Letter from the Committee at Monmouth, in New-Jersey, August 17


A Letter from the Committee at Monmouth County, in the State of New-Jersey, in answer to one addressed to them by this Convention, was received and read, and is in the words following, to wit:

"In Committee, Monmouth County, Freehold, August 17, 1776.

"SIR: We have received yours of the 26th ultimo, enclosing the examination of Balthazar De Hart, and have much reason to expect and believe the contents truly stated. It has been, and still continues our misfortune, that many parts of this County are exceedingly infested with Tories of the most inveterate disposition, owing, we suspect, in a great measure, to the malign influence of our late Attorney-General and his execrable junto.

"The township of Shrewsbury, from the bad disposition of a great proportion of its inhabitants, from its vicinity to the shore, and consequent aptitude for dealing and corresponding with the enemy, and all this under the patronage of such a Committee as you may justly suppose a disaffected majority would naturally constitute, must as naturally offer itself as an asylum to refugee Tories from any other quarter, and hence you will easily account for so many disaffected persons from your city having seated themselves there, who by means of a kind of stage or post established between that town and New-York, have, we fear, given the enemy intelligence of all your measures, and may, perhaps, continue to do so, if passes from that Committee are admitted at or near your city.

"We have the pleasure to inform you that, having had a notification of almost every article contained in Mr˙ De Hart' s examination, we had, previous to the receipt of your letter, entered fully into the affair, and taken such steps as we hope will cut off the communication with the enemy, bring some offenders to justice, and perhaps return you some of your late inhabitants. Particularly a guard had been already posted, by order of General Mercer, upon the whole Shrewsbury and Middletown shores, who have orders to seize and detain all craft belonging to said shores, and to apprehend every suspicious person who may be found within their respective districts. There had been also apprehended a number of the inhabitants of Shrewsbury, against whom proofs of disaffection were proffered, some of whom we have bound in heavy bonds, and another, a person of first property in the town, is now under confinement, and we expect will take his trial upon the Treason Act, as soon as our new Legislature shall be established.

"Persons, by order of your Convention, and under appointment of this Committee, have inventoried and appraised a number of estates in that and our other townships, which lately belonged to a set of refugees who, finding the country too hot for them, have fled and joined the Ministerial Army, which wicked and traitorous step, some scores of our inhabitants have taken, though they were chiefly persons of the most abandoned characters and desperate fortunes.

"We have cited the three persons mentioned in your letter to have been at General Howe' s camp, and although they went by Colonel Taylor' s permission, who granted them a flag, yet, as they had not been qualified, we have put them under oath, but have not been able to make any very important discoveries. Not choosing to trust the business to the Town Committee, for reasons before hinted, we


had also, before the receipt of your favour, constituted a Sub-Committee from our own body, who were authorized to cite every inhabitant of New-York then within the township of Shrewsbury, to appear before them, and show cause why they should not be immediately removed whence they came, agreeable to a late requisition from your State, and an express ordinance of our own, respecting persons deserting the place of their abode, when in danger of being attacked; who have cited them accordingly, and give them till the 24th instant to procure, if practicable, from New-York, such certificates as may satisfy the friends of freedom here.

"A number of armed vessels have frequently been, for days together, at anchor and hovering near the coast, and we doubt not have had frequent intercourse with, and received some supplies from, the disaffected in this County. But they have not as yet been able to effect anything to purpose; and as our guards are now on the spot, and we have given peremptory orders that all the stock be immediately driven from all the beaches and adjacent meadows, we flatter ourselves that the enemy will be disappointed in any future attempt they may make to procure provisions.

"Our maritime situation, at the same time that it has been favourable to the pernicious designs of our inveterate enemies, has subjected the Committee of this County to almost innumerable difficulties from the beginning of these troubles, and we believe we may justly say we have spent more time and undergone more vexation and fatigue than any other Committee in this State, as on every extraordinary occasion our members were to be convened from an extent of seventy or eighty miles. However, blessed be God, we hope we have almost completed a victory over them, and we humbly confide on his Almighty aid for a universal conquest over every other enemy to American freedom.

"We heartily thank you for your friendly communications, and shall, with the utmost cheerfulness, concur with you in every measure for the publick safety.

"And now, that the same all-wise Director and powerful supporter of true civil and religious liberty may bless the Convention of the State of New-York with unanimilty, wisdom, and fortitude, in the arduous task assigned them, and that they may speedily obtain the desirable end of all their patriotick exertions, is in sincerity and truth the most ardent wish of their friends, brethren, and humble servants, the Committee of Monmouth County.

"Signed by order:

JOHN HOLMES, Chairman.

"To the President of the Convention of the State of New-York."

Ordered, That it be referred to a Committee to consist of Colonel Broome and Colonel De Witt.