George Washington Papers

Enclosure: Samuel Culper to Major Benjamin Tallmadge, 15 July 1779

Samuel Culper to Major Benjamin Tallmadge

20 [Setauket, N.Y.] July 15 1779


Mr C. Junr informed me at our Intervew1 that Christofer Dycink Sail Maker of 10 [New York] formerly Chairman of the Committee of Mechanicks is amongst you and is positively an agent for David Mathews Mayor of 10 [New York], under the direction of Tryon.2 he assisted Mathews John Rome—and others in effecting their escape3 Mr C. Junr Wishes for Some of that Ink or Stain that he may Paint out his Charecter to you—dont fail to forward it Imediately.4 And When you receive the History of his Conduct be very Causious how you handle it for if it Should get to the above Mentioned Persons ears Cu. Junr tells me They would imediately Suspect him—In the mean Time I Would advise and is approved on by Culper Junr Obtain the Mayors Signature and let a Letter be wrote Sutable for deception—and let it be handed him by Some Person of good address Praying his assistance to escape from the Tiranny of Congress which is the terme used by the Mayor—or Sometheng like this Plan I do not doubt will have the desireed effect John Rome is Secretary to M. Genl Jones5—it is not in my Power to favour you with the Mayors Signature at Present. I am your &c.

Samuel Culper


1For Woodhull’s interview with Samuel Culper, Jr. on 8 July, see Culper to Benjamin Tallmadge, 9 July, printed as an enclosure to Tallmadge to GW, 28-30 July. When Robert Townsend reported seeing Woodhull “a few days ago,” he almost certainly meant this same meeting (see Culper, Jr., to Tallmadge, this date, printed as an enclosure to Tallmadge to GW, 28-30 July).

2Christopher Duyckinck, a sail maker in New York City, served in the early months of 1776 as chairman of a “general committee of mechanicks,” a representative body of the working people that sought to influence the city’s Committee of Correspondence. Apparently an ardent Patriot during his chairmanship, Duyckink pursued suspected Loyalists and communicated with the state’s provincial congress. After the British occupied New York in the fall of 1776, Duyckinck left the city and operated a shoe factory at Danbury, Conn. (see Duyckinck to George Clinton, 25 Dec. 1777, in 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 2:605).

3For the arrest and escape of David Mathews, see Arrest Warrant from a Secret Committee of the New York Provincial Congress, 21 June 1776, and n.1 to that document.

John Le Chevalier Roome, a New York native admitted to the practice of law in 1773, was arrested for his Loyalist sentiments in May 1776 and imprisoned in Connecticut. Paroled in December 1776, he returned to New York City and became secretary to a succession of British generals who served as commander of the city and the garrison of that place. Roome sailed for England in October 1783.

4For Townsend’s first request for invisible ink, see Culper to John Bolton, “June 31” (probably intending 1 July), in n.2 of GW to Tallmadge, 25 July.

5Maj. Gen. Daniel Jones, who had commanded the British garrison at New York City, departed for England on 5 July. Maj. Gen. James Pattison filled the vacated position on 6 July (see Ritchie, “New York Diary,” description begins Carson I. A. Ritchie, ed. “A New York Diary [British army officer’s journal] of the Revolutionary War.” New-York Historical Society Quarterly 50 (1966): 221–80, 401–46. description ends 427).

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