George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Philip John Schuyler, 20 April 1782

Albany April 20th 1782

Dear Sir

On the 19th I was honored with Your Excellency’s favor of the 15th Instant, I shall with great pleasure execute the business you request, assoon as Mr Duer returns from Rhynbeck, which I learn will be in a few days.

I have examined Bettys who was taken Charged with a letter supposed for Sir Henry Clinton, his information is, "That he left St Johns on the 15th ult:—that Generals Haldimand, Bedsill and Clark where there when he left it; that General Haldimand deliver’d him the letter which was found on him, and charged him with a verbal message to Sir Henry Clinton purporting, that the former Intended to penetrate the Country thro Vermont, and hoped with the assistance of the Vermontese to burn albany and wished Sir Henry to make a diversion in his favor by moving up Hudsons river about the tenth of August."

Whatever may be the Intention of the Enemy, such a communicate to a character like the Informant appears to me utterly Improbable, he adds "that timber has been collected at St Johns to construct batteaux with, that an hundred and fifty new ones were to be built, that about 120 are now those repairable, that all the Shipping were ordered to be repaired" I have It thro another channel that a Small quantity of timber is collected at Sorrel for building Batteaus, and that some boards are brought to St Johns to repair damaged boats, this is the more probable account, as Bettys number would be Sufficient to convey twelve thousand men with 60 days provision across lake Champlain, and the Enemy cannot surely have in contemplation an operation that would require half that force; he Continues "that he does not know the military force in canada, but computes as follows, at St Johns and dependencies the 33d Regiment and Rogers Rangers together about 650—at Chamble two Companies, at montreal 3 Companies, at Carleton Island of Sir John Johnstons Regiment about 400, of ditto at La Salle the one Company, at Trois Rivier a Regiment, at Sorrel two Companies, and about twelve hundred men at Quebec and the environs—that the provincial corps are included In the above, that no Indians are kept at St Johns, that St Leger had not above fourty with him when at Ticonderoga last fall, That Canadiens are employed as Carpenters Batteaumen &c., but none Inlisted as Soldiers; That about two hundred Carpenters and [axmen] have been employed since October last in procuring ship timber on the banks of Lake Champlain, which is to be sent to Quebec; and probably from thence to Europe" They have for three years past carryed on that business by a company of merchants; "That a constant Intercourse has prevailed between Governor Haldimand & Governor Chetten since the fall before last, That he has been employed in carrying letters between them, that a diversity of opinion prevails amongst the british officer respecting Vermont, some asserting that they are earnestly engaged in the british Interest, whilst others declare their Negociation tends only to [demure], and that Chettendon acts probably under your Excellency’s direction to answer your purposes, and prevent them from disturbing your operations in other quarters" to this he has added the names of several who harbour emissaries from Canada, and communicate Intelligence, but as his Information is given in the hopes of a pardon, altho not the least kind of promise has been made him, great allowances must be made, Indeed I am persuaded he blends much faleshood with some truth.

I have sent for a person lately from Canada who I am informed is Intelligent, whatever he communicates worthy your attention shall be transmitted.

Mrs Schuyler Joins me in our best wishes, and Intreaties for the honor of a visit from you & your lady, the season will soon be agreable, the Conveyance Easy and several of the vessels on the river Commodious, I am Dear Sir with the most perfect regard & Esteem Your Excellency’s affectionate Hume Servt

Ph: Schuyler

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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