To Major General Philip Schuyler
New York Head Qurs July 15. 1776
The inclosed Resolve and Extract of a Letter You will see is of some Standing: Upon Considering the Matter, I do not see how It is possible for Me to carry this Resolve into Execution, with tolerable Precision or Certainty[.] The Persons the Witnesses & All Other Circumstances are so totally unknown, that any Inquiry made by Me must be delusive & Unsatisfactory. I am therefore under the Necessity of passing It wholly by, or putting It under Your Direction, That as Time & Circumstance will admit, You will have It executed in the best Manner You can, to Answer the Wishes & Expectations of Congress.1
Colo: Nicolson of a Regiment raised in this province, requests that his Conduct may be inquired into.2 I suppose he would be included in the above General Inquiry, But as that May be long delayed,3 I could wish his Case may be distinguished from the General Mass. I expect to receive from the Commissioners of Congress who went to Canada some Vouchers & proofs respecting him, as his Conduct did not appear to them in the most favorable View, But, none have Yet come to Hand, Lieut. Colo: Vischer I understand is a Material Witness against Col. Nicholson & will direct to such others as are expected to support the Charge against him.
I am Very sensible the General Inquiry requested by Congress, must be a Work of Difficulty & Delicacy. But as they seem to desire It very Earnestly, I hope It is not Impracticable[.] I should hope, upon a Conference with General Gates & Arnold some plan may be devised to comply with It, I am persuaded You will leave Nothing Unattempted on Your Part for this Purpose. I am with sincere Regard & Esteem Dear Sir, Your Most Obedt servt
LB, NN: Schuyler Papers; LB, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.
1. GW enclosed a copy of Congress’s resolution of 21 June ordering an inquiry “into the conduct of the officers heretofore employed in the Canada department” (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 , 5:472). The enclosed extract apparently was a copy of the first paragraph of Hancock’s letter to GW of 21–22 June in which Hancock conveys Congress’s request for the inquiry. See note 1 to that letter and Schuyler to GW, 20 July.
3. The LB in DLC:GW includes here the words: “and perhaps never fully had.”