George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the Officers and Soldiers of the Second Brigade, 29 June 1776

From the Officers and Soldiers of the Second Brigade

New York, 29 June 1776. “The excerable Conspiracy wherein the Murderer and the Incendiary were engaged to destroy your Excellency & the whole Army, of which Providence has led you to obtain a seasonable Discovery,1 inspires us with an inveterate abhorance of the Measures of that people from whom we never wished to be seperated, untill the multiplied Injuries of our parent state, compell’d us to seek Refuge in a seperate Government. . . .

“We assure your excellency of our firm attachment to the rights of our Country and the person of our General, and our abhorrence & detestation of those methods to subvert the one & destroy the other, to which the Vilany of our Enemies have descended, which would disgrace the Annals of the most barbarous nations. The wisdom & justice of your Excellency’s Government induces us to place the highest confidence in your measures to bring to condign punishment the authors of this horrid combination, & restore the peace of our Country on a permanent basis, for which purpose nothing in our Stations proper to be done shall be omitted, which your Excellency may see fit to order.”

DS, in Samuel Holden Parson’s writing, DLC:GW. The 2d Brigade at New York was commanded by Brig. Gen. Joseph Spencer. This address is signed “in behalf of the several Regiments in the second Brigade” by ten field officers: colonels Samuel Holden Parsons, Jedediah Huntington, Jonathan Ward, and Samuel Wyllys; lieutenant colonels Joel Clark, John Tyler, and John Durkee; and majors Thomas Knowlton, Samuel Prentice, and Levi Wells.

1This is a reference to the alleged Loyalist conspiracy, about which many exaggerated reports were circulating in the city and camp at this time, including allegations that the conspirators intended to assassinate GW and burn the city (see Arrest Warrant from a Secret Committee of the New York Provincial Congress, 21 June and notes, and General Orders, 27, 28 June). For GW’s more restrained view of events, see his letter to Hancock of 28 June.

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