George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Elias Dayton, 3 July 1780

Springfield July 3th 1780


I have the honor to enclose to your Excellency a late New York news paper, together with a letter just received from a person sent to N. York for the purpose of gaining intelligence.

From another person sent for like purpose I have a certain account that one night last week nine villains crossed from Staten Island to Amboy, for the purpose of assassinateing governor Livingston and every person concerned in taking the three spies lately executed at the Shorthils General Skinner was heard to say Lt Casterline & the party he had with him should be all murdered, Sussex Court House, and a Mil with a quantity of public grain in it are to be burnt by the above mentioned Villains. I beleive the account respecting the intentions of the nine fellows may be relyed on as it was sent to me by a person who was urged to make the tenth man, and excused himself only by saying he was much indisposed, they are without arms and dressed in the habits of countrymen.

Wednesday next I expect to have the names and description of the murderers that are sent into Jersey by Authority.

Their is a Capt. Pool lately exchanged, who is much suspected by our friends in new York, and who have several times beged of me to take care of him.

As their is not any guards at or near Eliz. Town I cannot venture to stay their any longer, matters are not conducted at that place as I could wish flags arrive come up to the town and remain as long as they think proper—A number of good whigs are exceedingly alarmed at this circumstance. I have the honor to be your Excellencys most obedient Hubl. Servent

Elias Dayton

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


July 2d 1780


Agreable to your permission I went over to New York Last Fryday and Returned Last Night—The British Troops that Embark’d at New York Some Time Since are Drawn in A Line Across from the East River to the North River on Phillipse Manor They are Gitting Ready Two Hessien Ships and 3 or 4 transports are takeing in heavy Cannon and ordinance Stores it is Said They are desingd for the North River They were at work all Night Fryday Tents and Camp [Equi]ppage are Likewise Put on Board &c. The [Strength] of their Army and Shipping Could one find [   ] Did Not Meet with Mr — gave out of the way No troops in New york But 1 Regt Waldeck 1 Ditto Scotch 76th Coll Robinsons Regt New Levies with A Small detachment of the 43d. They are greatly Chagrind to find the Militia in Jersey So Spirited I heard Some officers Say they were Damned fools to fight as they did for they Received no pay and if killed or wounded ther was no Provission Made for them or their famalies that unless that Spirit of obstinacy Could be Extinguished the war would Continue these Seven years They Said They were Amazd at the Madness and folly of the People thy Never Dreamd to find Such a Spirit of Rebellion among them I Saw them Take out of Some their Stores A Considerable Quantity of working [Force &c.] Some Say Large Numbers of [Interesting] Tools have Been privately put on Board.

I had A Long Conversation with A Certain Thomas Ward who has Lately Returnd from Niagaria he was Sent out the 18th of Last March in Company with one James Twisdale and George Harding Ward Beares A Capt. Commission—These Men were Sent out on an Embassey to Guy Johnston and his Motely Tribe to order him to Collect all the Force he Possible Could and Harrass the frontiers of New York State and others and—Likewise to draw Cloathing and all kinds of Indian Traffick and Dispose of them to the Different Nations of Indians to Invite them to Take up the hatchet Against us he Said A Considerable Number of the Chiefs and their Attendance were Assembled others—he Came Away he Arrived in York the 16th June ward is an Artfull Crafty fellow he was formerly an Ensign in Coll Malcoms Regt york Forces—When on Began yesterday Afternoon on my way home the Cannon from on board Two Shipping in the harbour were Dlay’d off which was Answerd by A Salute from the Battery for what Reason I Dont know the Above Mentioned Ward I have Been Aiquainted with from A Child he Servd his Time which Mr Daniel had in Water Session About four Miles from Newark. Sir I am with the Greatest Respect yours to Serve

A Stranger

PS. the Reason of my not going sooner than I did was that Next Morning After I had the Conferance with you one of my Brothers Came down and Informd me that my wife was very Sieck and as I had not Seen her in 16 Days I thought myself Bound in Every Duty and obligation to go and See her Before I Set out on my journey &c.

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