George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Livingston, 23 August 1780

From William Livingston

Morris Town [N.J.] 23d Augt 1780

Dear Sir

I informed your Excellency in my last1 that I should immediately give directions to the Colls to exert themselves to compleat their Quotas of recruits in the Jersy Brigade but on looking over our Act for that purpose, I find to my great mortification that the time in which the officers were to procure the Levies for that Service is expired, & with it their Authority to proceed farther in the Business2—there is now no other Chance than a new Act, & as our Assembly stands adjourned to the 13th of Sepr, I have, to save as much time as possible, sent for the Speaker to endeavour to prevail on him to call the Assembly as much sooner as they can be convened.3

I inclose Hayden’s Affidavit who lately escaped from the Guard in camp, & has since surrender’d him self to Justice on a promise of pardon & in Consideration of the discoveries he can make4—There appears the greatest corruption in the officer who suffered his Escape, & whom he cannot describe by name, but probably the description he has given in his deposition may be sufficiently designative of the person5—I have the honour to be With the greatest Esteem Dear Sir your Excellencys most humble & very obedt Ser.

Wil: Livingston


2“An ACT to complete the three Regiments of this State, in the Service of the United States, and to raise a Company of Volunteers for the Defence of Part of the County of Monmouth,” passed by the New Jersey general assembly on 14 June, specified that the men were to be raised in the mode specified in “An ACT to raise and embody, for a limited Time, Six Hundred and Twenty-four Men, for the Defence of the Frontiers of this State,” passed on 7 June. The former act stated that the officers tasked with raising the men would have only twenty days after the time specified in the latter act to raise the men, which was four days after 23 June (N.J. Acts 1779), Third Sitting, 86–92, 105–6).

3At its next sitting, the New Jersey legislature passed no acts toward providing recruits for the New Jersey Continental regiments.

4The enclosed undated deposition, signed by Richard Hayden and sworn before a magistrate of Morris County, N.J., on this date, reads: “Richard Heyden being Duly sworn Saith that he was Removed from the Provost in Bergan County near Coll Deys Under Guard to West-point where he was confined about a week in which time he this Deponant Mentioned to the officer of the Guard his desire to get away from that confinement that he was unWell alledging that he would come to Morris Town or Some where thereabouts, and give himself up[.] the officer (whose name this Deponant does not know) answered that he might get out for the Centinals did not know who went out. Some Short time after the Said officer came in again and asked this Deponant if he wanted to go out upon which this Deponant took the hint and put on his Coat and walked out with the Said Officer by the Centinals. And further Saith that the Said Officer was of the Militia from the Massachusetts and lives about thirty Miles beyond Boston & that it was on Monday the Seventh day of August Instant he made his escape from West-point” (DLC:GW).

Richard Hayden (Haydon, Heydon, Hadon) may have served in the Connecticut militia. For another explanation of his reasons for escape from confinement at West Point, N.Y., and his declaration of a desire to uncover plots against the United States and expose disloyal persons, see Hayden to Livingston, 14 Aug., 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 , 4:33. On 29 Sept., the New Jersey privy council pardoned Hayden of two felony convictions in the Morris County courts (see Bernstein, N.J. Privy Council Minutes description begins David A. Bernstein, ed. Minutes of the Governor’s Privy Council, 1777–1789. Trenton, 1974. In New Jersey Archives, 3d ser., vol. 1. description ends , 173).

5GW replied to Livingston on 26 August.

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