George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lieutenant Colonel Udny Hay, 21 September 1778

From Lieutenant Colonel Udny Hay

Fish Kill, 21 Septr 1778


Enclosed I have the Honour to transmitt your Excellency the act for regulating the impresses of Forage and Carriages within this State, together with <t>he Copy of a Letter from Governour Clinton to me on <t>hat subject, in consequence of which General Gates then commanding in this department <t>hought proper to grant me a general Press warrant, <in> executing of which I have been so carefull to prevent <g>iving any offence to the inhabitants, that his Excellency the Governour was pleased to give me a certificate about <a> Month agoe that he had never heard of a single <co>mplaint on that account since my coming into <t>he Department.1

As we have a very large number of stores <n>ow lying at N: Borough 2 and Fish Kill, and many <m>ore daylay coming on which ought immediately to <be> forwarded to the Army, and Carriages for the transportation thereof cannot be obtaind in the common way without too great a delay of time; and what is <e>qually bad the justices are in general affraid to putt the law in force against such as are refractory, by which means those who refuse serving us escape unpunishd, while our best friends are distressed by being <o>blidged to do much more than their proper tour of Duty, if your Excellency would be pleased to grant <a>n impress warrant, with as great Latitude as you <t>hink would be consistent with the law of the State, I shall endeavour to give a convincing proof that the Power I may be entrusted with shall not be abused by me, nor as far as I can prevent, by any employed under me upon that business.

Give me leave to add that about twenty horsemen, with a discreet prudent officer, station<ed> at this place would be very serviceable in obtaining the Carriages wanted—I have the Honour to be with the greatest esteem, Sir, Your most obedt & very humble Sert,

Udny Hay

ALS, CSmH; Sprague transcript, DLC:GW. The first page of the ALS is torn along the left edge. Mutilated letters and words are supplied within angle brackets from the Sprague transcript.

1For the New York impressment act of 2 April 1778 and Gov. George Clinton’s letter to Hay of 23 June 1778, see GW to Hay, 23 Sept., n.1; see also N.Y. Laws description begins Laws of the State of New-York, Commencing with the first Session of the Senate and Assembly, after the Declaration of Independency, and the Organization of the New Government of the State, Anno 1777. Poughkeepsie, N.Y., 1782. description ends , 28–30, and Hastings and Holden, Clinton Papers description begins Hugh Hastings and J. A. Holden, eds. Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804. 10 vols. 1899–1914. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends , 3:486. A copy of Governor Clinton’s certificate of 25 July 1778 commending Hay’s conduct (inadvertently misdated 25 July 1773 on the manuscript) is in DNA:PCC, item 151. The impressment warrant that Hay received from Horatio Gates has not been identified.

2Hay is referring to Newburgh, New York.

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