George Washington Papers

To George Washington from George Clinton, 27 September 1780

From George Clinton

Pokeepsie [N.Y.] Septr 27th 1780

Dr Sr

Previous to the Receipt of your Excellcys favor of Yeste⟨rday⟩ which came to my hand abt 2 O’Clock this Morning, We had the Report of Arnolds Treason1 in such a Way as to leave little Room to doubt of its’ truth.2 As ’tis more than probable there may be many more concerned, besides Smith,3 I could wish therefore the strictest Search may be made & that you will without hisitation take all such Measures as to your Excell. may appear best calculated for making the fullest discovery and apprehending all who may be concerned in this Plot & The Legislature who are now sitting will, I have no Doubt, sanctify the Measure.4

Sampson Dyckman on Arnolds application recommended to him some well affected Persons in Westchester County from whom he might be most likely to Obtain Intelligence of the Movemts of the Enemy. On hearing of Arnolds Trea⟨che⟩ry he determined to go down to the highlands & obtain Assistance to bring off the Persons he recommended, lest Arnold should report their Names to & have them taken off by the Enemy—As I thought it wrong that any Person who had been employed by Genl Arnold should be seen in that quarter at prest I have therefore detained him here5—The enclosed Letter will give your Excellency the Names of the Persons Dyckman is anxious should be brot of—I have therefore to request, that your Excellency will take such Measures for the Purpose as you deem expedient & return the Letter to the bearer to be carried forwd agreable to its direction.6

ADf, NHi: Miscellaneous Manuscripts.

1Clinton inadvertently wrote “Treasony” for this word.

2See Document IV.

4No formal discussion regarding Maj. Gen. Benedict Arnold’s treachery occurred in the New York legislature, but that body agreed on 29 Sept. to form “a joint Committee of both Houses … to take into Consideration, the present critical Situation of the Country, and to determine the Measures necessary to be pursued for the public Safety.” The committee recommended on 30 Sept. that “a Council should be appointed to assist in the Administration of the Government, during the Recess of the Legislature.” The initiative finally failed because the “Council of Revision” found the measure “inconsistent with the Spirit of the Constitution, and the public Good” (NY. Assembly Proc., 7 Sept.–10 Oct. 1780, pp. 27–28, 30–31, 33, 36, 41, quotes on 28 and 41).

5Samson (Sampson) Dyckman (1748–1792) assisted the Continental army with operations in New York (see William Heath to GW, 28 Feb. 1782, and Daniel Parker to GW, 20 April 1783, both DLC:GW; see also Nathaniel Woodhull to GW, 18 July 1776, source note). For correspondence evaluating Dyckman’s patriotism, see Richard Varick to Robert Benson, 24 Aug. 1780, and Benson to Varick, 19 Sept. 1780, in Hart, Varick Court description begins Albert Bushnell Hart, ed. The Varick Court of Inquiry to Investigate the Implication of Colonel Varick (Arnold’s Private Secretary) in the Arnold Treason. Boston, 1907. description ends , 92–99.

6The enclosed letter has not been identified.

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