George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Philip Schuyler, 18 November 1775

From Major General Philip Schuyler

Tyonderoga [N.Y.] Nov: 18th 1775.

My Dear General

I do Myself the Honor to congratulate Your Excellency on the Surrender of Montreal Inclose You Copy of the Terms that were proposed and allowed as also Copy of sundry Letters from a Mr Brook Watson, & that of General Montgomery to me; to Congress I have only sent Extracts of the last, for prudential Reasons. In your Hands it is safe.1

Since my last to Your Excellency I have been more particular on the Subject which You recommended me to turn my Thoughts to. I have not Time to send You a Copy as I would not wish to detain the Express one Moment longer than what is absolutely necessary.2

Your Favor of the 5th I received on the 16th. If General How’s Military Abilities do not exceed that Specimen of his Literary ones contained in the Proclamation, his Generalship is not much to be dreaded.

I shall write to General Montgomery respecting the Garrison of Niagara & those to the West Ward.

The Lead left this early in September & was immediately forwarded to Cambridge by Mr Phelps the Commissary at Albany.

My best Respects Your excellency will please to make to Generals Lee & Gates and Major Mifflin. I am with the sincerest Regard Your Excellency’s most Obedient & Most humble Servant

Ph: Schuyler

LS, DLC:GW; LB, NN: Schuyler Papers.

1Montreal surrendered to Gen. Richard Montgomery on 13 November. The enclosed copy of the articles of capitulation is dated 12 November. The other enclosures are Brook Watson to Benjamin Faneuil, Jr., 16 Oct., Watson to John Butler, to William Franklin, to William Shirreff, all 19 Oct., and Montgomery to Schuyler, 13 Nov. 1775. These enclosures are in DLC:GW.

Brook Watson (1735–1807), who served as a commissary to British forces in Canada during the early part of the French and Indian War, became a merchant in London in 1759 and was now visiting Canada on business. From 1782 to 1783 he served as commissary general in Canada under Guy Carleton. Watson’s letters, written from Montreal, concern his efforts to ship furs and other goods to Europe and the general state of military affairs in Canada. Ethan Allen’s unsuccessful attempt to take Montreal on 25 Sept., Watson wrote to Butler, “gave a Sudden turn to the Canadians who before were Nine Tenths for the Bostonians there are Great numbers now in arms for the King. . . . I think Genl Gage cant Winter at Boston Consiquently that he must soon send a part of his Troops to Halifax and the rest to this Province where they are much wanted notwithstanding the Bostonians are not likely soon to take St Johns there is some danger of their Getting this Town and every other part of the Province except Quebec unless its soon supported by the Kings Troops, as to your Province [Nova Scotia] I am not under any apprehensions of its being over run by them they will never send men where let their success be ever so great, they cant support them [during] the Winter and further think all Possibility of their succeeding will be Cutt off by the Admirals Orders to take and destroy all their Vessels I am with you of opinion that if a Land War is to be Carried on it had better be Conducted through this Country leaving the Navy to Manage their Sea Coast.”

Montgomery’s letter to Schuyler of 13 Nov. reports Guy Carleton’s escape from Montreal with several vessels loaded with gunpowder and other stores, Arnold’s arrival at Quebec, and the unreliability of his army. “I can’t help feeling great Uneasiness, till I know the Determination of the Troops with respect to engaging for six Months longer,” Montgomery wrote from Montreal. “I was obliged at St Johns to promise all such their Dismission as chose it, to coax them to Montreal—Indeed Wooster’s Regiment shewed the greatest Uneasiness—I make no Doubt of retaining as Many as will hold the Ground already gotten—but it is of the utmost Importance to finish this Buisiness at once that the Ministry may have no Hopes left of carrying on their infernal Plan in this important Quarter—At any Rate it will be highly expedient to throw in a large Body of Troops as soon as the Ice will bear in order to make a Vigorous Attack on Quebec before the arrival of Succours in the Spring should It not fall into our Hands this Winter. . . . I am exceedingly sorry Congress have not favored me with a Committee—It would have had a great Effect with the Troops, who are exceedingly turbulent & indeed Mutinous. My Vexation & Distress can only be alleviated by reflecting on the great Public Advantages which must arise from my unparallell’d good Fortune.”

2Schuyler is referring to his plan for continuing and supporting his army. See GW to Schuyler, 26 Oct., and Schuyler to GW, 6 Nov. 1775.

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