Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 4
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library

| Table of Contents for this work |
| All on-line databases | Etext Center Homepage |

To MAJOR GENERAL PHILIP SCHUYLER Cambridge, January 16, 1776.

    Dear Sir: Your Favour of the 5th. Inst. inclosing Copies of General Montgomery's and General Wooster's Letters, I received; for which I return you my Thanks. 26

[Note:Schuyler's letter of January 5 is in the Washington Papers. In it he stated his conviction that the jealousy of the Connecticut officers and troops was the deciding factor in his retirement. When Congress considered the Canadian situation (January 20) it ordered "That General Washington be desired to despatch a general officer, if he can be spared from the service at Cambridge, to command the army in Canada." ]

Page 252

    It was from a full Conviction of your zealous Attachment to the Cause of our Country, and Abilities to serve it, that I repeatedly pressed your Continuance in Command; and it is with much Concern, Sir, that I find you have Reason to think your holding the Place you do, will be of Prejudice and incompatible with it's Interest. As you are of this Opinion, the Part you are inclined to take is certainly generous and noble: but will the good Consequences you intend be derived from it? I greatly fear they will not. -- I shall leave the Matter to yourself, in full Confidence, that in whatever Sphere you move, your Exertions for your Country's Weal, will not be wanting.

    Whatever Proof you may obtain, fixing, or tending to support the Charge, against Mr. Prescot, you will please to transmit me by the first Opportunity. 27

[Note:General Prescott was considered responsible for the harsh treatment of Ethan Alien and the prisoners taken with him at Montreal. ]

    I am apt to believe the Intelligence given Doctr. Wheelock respecting Major Rogers, was not true; 28 but being much suspected of unfriendly Views to this Country, his Conduct should be attended to with some Degree of Vigilance and Circumspection.

[Note:Rogers was believed to have been with the British troops in Canada and to have given information as to the strength of till American forces. ]

    I confess I am much concerned for General Montgomery, and Col. Arnold; and the Consequences which will result from their Miscarriage, should it happen, will be very alarming. I fear no less fatal than you mention. However, I trust, that their distinguished Conduct, Bravery, and Perseverance will meet with the Smile of Fortune, and put them in Possession of this important Fortress. I wish their Force was greater, the Reduction would then be certain.

    I am sorry that Ticonderoga, and Fort George should be left by the Garrisons, and that your recruiting Officers meet with


Page 253

such ill Success. It is too much the Case in this Quarter, and from the slow Progress made in inlisting, I despair of raising an Army to the new Establishment. -- Should it be effected, it will be a long Time first.

    Our Caghnawaga Friends are not arrived yet; I will try to make suitable Provision for them during their Stay, and use every Means in my Power to confirm their favourable Disposition towards us. They will not, I am fearful, have such Ideas of our Strength, as I could wish. This, however, shall be strongly inculcated. 29

[Note:The Caughnawaga Tribe were located a few miles above Montreal, on the St. Lawrence River. Some chiefs had visited General Schuyler and wished to visit the main American camp at Cambridge. ]

    If Quebec is in our Possession, I do not see that any Inconvenience will result from Mr. Gamble's going there upon his Parole; 30 but if it is not, however hurtful it may be to him, however disagreeable to me, to prejudice the Interest of an Individual, I cannot consent to his Return. I am much distressed by other Applications of a like Nature. If Mr. Gamble's Request is granted, others in the same Situation will claim the same Indulgence. Further, I think a particular Exchange should not be made, and my Proposition for a general one, was rejected by Mr. Howe, or what is the same, it was unnoticed. I could wish that his Application had been to Congress. They might have complied with it, had they thought it reasonable.

[Note:Mr. Thomas Gamble was a deputy quartermaster general in the British Army. He was taken prisoner with General Prescott after the capitulation of Montreal. ]

    I shall be much obliged by your sending, as expeditiously as you can, such Cloathing as you are able to spare. It's not being made up, is rather an Advantage, as it may be done here with some saving.

    I am much pleased that the Artillery was like to be got over the River, and am in Hopes that Colonel Knox will arrive with it in a few Days. It is much wanted.


Page 254

    On reading the Copy of Genl. Wooster's Letter I was much surprised to find, that he had granted Furloughs to the Connecticut Troops under his Command, in Preference of Discharges. What Advantage could he imagine they would be of to the Continent, when they were at their own Homes? If he could not continue them in the Service they were upon, their Discharges would certainly have eased the Country of a considerable Expence. Giving you in Return the Compliments of the Season, and wishing you every Happiness, I am, etc.