George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Philip Schuyler, 21 January 1781

From Philip Schuyler

Albany January 21st 1781

Dear Sir

I embrace the opportunity which is afforded me by Colo: Hughs to Acknowledge the receipt of your Excellencys favor of the 10th Instant, and most sincerely sympathize with you on the embarrassments which the disagreable event in Jersey will Occassion you,1 It is an awful lesson to the states, and If It would produce a serious attention to their situation, If It would Induce to greater exertions, and hence relieve you from the variety of difficulties which their torpor have Occassioned you, If It would evince the necessity of parting with so much of their sovereignty respectively as would enable the Governing power to draw forth the Strength and resources of the Country, the event would be happy to America, but If only alarmed for the moment and no adequate means are pursued for the future subsistance & pay of the Army, our cause is lost, unless another system of goverment is adopted. Impressed with the necessity of lodging competent powers somewhere to prosecute the war with vigor and finding a disposition In the legislature to second my views—I have moved In Senate, to request of the Eastern states to Join in a Convention to be held at an early day for the purpose of Settling and adjusting every difference which may exist with respect to bounderais, to form a perpetual league of Incorporation, subservient however to the common Interest of all the states, to invite others to Acceed to It, to create a new State in this quarter on conditions to be stipulated in such convention to appreciate the most Effectual means for prosecuting the war with vigor, to devise a fund for the redemption of the Common debts to form a permanent & uniform system for drawing out the resources of the Country, that we may not be Incessantly exposed to the many evils Incident on temporary expedients, and lastly to Invest Congress with powers so extensive as to Oblige each State to do Its duty—this motion is not yet decided upon but I believe It will not meet with much If any Opposition in either house.2

Mrs Schuyler Joins me in best wishes to you Mrs Washington & the family, I am Dear Sir Your most Obedient and Affectionate Humble Servant,

Ph: Schuyler

2The New York legislature did not enact Schuyler’s proposal, but Schuyler served on a committee charged with preparing a letter to Congress that called on that body to exercise more extensive powers. In February, the legislature sent the letter to Congress and provided GW with a copy (see New York Legislature to GW, 14 Feb., n.1, and Schuyler to Alexander Hamilton, 5 Feb., in Hamilton Papers description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends , 2:551–53; see also Gerlach, Proud Patriot description begins Don R. Gerlach. Proud Patriot: Philip Schuyler and the War of Independence, 1775–1783. Syracuse, N.Y., 1987. description ends , 439–41).

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