George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Peter Van Brugh Livingston, 21 August 1775

From Peter Van Brugh Livingston

New York 21st August 1775


Your favors of the 8th & 10th Instant I have recd and communicated to our Provincial Congress. Our City Committie are ordered strictly to enquire for the Owner of the Vessel you mention to be arrived at Boston, Said to be cleared here for St Croix, and make Report; all possible care will be taken to prevent Provisions being sent from hence to Boston.1

If the Fleet and army should move we hope to have the earliest Intelligence from you by Express—We have wrote to Mr Thompson Secretary to the Continental Congress for Blank Commissions.2

Perswaded of the propriety that you Should be furnished with every Intelligence I inclose the Examination of Mr Carter taken by our Congress,3 and have the honor to be Sir Your most Obedt Servant

P. V. B. Livingston


1The New York provincial congress read GW’s letter of 8 Aug. on 19 Aug. and his letter of 10 Aug. to Livingston on 17 Aug. (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 , 1:109, 111). For the action taken by the provincial congress on 19 Aug. respecting the exportation of provisions from the colony, see GW to the New York Provincial Congress, 8 Aug. 1775, n.1.

2The provincial congress wrote to Charles Thomson on 18 Aug., requesting that he send Schuyler about two hundred blank commissions if none had been sent previously (ibid., 110). The letter which the Continental Congress received is in DNA:PCC, item 67, but it is erroneously dated 8 July. On 9 Sept. the colony’s committee of safety asked Congress for 400 commissions (DNA:PCC, item 67), and five days later Congress instructed John Hancock to send that number to Schuyler (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 2:249).

3John Carter’s intelligence, as recorded by the provincial congress’s secretary John McKesson on 19 Aug., chiefly concerns the capture on 25 July of the merchant vessel Charming Sally by the British warship Glasgow. The Charming Sally, aboard which Carter was a passenger, was bound from Philadelphia to Lisbon with 2,200 barrels of flour when it encountered the Glasgow. The master of the Charming Sally, Capt. Thomas Doman, made no attempt to avoid capture, Carter charged, and the vessel was taken to Boston, where, Gen. Gage said, “Captain Doman would get a good price for his Cargo.” Carter also reported the capture and arrival in Boston of another Philadelphia vessel loaded with flour, apparently the schooner Woodbridge. For more information on the taking of these two vessels and GW’s suspicions that their captains conspired with the British, see GW to Livingston, 30 Aug. 1775. Following the capture of the Charming Sally, Carter spent some time in Boston, and during his stay he obtained several bits of information about the British garrison, which he included in his report to the provincial congress. GW must have read with particular interest Carter’s statements “that the Army at Boston are not making any preparations for an Embarkation—That they are destroying Castle William, & carrying the Cannon and Stores into Boston, but no appearance of any Intention of the Troops leaving that place . . . That the Army talked of laying in a Stock for Winter, and are sending to Hallifax for Provisions & wood . . . That a Victualler Transport had lately arrived at Boston in Eight Weeks passage—That according to the accounts received by that Transport, they expected Six Sail of the Line and Twenty Transports from England—That the Army in general appears to be exasperated against the Americans, and say America cannot make a Resistance; and speak of their going through America when they receive their expected Reinforcements” (DLC:GW).

Index Entries