George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Livingston, 16 July 1778

From William Livingston

Morris Town [N.J.] 16 July 1778

Dear Sir

I did myself the honour this morning to acquaint your Excellency that I had been yesterday to the Southward to forward pilots to the hook to conduct the fleet under the Command of his Excellency Count d’Estaing to New York1—As each ship ought at least to have one, I am persuaded that it will conduce to the Service to secure some to the Northward least we should be disappointed in the requisite Complement in these parts—I therefore take the Liberty to mention to your Excellency the names of some that have been recommended to me at Peaks kill & Kings ferry, to wit Capt. William Dobbs Dennis McQuire Isaac Symondson—Peeks kill William Sloo—Kings ferry2 Their political characters (a matter of the last Importance,) I know not—I have the honour to be with the highest Esteem Dr Sir your Excellencys most humble Servt

Wil: Livingston


1Livingston’s previous letter to GW of this date has not been found. He apparently informed GW that he had recommended Patrick Dennis, “one of the Commissioners in the Marine Department in New York,” to d’Estaing (see Livingston to d’Estaing, 14 July, in Prince, Livingston Papers description begins Carl E. Prince et al., eds. The Papers of William Livingston. 5 vols. Trenton and New Brunswick, N.J., 1979–88. description ends , 2:391). GW’s aide-de-camp Alexander Hamilton wrote Dennis on this date, asking him, “if circumstances will permit, to go on board the Admiral as early as possible. Your services may be the most important and interesting and such as will give you a just claim to the thanks and notice of your Country. If you can remain with the fleet during their operations in this Quarter it will be infinitely desireable; but if you can not, it will still be of importance for you to see the Count D’Estaing as you may inform him on several points which he may wish to know” (DLC:GW; see also Syrett, Hamilton Papers description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends , 1:524).

2A Dennis McGuire appears as a boatman in the 1797 New York City directory. Isaac Symondson had apparently moved to Elizabeth, N.J., by 4 Oct. 1779, when GW recommended him to Livingston as a good Hook pilot, suitable for assisting the French fleet. The executors of William Sloo, Sr. (d. 1798), unsuccessfully petitioned Congress in 1819 and 1821 for payment for his services “as a blacksmith and master of public vessels in the revolutionary army” (House Journal, 15 Cong. 2 sess., 154; ibid., 16 Cong., 1 sess., 92; Senate Journal, 16 Cong., 2 sess., 165).

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