George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Hendricks, 17 October 1780

From John Hendricks

Elizth Town [N.J.] Octor 17: 1780

As I have been Some Time Employd by Colo: Dayton for the Purpose of Forwarding Inteligence,1 & the Colo. is now Sick, & Not in the Way, I take the Liberty to Send the Inclosed Intelegence from two Different Corrispondences, Whome I Think Your Excelency may Depend, on their F[i]dellity, One of Wittch is a Liver in New York, The Other is Sent From Here.2

My Brother Captn Hendrick’s Informd me, that His Excelency Would Be Glad of True Intelegence, @ any Time By Any Chanel.

He Can Inform Your Excelency of More Perhaps than Has been Wrote, As He is Privy to all that Goes for That Purpose, from This Place.

I Should be Glad if He Could have Some Deritctions About the Affair As Long as Colo: Dayton is Sick.

The Person that Lives in New York Is Desirous of having Something Sent him As He is mutch Reducd by Sickness And Other Losses, He has had the Promis of Somthing By Colo. Dayton. If it Should be Perfixd I Should Be Very Happy to forward it to Him The most Convenint Way, & if It is in my Power to Serve Your Excelency in that Way I Shall be Alway Ready.3 I am Your Excelency most Obt Servt

John Hendrck’s


1Col. Elias Dayton first employed Hendricks as a spy in 1777 (see Francis Barber to GW, 13 July 1778, n.2).

2The enclosure to Dayton from “A Stranger” was written on this date: “I Cannot But Congratulate you in particular and our Suffering Country in General on the Happy Discovery of that Most Hellish Plot Concerted by that Infernal Scoundrel Arnold—Who from the Avaratiousness of his heart and Insatiable Thirst After Gold Was Temted to Sell his Country and the Lives of perhaps Thousands to Gratify his Cursed Wicked Desires But God in his Mercy has Been pleased to Frustrate all his Diabolical Designs. …

“I Think the Annals of History Doth not Afford us Such an Instance of Black perfidiousness in Any Case Whatever—Thus Much at present for that Rascal Tho I have This to add that Bribery and Curruption Seems to be at present the predominant principal of the Degenerate Sons of Britan.” The informant then reported on “Affairs” in New York, including the arrival on 15 Oct. of “2600 Troops” aboard a large fleet of transports and merchantmen, the locations of British warships, and the sailing on 16 Oct. “of 43 Sail of Transports and Victulars haveing on Board as it Said Near 6000 Troops.” He termed the fleet’s destination “a profound Secret” but believed it to be Virginia. The informant also reported provision shortages that caused complaints among British soldiers and circumspection and dissatisfaction among Patriot spies because of detection fears and lack of promised payments. A postscript reads: “I hope your prudence Will Direct you to Distroy this paper when You have Done puruseing of it or those Gentn you may Int[r]ust with it” (DLC:GW).

“A Strangere” wrote GW on 23 Oct. with intelligence through 21 Oct. from New York, where he found “things in the Same Situation as they were About A week Since.” He provided new information from Capt. Thomas Ward on plans for a Loyalist foraging expedition into New Jersey and the imposing strength of “the Fort at Brooklyn” (DLC:GW).

The enclosure from “Littel D——” (John Vanderhovan) to “Jack” (likely Hendricks) is undated and reports intelligence similar to the other enclosure. Vanderhovan notes: “I am Determed to write to General washing the next oppartunity that I have and if I Get no Support I must take it As I Can As I am Stuck in Debt” (DLC:GW). Vanderhovan acknowledged receiving money when he wrote GW on 6 Nov. (DLC:GW).

3No reply from GW to Hendricks has been found.

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