referring to Gates’s defeat on August 16, 1780, at Camden, South Carolina.

2In August, 1780, delegates from the New England states met in Boston at a convention and recommended measures for an improved army supply, a repeal of the embargo acts, an end of state currency issues, and taxes to cover the new continental bills. A copy of the convention’s proceedings was sent to New York. Both houses of the New York legislature on September 7 appointed members to a joint committee to study the proceedings of the convention that had met in Boston. Then, on September 26, the legislature appointed commissioners to meet with those of the New England states in Hartford in early November. It was the November convention in Hartford to which Schuyler is referring, as the “eastern convention,” in the last line of this paragraph. It was the joint committee of September 7 on which he did not wish to serve.

3Colonel Seth Warner of one of the Sixteen Additional Continental Regiments.

4George Clinton’s letter to Washington (but not the enclosed extract of the proceedings), dated September 1, 1780, is printed in Public Papers of George Clinton description begins Public Papers of George Clinton (New York and Albany, 1900). description ends (Albany, 1902), VI, 159–60.

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