Letter to General Washington


A draft of a Letter to his Excellency General Washington, relative to a report that the City of New-York was to be burnt if the Troops left it, was read and approved, and is in the words following, that is to say:

"In Convention of the Representatives of the State of New-York, Haerlem, August 22, 1776.

"SIR: The Convention of this State have received information from one of the Deputies of the City and County of New-York of a report prevailing amongst the Army, ‘that if the fortune of war should oblige our troops to abandon that city, it should be immediately burnt by the retreating soldiery, and that any man is authorized to set it on fire.’

"The Convention will cheerfully submit to the fatal necessity of destroying that valuable city whenever your Excellency shall deem it essential to the safety of this State or the general interest of America. Yet the duty which they owe to their constituents obliges them to take every possible precaution that twenty thousand inhabitants may not be reduced to misery by the wanton act of an individual. They therefore entreat your Excellency to take such measures in preventing the evil tendency of such a report as you shall deem most expedient.

"I have the honour to be your Excellency' s most obedient and very humble servant. By order:

"ABM˙ YATES, President.

"His Excellency General Washington."