George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the Newark Committee of Correspondence, 4 July 1776

From the Newark Committee of Correspondence

Newark [N.J.] July 4th 1776

May it please Your Excellency

As not only the Levies but the main Body of the Militia of this and the neighbouring Counties are gone to New York; and as the King’s Troops are in Possession of Staten Island, & there being but a narrow River between them & our defenceless Country; and it being thought improbable that General Howe will make any Attempt on New York with his present Strength, or until all his expected Reinforcements arrive; And as there is great Reason to apprehend that he, knowing our naked & defenceless State, will in the mean time, if his Troops have no other Employment, make Incursions, at least, into, & ravage our Country So near & exposed; We cannot behold our alarming Situation without anticipating the most cruel Distress. Our Country destitute of Inhabitants, Our Wives & Children unprotected either from the Enemy without or the Tories & Negroes in the midst of us—In this dangerous Predicament We have no other Source for Relief but by humble application to Your Excellency; firmly relying on Your Excellency’s Wisdom & Humanity, We don’t doubt You will order the most speedy & suitable Provision for the Safety of our Country & quieting the Distresses of our Women & Children.

If it be really necessary that We shou’d fall a Sacrifice to the Benefit of the Common Cause; We will endeavour to support our Misfortunes without repining; But We hope that the Arrival of Troops from Connecticut will render it unnecessary, & make the longer Attendance of the main Body of our Militia at New York dispensible—We are with the most respectful Submission—Your Excellency’s most Obedt Sert

By Order of the Committee of Newark

Lewis Ogden Chairman

LS, DLC:GW. Richard Varick erroneously docketed this letter “from the Committee of Essex County.” Newark is in Essex County.

Lewis Ogden (c.1730–1798) was elected to the New Jersey committee of correspondence in July 1774 and to the Newark committee of correspondence in May 1775. A lawyer by profession, Ogden served as clerk of the prerogative court from 1765 to 1775, and during 1776 he was a member of the provincial congress, which on 24 June named him to the committee that drafted the new state constitution. After 1776 Ogden held few public offices. He moved to New York City in 1786.

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