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I was this morning honored with your Excellency's letter of the 19th instant. When I transmitted the affidavits, &c., inclosed in my last, I was sensible of the delicacy entertained by your Excellency respecting your interference with the internal police of the French army ; but, as the persons concerned in the dispute were Americans, I should have had great reluctance in making the application to Count Rochambeau. I was in hopes, too, that the mere knowledge of your Excellency's having been applied to on the subject, would have induced the parties to have compromised the matter, which I still hope will be the case.
I very candidly confess I am of opinion with your Excellency, that nothing extraordinary is to be apprehended from the late accounts we have had of the collection of the enemy's forces at the Isle-aux-Noix and Oswego. And this sentiment I expressed to Lord Stirling, in the first communication I made to him of the intelligence I had received ; though I thought it my duty, as I mentioned to your Excellency, to order a part of the militia to be held in readiness. I learn, however, that the frontier inhabitants are much alarmed at those hostile appearances ; and I am therefore very apprehensive that, if any part of the troops on the northern and western frontiers were to be removed before the season is somewhat farther advanced, and thereby even the possibility of the enemy's visiting them with large parties be removed, it might create great uneasiness among them, and perhaps induce the more exposed to abandon their settlements, and remove into the interior parts of the State ; which would be exceedingly distressing to themselves, and injurious to the public. Indeed, if it might be consistent with your Excellency's views, I should conceive that the continuing of a small regular force to the northward during the winter, might be attended with good consequences, especially as they may be comfortably accommodated. I have the honor to be, with the highest respect and esteem,
Your Excellency's most obedient servant,
- George Clinton
- Correspondence of the American Revolution; Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, Volume III., Jared Sparks, 1853