At the first meeting of the New York State Society of the Cincinnati, a group of officers of the New York Regiments of Infantry gathered on June 9, 1783 at the Cantonment on the Hudson River, near New Windsor, New York, and adopted the following resolution: "Resolved, that as the officers of the New York line are on the point of separating, and will not have an opportunity of meeting for the election of officers of the State Society of the Cincinnati, Lieutenant-Colonel Benjamin Walker be directed to collect the ballots of the members present, and to request the officers of the artillery to send him their ballots as soon as possible, and that when the whole are collected, he do call in the assistance of any two officers who may be present to count the said ballots, and declare the election."
In pursuance of this resolution, on the 5th of July, 1783, Lt-Col. Benjamin Walker, Capt. Israel Smith, and Capt. Caleb Brewster, having met, counted the ballots for officers of the New York State Society , and declared and certified the Election to have fallen on: Major-General McDougall, President; His Excellency Governor Clinton, Brigadier-General, Vice President; Lieutenant-Colonel Walker, Secretary; Colonel Cortlandt, Treasurer; Major Fish, Assistant Treasurer.
The General Society established “Immutable Principles” which formed the basis of the New York Society and provided a guide for the state constituency organizations. It reads as follows:
“AN INCESSANT ATTENTION TO PRESERVE INVIOLATE THOSE EXALTED RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES OF HUMAN NATURE, FOR WHICH THEY HAVE FOUGHT AND BLED, AND WITHOUT WHICH THE HIGH RANK OF A RATIONAL BEING IS A CURSE INSTEAD OF A BLESSING.
AN UNALTERABLE DETERMINATION TO PROMOTE AND CHERISH, BETWEEN THE RESPECTIVE STATES, THAT UNION AND NATIONAL HONOR SO ESSENTIALLY NECESSARY TO THEIR HAPPINESS, AND THE FUTURE DIGNITY OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE. TO RENDER PERMANENT THE CORDIAL AFFECTION SUBSISTING AMONG THE OFFICERS. THIS SPIRIT WILL DICTATE BROTHERLY KINDNESS IN ALL THINGS, AND PARTICULARLY EXTEND TO THE MOST SUBSTANTIAL BENEFICENCE, ACCORDING TO THE ABILITY OF THE SOCIETY, TOWARDS THOSE OFFICERS AND THEIR FAMILIES, WHO UNFORTUNATELY MAY BE UNDER THE NBECESSITY OF RECEIVING IT.”
The New York State Society, like the other State Societies, followed maxims of the General Society including: (a) send an annual (or more frequent) circular with any observations worth discussing to the other state societies, (b) each officer shall deliver one month’s pay to the state society to assist the unfortunate, (c) subscribe monies for the relief of their unfortunate members and (d) name men eminent for their ability and Patriotism as honorary members for their lifetime. To become a member, the officer had to have three years of service, served until the end of the war, or had been deranged (declared no longer needed by Congress). Also eligible were the eldest male branches or children of officers who had died in service during the war.