George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Philip Schuyler, 9–11 July 1779

To Philip Schuyler

New Windsor July the 9th[-11] 1779

Dear Sir

On sunday I had the pleasure to receive Your favors of the 18th 19th & 30th Instant.1

In the spring 1778 Congress determined on a half pay establishment for seven years in favor of those Officers who remain in service till the end of the War.2 This is the only one that exists at present.

I am exceedingly obliged by the Canada intelligence, which I have transmitted to Genl Sullivan.3 I have nothing in particular in charge for the person returning. Your own good judgement will direct his inquiries & those of your friend to every material and interesting point.

Bettis in whose favour you interested yourself, was pardoned on the 4th Instant, the Anniversary of our Independence, with several Other prisoners in the same unhappy predicament.4

The intelligence we had from Carolina—though through various channels and in such a way as to give it an air of authenticity—was destitute, I believe, of any foundation. However, I am happy in thinking that the Enemy as yet have done nothing to effect.5

We have accounts that a Vessel has lately arrived at Boston, the Captain of which says he parted with Ten Men of War off the Western Islands, going to reinforce Count D’Estaing.6 It is farther said in the philadelphia papers that the Court of Spain has acceded to our independence7—and I believe there have been some private Letters received there from the Havannah announcing this. I hope it is true.

The Enemy have fallen down from Stoney and Verplanks points, leaving strong Garrisons at both.8 They have sent a Detachment into the sound and from the advices received to day, they have landed at New Haven.9 It would seem that they are determined to pursue the predatory plan of War threatned by the Commissioners—and sanctioned by parliament on a subsequent discussion of the matter.10

Your promise of a visit gives me great pleasure—and you will permit me to assure You, that it will make me happy.11 I parted with Mrs Washington when we marchd for the Clove and she returned to Virginia.12 She also would have been very happy to have seen You. I am Dr sir with sentiments of the most perfect regard & respect Yr Most Obedt Hbl. servt

G. Washington

P.S. July 11

The Enemy have plundered New Haven—burnt some Houses there—part of East Haven—and on the 7th almost the Whole of Fairfield and a great part of the parish of Greens farms, according to the advices I have received.13

Df, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Schuyler’s letters to GW arrived on Sunday, 4 July. Those of 18 and 19 June have not been found.

2For this pension resolution, which Congress adopted on 15 May 1778, see 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 11:502–3; see also Gouverneur Morris to GW, 1 and 15 May 1778, and GW to Henry Laurens, 29 May 1778.

3See Schuyler to GW, 30 June, and n.2 to that document, and GW to John Sullivan, 5 July.

4For Joseph Bettys, a spy and marauder, see GW to Alexander McDougall, 3 July, and General Orders, 4 July, and n.5 to that document.

5Reports of an overwhelming American success in South Carolina ultimately proved erroneous (see John Jay to GW, 4 and 7 June, and GW to James Clinton, 13 June; see also GW to John Augustine Washington, 20 June, and n.7 to that document).

6For this intelligence, see GW to Sullivan, 1 July, and n.7 to that document.

7The Pennsylvania Evening Post (Philadelphia) for 3 July printed a notice under the heading “PHILADELPHIA, July 2” that reads: “By capt. Wilson, who arrived here last Wednesday in fourteen days from the Havannah, we are informed that Spain, on the eleventh of April last, acknowledged the independence of the United States of America.” Spain did not recognize the independence of the United States until after the Revolutionary War. For the Spanish declaration of war against Great Britain on 16 June 1779, see GW to Joseph Reed, 29 July, n.9.

8For this British withdrawal, see GW to Jay, 1 July, and n.3 to that document; see also Anthony Wayne to GW, 3 July, and n.7 to that document.

9GW likely is referring to a letter from Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., to him of 7 July. For the British raids on the Connecticut coast during early July, see GW to Trumbull, same date, source note.

10GW is referring to British peace commissioners and their manifesto and proclamation of 3 Oct. 1778, which set forth a policy of destructive war further articulated in King George III’s speech that Nov. 26 and subsequent debates in Parliament (see GW to Henry Laurens, 22–23 Oct. 1778, and n.17 to that document, and Jay to GW, 3 March 1779, and n.4 to that document; see also GW to George Clinton, 8 Oct. 1778, and n.4 to that document; John Grizzage Frazer to GW, 5 Jan. 1779, and n.1 to that document; and Westminster Journal and London Political Miscellany, 19 Dec. 1778).

11Schuyler apparently visited GW at West Point in the middle of October (see GW to Schuyler, 12 Oct., DLC:GW).

12GW had departed Middlebrook, N.J., for Smiths Clove, N.Y., on 3 June. For Martha Washington’s return to Mount Vernon, see GW to Lund Washington, 29 May, n.7.

13See Norwalk, Conn., Officials and Stephen St. John to GW, 9 July.

Schuyler’s reply to GW, written at Saratoga, N.Y., on 15 July, reads: “Last evening I was honored with Your Excellencys favor of the 9th Continued to the 11th Instant, please to Accept my thanks for the Intelligence It Contains.

“Mrs Washingtons return to Virginia has greatly disappointed Mrs Schuyler who Intended to have Accompanied me to head Quarters In hopes to have prevailed on her to pass some time with us at Albany.

“I Sincerely wish Spain may have Acceeded to our Independance, and that She and our other Maritime Ally may send a fleet on our Coast to prevent the desolation which the Enemys predatory plan seems to threaten, and which In our present Condition It appears not In our power to prevent” (ALS, owned [1997] by Mr. Joseph Rubinfine, Cocoa, Fla.).

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