Philip Schuyler to John Hancock, referred to Wythe & Committee, 31 May 1776

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General Philip Schuyler writes to Congress saying that he believes it is important for America to maintain its ground in Canada and is pleased that General Thomas and General Sullivan have taken their Brigades into Canada. Schuyler says that the army in Canada is in need of flour and fifty barrels of pork daily and the army in Albany, New York is in need of pork as well. He also reports that the Hospital which has gone into Canada needs more medicine sent up and General Thomas is dangerously ill with small pox. Schuyler is upset that there have been people, such as General Wooster[1] (though he is unnamed in this portion of the letter), who have said he has bad character. As a result, Schuyler says that he has requested to have his General look into the matter and have his innocence be known.

"Philip Schuyler to John Hancock, 31 May 1776, pg 1." Image from The Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789.

Letter text

Page 1

Forth George May 31st 1776
Ten in the Evening


At eight this Evening I was honored with your Dispatches of the 24th Instant.

I have already prepared my Letter for General Thomas, which with Copies of the Resolutions of Congress, and the Money you sent will go off at Day Break to Morrow Morning.

The Resolutions of Congress have given me new Life. Altho’ I by no Means desponded at the unlucky Accidents which have lately occurred in Canada.

I have been long and deeply impressed with a just Sense of the Importance of maintaining our Ground in Canada. It was therefore a most pleasing Circumstance to me to see General Thompson’s Brigade followed by that of General Sullivan. If possible, I wish to see another succeed the last. I have thought it prudent to prepare for its Conveyance across the Lakes, having built since General Sullivan left me on the 21st Instant sixty Batteans, which are now in this Lake, nor am I under any Apprehensions of supplying the Army in Canada with provision, provided it is sent up to Albany in sufficient Quantities, for altho it is an arduous Task; perseverance, Close attention and

Page 2

"Philip Schuyler to John Hancock, 31 May 1776, pg 2." Image from The Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789.

and hearty good will can surmount a variety of Obstacles.

By accounts received this Afternoon from Officers returning from Canada, I learn that Genral Sullivan must have arrived at St. John’s this Day with all his Brigade (except Colonel Dayton’s Regiment which is still in Tryon County, and where, I find, it is the Opinion of the Committee of Albany as well as mine that it is necessary he should remain at least for the present.

Inclose you a Return of provision sent lately into Canada. The Quantity of Flour is small because I was advised by the Honorable Commissioners and General Arnold that it could be procured there, and yet the Officers returning from thence inform me that our Army is in great Streights for it. . . I wish Mr. Price had complied with my Request, and made me frequent Returns, but I have unfortunately never received a single line from him since he left this place.

You will excuse me if I refer you to my Letter of this Date to my worthy General for sundry other Matters. I assure you, I do not take this Liberty without Reluctance, and it does not arise from Indolence, you will therefore readily excuse me for it.

A deluded Set of people have branded me with a Character, which my Soul abhors; which I trust my Conduct from early Youth has given the Lye to, & which it will continue to do in Future, but that Man is not worthy of holding an Honorable Station in the glorious Cause of America, who does not sensibly feel & resent an Attack upon his Reputation. In these Sentiments I have requested my General for an Inquiry to be made into my Conduct; his Soul is above the Meanness of Suspicion, for his Feelings are the most delicate, and altho’ his Opinion does me the most ample Justice, yet it is a natural Wish, that my Innocence should be made as public, as the Charge against one; which has been industriously propagated and ere this has probably reached every Quarter of that Country, to the preservation of which my all is devoted. Be assured Sir that Nothing shall be wanting on my part to fulfill the views of Congress in every Matter committed to my Charge. The intermitting Fever has left me, my Health is restored, and I am capable of undergoing my Fatigue.

As soon as I return from Skenesborough, whither I am going to give Directions about the Gun [datoes?] I shall proceed to Albany and employ proper persons to purchase whatever I shall think the Army may stand most in deed of.

The Commissary General in a Letter of Yesterday’s Date

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"Philip Schuyler to John Hancock, 31 May 1776, pg 3." Image from The Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789.

informs me that no more pork is left at Albany. An Army now in Canada and on the Communication requires daily fifty Barrels of pork and something more of Flour including the extra Expenditures, which therefore that a regular, and constant Supply should be kept up.

The Hospital is gone into Canada with a tolerable Assortment, but as many of the sick return to this place and Ticonderoga, it is necessary to make some provision for them, and I wish Medicines may be sent up, as we have none of any Kind.

General Thomas is at Charmble’s ill of the small pox and as I am informed rather in a dangerous way. Where General Wooster is, I know not. My last Accounts say on the Way to this Country, General Arnold gone against the eight Regiment and Indians who he has obliged to retreat, I have therefore requested the Commissioners to open the Letters directed to General Thomas in Case of his Death. <

I am Sir with Every Sentiment that respect & Esteem Inspire
Your most obedient Humble Servant
Ph. Schuyler.

The Honor. John Hancock Esq. &c. &c.

Letter from Gen. Schuyler

31 May 1776

Read 10 June

Referred to Mr. Sherman
Mr. Wythe
Mr. Sergeant
Mr. J. Lee.
Mr. Gwinnett

Page 4

"Philip Schuyler to John Hancock, 31 May 1776, pg 4." Image from The Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789.

Monthly return of provision
Rec.d. Expanded & forwarded
from the 1t to the 31st May

Enclosed in general Schuler’s letter of the 31 May 1776.

See also


  1. David Wooster to the Continental Congress, referred to Wythe & Committee, 11 February 1776