George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Philip Schuyler, 6 October 1779

From Philip Schuyler

[Albany, N.Y., 6 Oct. 1779]

Extract of a Letter from Mr Schuyler to his Ex: Gen: Washington dated Albany Octo. 6th 1779

“I have Just received letters from Colo: Van Dyck and Mr Deane copies whereof are Inclosed.1 The letter to Colo: Butler I wrote at the request of Governor Clinton to procure Information with respect to Colo. Thurston and the Militia taken with him In July last at Minisink.2 I also took Occassion to ask him If he was Impowered to treat of An Exchange of such prisoners as were In the Indian Country.

“I shall request Colo: V. Dyck and Mr Deane to Inform the Cayuga’s thro the Oneidas that the Commissioners cannot decide upon their proposal Until Your Excellencys pleasure is known; A real and permanent peace with the Indians I conceieve would be greatly beneficial to the States And It appears to me very probable that If It is granted to the Caiyugas the Senecas will also make application for the purpose. If Your Excellency Should think proper to enter Into a treaty with the Cayugas and Commit the business to the Commissioners of Indian Affairs I as one would wish Uninformed as we are of the views And Intentions of Congress with respect to the Indians & the Country to be fully Instructed on the Occassion.”3

Copy (extract), DNA:PCC, item 153; copy (extract), DNA:PCC, item 170.

1The enclosures have not been identified but were probably copies of the letters of James Deane and Cornelius Van Dyke to Schuyler, both dated 1 Oct. at Fort Schuyler, N.Y., which reported that some of the Cayuga Indians desired to negotiate a treaty of peace. Deane’s letter also reported that the Onondaga were willing to negotiate regarding their escaped prisoners who were now at Oneida, New York (DNA:PCC, item 153).

2Schuyler’s letter to Maj. John Butler has not been identified. For New York governor George Clinton’s letter to Schuyler, dated 27 Aug., and Schuyler’s reply, dated 11 Sept., see 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 5:218, 273–74. Lt. Col. Benjamin Tusten, Jr., was killed at the Battle of Minisink near present-day Barryville, N.Y., on 22 July when his militia was ambushed by an Indian and Loyalist force commanded by Joseph Brant (see GW to John Sullivan, 1 Aug., and n.1 to that document). Clinton was not sure of his fate; the survivors of the ambush had reported forty-four of their militia missing, including Tusten.

3GW’s reply of 12 Oct. indicates that, in this letter, Schuyler also mentioned his intent to visit GW at West Point and discussed the directions he had given in regard to the Mohawk families living near Fort Hunter, New York.

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