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the said William Rogers, as Commander of the said Armed Sloop Montgomerie, and a set of Instructions delivered to him.
Mr. Richard Norwood, Commissary of Colony Stores, made a return of the Gunpowder purchased of Mr. Nicholas Low, which was read, and filed. It thereby appears that the quantity is one thousand five hundred and three pounds, and the quality thereof, as proved and ascertained by Mr. Jecamiah Allen, is but middling.
A Letter from Colonel Gilbert Drake, dated the 9th instant, was read, and filed. He thereby acknowledges the receipt of the Letter from this Committee, of the 1st instant, and says he will stop buying provisions; and informs that John Thomas, Jun., Ebenezer Lockwood, and himself, have bought about one thousand barrels of pork and six hundred barrels of flour; that the peas ordered from Albany are in store at Peeks Kill Landing, and the pork stored in Cortlandts Manor, Bedford, and North-Castle.
A Letter from twelve disaffected persons in Queens County, usually called Tories, was read, and filed. They therein say they have been disarmed, and therefore request they may be excused from being called out when the Militia is called to train or muster.
A Letter from General Washington, on the subject of putting a stop to any intercourse with the Ships-of-War, was read, and filed, and is in the words following, to wit:
Head-Quarters, April 17, 1776.
GENTLEMEN: There is nothing that could add more to my happiness than to go hand in hand with the civil authority of this or any other Government to which it may be my lot to be ordered; and if, in the prosecution of such measures as shall appear to me to have a manifest tendency to promote the interest of the great American cause, I shall encounter the local convenience of individuals, or even of a whole Colony, I beg it may be believed that I shall do it with reluctance and pain; but in the present important contest the least of two evils must be preferred.
That a continuance of the intercourse which has hitherto subsisted between the inhabitants of this Colony and the enemy on board the ships-of-war is injurious to the common cause, requires no extraordinary abilities to prove. A moments reflection not only evinces this truth, but points out the glaring absurdity of such procedure. We are to consider ourselves either in a state of peace or war with Great Britain. If the former, why are our ports shut up, our trade destroyed, our property seized, our towns burnt, and our worthy and valuable citizens led into captivity and suffering the most cruel hardships? If the latter, my imagination is not fertile enough to suggest a reason in support of the intercourse.
In the weak and defenceless state in which this city was some time ago, political prudence might justify the correspondence that subsisted between the country and the enemys ships-of-war; but as the largest part of the Continental troops is now here, as many strong works are erected and erecting for the defence of the city and harbour, those motives no longer exist, but are absorbed in others of a more important nature. To tell you, gentlemen, that the advantages of an intercourse of this kind are altogether on the side of the enemy, whilst we derive not the smallest benefit from it, would be telling what must be obvious to every one. It is indeed so glaring, that even the enemy themselves must despise us for suffering it to be continued; for, besides their obtaining supplies of every kind, by which they are enabled to continue in your harbours, it also opens a regular channel of intelligence, by which they are from time to time made acquainted with the number and extent of our works, our strength, and all our movements; by which they are enabled to regulate their own plans to our great disadvantage and injury. For the truth of this, I could produce instances; but as it may be the subject of future discussion, I shall decline it at present. It would, gentlemen, be taking up too much of your time to use further arguments in proof of the necessity of putting an immediate and total stop to all future correspondence with the enemy. It is my incumbent duty to effect this, convinced as I am of the disadvantages resulting from it, and it cannot be thought strange or hard that, under such conviction, I should be anxious to remove an evil which may contribute not a little to the ruin of the great cause we are engaged in, and may, in its effects, prove highly detrimental to this Colony in particular.
In effecting the salutary purposes above-mentioned, I could wish for the concurrence and support of your honourable body. It will certainly add great weight to the measures adopted, when the civil authority co-operates with the military to carry them into execution. It will also redound much to the honour of the Government and of your Committee in particular, for the world are apt to judge from appearances; and while such correspondence exists, the reputation of the whole Colony will suffer in the eyes of their American brethren.
It is therefore, gentlemen, that I have taken the liberty to address you on this important subject, relying upon your zeal and attachment to the cause of American liberty for your assistance in putting a stop to this evil, and that you will co-operate with me in such measures as shall be effectual either to prevent any future correspondence with the enemy, or in bringing to condign punishment such persons as may be hardy and wicked enough to carry it on otherwise than by a prescribed mode, if any case can possibly arise to require it.
I have the honour to be, with the utmost respect, gentlemen, your most obedient humble servant,
Ordered, That all the Deputies to the Provincial Congress, now in this City, be summoned to attend this Committee to-morrow morning, at nine oclock; and that the Continental Delegates now in this City be requested to attend, to take this Letter into consideration.
Die Jovis, A. M., April 18, 1776.
The Committee met pursuant to adjournment.
Present: William Paulding, Esq., Chairman.
FOR NEW-YORK.Mr. Randall, Mr. Prince, Mr. Denning, Colonel Lott, Mr. Scott, Col. McDougall, Mr. Bancker, Mr. Roosevelt, Mr. Van Zandt, Mr. Smith.
FOR SUFFOLK.Mr. Tredwell.
FOR ORANGE.Mr. Cuyper.
FOR KINGS.Mr. Covenhoven, Mr, Van Brunt.
FOR DUTCHESS.Mr. Everson.
FOR WESTCHESTER.Mr. Paulding, Col. Gilbert Drake, Mr. Thomas.
FOR RICHMOND.Mr. Bancker.
Philip Livingston and Francis Lewis, Esquires, were present by request of the Committee.
On application from the General Committee of the City of New-York,
Ordered, That Alexander Moncrief be, and he is hereby, directed to receive into his custody all such persons as shall be from time to time committed by order of the General Committee of the City and County of New-York, and confine them in the Jail set apart for the confinement of prisoners committed by the Provincial Congress or Committee of Safety of this Colony.
Whereas this Committee is informed that the publick service is greatly impeded by the neglect or refusal of the Gunsmiths to despatch the work put into their hands by the Commissary,
It is therefore Resolved and Ordered, That Colonel Curtenius do immediately apply to the several Gunsmiths in this City, and employ them in fitting up the Guns wanted for the publick service; and if any of the said Gunsmiths shall refuse to be employed in the publick service, or shall neglect to perform the work assigned, in that case the said Colonel Curtenius is hereby ordered and required to report to this Committee such as shall so refuse or neglect to despatch the publick work.
Mr. Adjutant-General Gates attending, was admitted.
1st. He informed the Committee that the General conceives it would tend to the publick convenience and the good government of the Army, and punishment of delinquents, if the Provost-Marshal could be supplied with a room in the Jail for his prisoners; and, also, another room in the Jail, or any other part of that building, for the holding of Courts-Martial, if any such room can be spared in that building; and requests the intervention of this Committee in the premises.
2d. That it is the opinion of the General, that proper persons should be appointed at different stations to make, signals upon the approach of any enemy; and that corps of