Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THE COMMITTEE OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK. 1 - The Writings of George Washington, vol. IV (1776)
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TO THE COMMITTEE OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK. 1 - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. IV (1776) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1889). Vol. IV (1776).
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TO THE COMMITTEE OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK.1
Head-Quarters,New York, 19 July, 1776.
I enclose you a copy of a resolution of the Convention of the State of New York, dated the 16th instant, recommending it to all the general and subcommittees, to apprehend and secure all those persons, whose going at large at this critical time, they may deem dangerous to the safety of the State. As this city is hourly threatened with an attack from a powerful enemy, and as there is too much reason to apprehend from their vicinity to this city, and from the number of suspicious characters still in it, that they may receive intelligence, which may counteract all my operations for its defence, I strongly recommend it to you, to remove, for some time, all equivocal and suspicious characters. This appears to me to be the spirit of the resolution of the Provincial Convention; and the propriety of it is founded on the law of self-preservation, and confirmed by the practice of all nations in a state of war.
I esteem it my duty to add my recommendation to that of the Convention, that if, through an ill-timed lenity, my attempts to secure this province should be baffled, the blame of it may not be imputed to my want of vigilance. I have enclosed a list of persons represented as dangerous. As I can only speak from information, I must rely upon your taking proper steps with them; unless, from your better knowledge, you determine them to be of different characters from that represented. I am, Gentlemen, &c.1
[1 ]The Convention was now sitting at White Plains. The following resolution was passed on the 15th, and transmitted to General Washington: “Resolved unanimously, that it is the opinion of this Convention, that, if his Excellency General Washington should think it expedient for the preservation of this State, and the general interest of America, to abandon the city of New York and withdraw the troops to the north side of Kingsbridge, this Congress will cheerfully coöperate with him in every measure, that may be necessary for that purpose.” In acknowledging it he wrote, July 17th: “Your letter of the 15th instant, covering the resolution of the same date, was duly received, which I beg leave to say was noble, and does honor to your respectable body. It likewise adds a farther proof of your determination to afford me all possible assistance, in discharging the important duties of my office. It is impossible to say what may be necessary, but I shall conduct myself as the exigences of the case may require, and I doubt not your cheerful aid and assistance will be rendered whenever called for.”
[1 ]Great vigilance was used in taking up disaffected persons, and such as gave indications of going over to the enemy. General Greene, who was stationed on Long Island, gave the following humorous account of an adventure of this sort under his command: “I have examined the prisoners, and find them to be a poor parcel of ignorant, cowardly fellows. Two are tailors, and the other two common laborers. They candidly confess, that they set off with an intention of going to Staten Island; not with any intention of joining the enemy, but only to get out of the way of fighting here. There has been a draft amongst the militia to fill the new levies, and it was rumored that these persons were drawn. It was also reported, that they were to go to the northern army, and that almost all that went there either died or were killed. The prospect was so shocking to them, and to their grandmothers and aunts, that I believe they were persuaded to run away. Never did I see fellows more frightened. They wept like children, and appeared exceeding sorrowful. I beg your Excellency’s direction how to dispose of them. They do not appear to be acquainted with one public matter. They have been toryish; I fancy not from principle, but from its being the prevailing sentiment in the county.”