William Paulding & New York Committee of Safety to John Hancock, referred to Wythe & Committee, 26 March 1776

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In February, the Provincial Congress received two resolutions from the Continental Congress. The first one stated that $35,000 dollars would be provided to the Committee of Safety of New York to support the troops and the second resolution said that it was the committee's role to contact the proper people to supply the troops with rations and other necessities. Paulding and the committee enclose copies of the two resolutions. In response to the resolutions, Paulding and the committee say that the Provincial Congress wrote up a contract to fulfill them. They say that they don't mention the contents of the contract in the letter because they have enclosed a copy of the contract. George Wythe, Benjamin Harrison, and John Adams were possibly on a committee whose role was to find ways to fund the troops which would explain why they were referred.[1]

"New York Committee of Safety to John Hancock, 26 March 1776, pg 1." Image from The Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789.

Letter text

Page 1

In Committee of Safety New York March, 26th. 1776


In the Month of February last the Provincial Congress of this Colony received, amongst other things, Resolutions of the Honorable Continental Congress dated the 17th. under the hands of the President & Secretary; "That the sum of 35,000 Dollars be advanced to the Convention or Committee of Safety of New York for the Support of the Troops employed for the defence of that Colony." "That it be Recommended to the Convention or Committee of Safety of New York to Contract with proper persons for Supplying the said Troops with the Rations allowed by Congress, and fuel and other necessaries on the most reasonable Terms in their Power."

To prevent Trouble we enclose an exact Copy of the said two Resolutions marked No. 1.

The Provincial Congress appointed a Committee to receive proposals of Contracts for Supplying the said Troops which Committee caused the Rations and other Necessaries to be Supplied, to be published in the New York Newspapers; and agreeable to their Advertisements received all proposals offered for that purpose, Sealed up, to prevent Collusion as far as possible.

After every care and precaution taken, the Provincial Congress on the fifteenth of March Accepted of the proposals of Mr. Abraham Livingston for Supplying the said Troops, his being the most reasonable that were offered, and in the Sixteenth the Contract was perfected and executed by five Gentlemen from different Counties, on behalf of the Provincial Congress, pursuant to the resolution above mentioned, and by Mr. Abraham Livingston.

We inclose you a Copy of the Contract No. 2. and therefore need not repeat its Contents.

Mr. Livingston has by Bond given sufficient Sureties in the sum of £30,000 to perform his Contract and the Provincial Congress have agreed to advance him £5000 and to pay him £5000 at the Expiration of every month if the Support of the Troops by him Supplied shall amount to that sum.

In pursuance of those Agreements Mr. Livingston has purchased provisions to every large amount. The Provincial Congress were induced to make the said Contract not only because it was the most reasonable Terms then in their Power. but Considering the risqué and Expence of Transportation, should any force Obstruct the Navigation between this City and Kings County, or between the City and the High Lands, the Contract would be highly advantageous to the Continent.

Yesterday we saw a Resolution of Congress. “That Carpenter Wharton, Commissary, continued agreeable to his Contract to Supply with Nations the Pennsylvania Battalions Serving, in New York" and

Page 2

"New York Committee of Safety to John Hancock, 26 March 1776, pg 2." Image from The Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789.

and were favoured with a Letter from Mr. Duane recommending him as Contractor for the Requirements raised in this Colony on the same Terms he is allowed for the Pennsylvania Battalions.

We are Sorry that it is now out of our Power to Contract with that Gentleman. Even should he be willing to Supply the Troops raised here on the same Terms he does the others.

The Provincial Congress of New York were not only directed “to Contract for the Troops employed for the defence of that Colony” but the method directed appeared the most eligible, as the larger the Contract offered, the more Reasonable Terms were to be expected, and could be afforded.

hould Congress determine to Supercede what has been done in this Colony, as far as it relates to the Pennsylvania Battalions; we will endeavor to make the best Terms we can with Mr. Livingston as to that part of his Contract in and inclined to believe he will not take any unreasonable advantages of the Gentlemen bound to him in the Contract, or of the public.

Whatever further directions Congress may think proper in their Wisdom to give in the promises we would wish to receive with all convenient Speed.

We have the Honor to be
most respectfully


Your most Obedient humble Servants
By Order.
William Paulding. Chairman

To the Honorable John Hancock

Page 3

"New York Committee of Safety to John Hancock, 26 March 1776, pg 3." Image from The Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789.

On the service of the united colonies
The Honble. John Hancock Esq
Presidt. of the Continental Congress

Letter from the Convention of New York March 26. 1776.
Read 29.

Referred to Mr. Wythe
Mr. Harrison
Mr. Adams


  1. Jefferson's Second Father by John Bailey