George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the New York Convention, 11 August 1776

To the New York Convention

New York August the 11th 1776


In Answer to your favour of the 9th with which I have been honoured, I beg leave to inform you, that I neither wish or expect any thing more than that the Levies raised by you, will be in Continental pay from the time they were called into Service. That Troops employed in a General Cause, should be supported at the General expence, is so evidently just, that I cannot see any Objection to It.

It is true when the proceedings of your Honourable Body for raising these Levies were first communicated to me,1 and It was mentioned by the Committee who brought them that it was expected they would be paid by the States, I did not think myself authorized to take into Service so large a number of Men, and therefore could not say the States would pay them—But the Situation of our Affairs being much changed and requiring their Service, I cannot but consider them as much Intitled to Continental pay as any Troops in this Army—In this Light I am persuaded Congress will view them It is so obvious & so equitable that no Application from me can be necessary—The Bounty I immagine—as you yourselves do—will be the Expence of the State, for wch Indemnification will not be made by the publick, My Letter of the 8th was not ment to comprehend this Subject, It was particularly Design’d to explain my Ideas of the Authority from whence Genl Clinton’s powers were derived.

I have requested Mr Trumbull to take the direction of the Commissaries and to see that the Levies are properly Supplied with provision I am extreemly concern’d that the Quotas of Men to be furnished by the Neighbouring States have proved so deficient. The busy season and Harvest to which It has been ascribed, being now over in a great degree, I flatter myself from the Zeal they have heretofore manifested, they will afford every possible assistance—They are well apprized of the Importance of this State in the present Contest and the necessity of maintaining It against the Attempts of the Enemy.

In respect to the Militia of Albany County as you are pleased in your proceedings of the 10th Inst. to Submit the propriety of calling them out to my determination, I would advise that they should not unless the necessity for bringing them here should be extreemly great, They Otherwise should remain in their County to afford succour to the frontier parts of the Gover[n]ment If It should be necessary2—I have Inclosed a Copy of Leit. McMichels report transmitted me by Genl Schuyler, from whence It will appear If the Inteligence contained in It be true, that their aid may be requ[i]red there.3

I have desired Genl Green on the Application of the Committee sent to Kings County, to afford them every assistance he conveniently can for executing the Business they are upon.4

Before I conclude I would observe the Letter of the 9th which I have acknoledged to have received is without any Signature, I presume it has been Omitted thro the hurry of business.5 I have the honour to be with great respect Gentm. Yr most Obt Servt


LB, in George Lewis’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The convention read this letter on 13 August. The text of the received letter, which is nearly identical in wording to the text of the LB, is printed in the 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 , 1:569.

2The convention resolved on 10 Aug. that “one-fifth part of the militia of the county of Albany be immediately drafted, and marched with the utmost expedition to the encampment to the northward of King’s Bridge, to continue in service one month after their arrival at the said encampment, unless sooner discharged.” The convention further resolved, however, that the resolution was to be implemented only if GW thought it necessary (ibid., 566).

3Lt. Edward McMichael’s undated intelligence report was enclosed in Schuyler’s letter to GW of 2 August. See note 1 to that document.

4Informed “that the inhabitants of Kings county have determined not to oppose the enemy,” the convention resolved on 10 Aug. to send a committee of four to that county to “inquire concerning the authenticity of such report; and in case they find it well founded, that they be empowered to disarm and secure the disaffected inhabitants; to remove or destroy the stock of grain; and if they shall judge it necessary, to lay the whole county waste.” The committee was further directed “to apply to Genl. Greene . . . for such assistance as they shall want” (ibid., 567–68).

5Abraham Yates, Jr., confirms this supposition in his letter to GW of 13 August.

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