Memoir, Correspondence, And Miscellanies, From The Papers Of Thomas Jefferson - Volume I
by Thomas Jefferson
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Houdon has returned. He called on me, the other day, to remonstrate against the inscription proposed for General Washington's statue. He says it is too long to be put on the pedestal. I told him, I was not at liberty to permit any alteration, but I would represent his objection to a friend, who could judge of its validity, and whether a change could be authorized. This has been the subject of conversations here, and various devices and inscriptions have been suggested. The one which has appeared best to me, may be translated as follows: 'Behold, Reader, the form of George Washington. For his worth, ask History; that will tell it, when this stone shall have yielded to the decays of time. His country erects this monument.' Houdon makes it.'This for one side. On the second, represent the evacuation of Boston, with the motto, 'Hostibus primum fugatis.' On the third, the capture of the Hessians, with 'Hostibus iterum devictis.' On the fourth, the surrender of York, with 'Hostibus ultimum debellatis.' This is seizing the three most brilliant actions of his military life. By giving out, here, a wish of receiving mottos for this statue, we might have thousands offered, from which still better might be chosen. The artist made the same objection, of length, to the inscription for the bust of the Marquis de la Fayette. An alteration of that might come in time still, if an alteration was wished. However, I am not certain that it is desirable in either case. The State of Georgia has given twenty thousand acres of land, to the Count d'Estaing. This gift is considered here as very honorable to him, and it has gratified him much. I am persuaded, that a gift of lands by the State of Virginia to the Marquis de la Fayette, would give a good opinion here of our character, and would reflect honor on the Marquis. Nor am I sure that the day will not come, when it might be an useful asylum to him. The time of life at which he visited America was too well adapted to receive good and lasting impressions, to permit him ever to accommodate himself to the principles of monarchical government; and it will need all his own prudence, and that of his friends, to make this country a safe residence for him. How glorious, how comfortable in reflection, will it be, to have prepared a refuge for him in case of a reverse. In the mean time, he could settle it with tenants from the freest part of this country, Bretaigne. I have never suggested the smallest idea of this kind to him: because the execution of it should convey the first notice. If the State has not a right to give him lands with their own officers, they could buy up, at cheap prices, the shares of others. I am not certain, however, whether, in the public or private opinion, a similar gift to Count Rochambeau could be dispensed with. If the State could give to both, it would be better: but, in any event, I think they should to the Marquis. Count Rochambeau, too, has really deserved more attention than he has received. Why not set up his bust, that of Gates, Greene, Franklin, in your new capitol? A propos of the capital. Do, my dear friend, exert yourself to get the plan begun on set aside, and that adopted, which was drawn here. It was taken from a model which has been the admiration of sixteen centuries; which has been the object of as many pilgrimages as the tomb of Mahomet; which will give unrivalled honor to our State, and furnish a model whereon to form the taste of our young men. It will cost much less too, than the one begun; because it does not cover one half of the area. Ask, if you please, a sight of my letter of January the 26th, to Messrs. Buchanan and Hay, which will spare me the repeating its substance here.

Every thing is quiet in Europe. I recollect but one new invention in the arts which is worth mentioning. It is a mixture of the arts of engraving and printing, rendering both cheaper. Write or draw any thing on a plate of brass, with the ink of the inventor, and, in half an hour, he gives you engraved copies of it, so perfectly like the original, that they could not be suspected to be copies. His types for printing a whole page, are all in one solid piece. An author, therefore, only prints a few copies of his work, from time to time, as they are called for. This saves the loss of printing more copies than may possibly be sold, and prevents an edition from being ever exhausted.

I am, with a lively esteem, Dear Sir,

your sincere friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.



Paris, February 9, 1786.

Dear Sir,

The Mr. John Ledyard, who proposes to undertake the journey through the northern parts of Asia and America, is a citizen of Connecticut, one of the United States of America. He accompanied Captain Cook in his last voyage to the northwestern parts of America, and rendered himself useful to that officer, on some occasions, by a spirit of enterprise which has distinguished his whole life. He has genius, and education better than the common, and a talent for useful and interesting observation. I believe him to be an honest man, and a man of truth. To all this, he adds just as much singularity of character, and of that particular kind too, as was necessary to make him undertake the journey he proposes. Should he get safe through it, I think he will give an interesting account of what he shall have seen.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of sincere esteem and respect, Dear Sir,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



Paris, February 20, 1786.


I have been honored with your letter, and the books which accompanied it, for which I return you my hearty thanks. America cannot but be flattered with the choice of the subject, on which you are at present employing your pen. The memory of the American Revolution will be immortal, and will immortalize those who record it. The reward is encouraging, and will justify all those pains, which a rigorous investigation of facts will render necessary. Many important facts, which preceded the commencement of hostilities, took place in England. These may mostly be obtained from good publications in that country. Some took place in this country. They will be probably hidden from the present age. But America is the field where the greatest mass of important events were transacted, and where, alone, they can now be collected. I therefore much applaud your idea of going to that country, for the verification of the facts you mean to record. Every man there can tell you more than any man here, who has not been there: and the very ground itself will give you new insight into some of the most interesting transactions. If I can be of service to you, in promoting your object there, I offer myself freely to your use. I shall be flattered by the honor of your visit here, at any time. I am seldom from home before noon; but if any later hour should suit you better, I will take care to be at home, at any hour and day, you will be pleased to indicate.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, Sir,

your most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



Paris, February 28,1786.


Circumstances of public duty calling me suddenly to London, I take the liberty of mentioning it to your Excellency, and of asking a few minutes' audience of you, at as early a day and hour as will be convenient to you, and that you will be so good as to indicate them to me. I would wish to leave Paris about Friday or Saturday, and suppose that my stay in London will be of about three weeks. I shall be happy to be the bearer of any commands your Excellency may have for that place, and will faithfully execute them. I cannot omit mentioning, how pleasing it would be to me to be enabled, before my departure, to convey to the American prisoners at St. Pol de Leon such mitigation of their fate, as may be thought admissible.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the highest respect and esteem, your Excellency's

most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



Paris, March 8, 1786.


His Excellency, Count de Vergennes, having been pleased to say that he would give orders at Calais, for the admission of certain articles which I wish to bring with me from England, I have thought it best to give a description of them, before my departure. They will be as follows:

1. A set of table furniture, consisting of China, silver, and plated ware, distributed into three or four boxes or canteens, for the convenience of removing them.

2. A box containing small tools for wooden and iron work, for my own amusement.

3. A box, probably, of books.

4. I expect to bring with me a riding horse, saddle, &c.

The mathematical instruments will probably be so light that I may bring them in my carriage, in which case, I presume they will pass with my baggage, under the authority of the passport for my person. If these orders can be made out in time, I would willingly be the bearer of them myself.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect esteem and respect, Sir, ,

your most obedient servant,

Th: Jefferson.



London, March 12, 1786.


The date of a letter from London will doubtless be as unexpected to you as it was unforeseen by myself, a few days ago. On the 27th of the last month, Colonel Smith arrived in Paris, with a letter from Mr. Adams, informing me that there was at this place a minister from Tripoli, having general powers to enter into treaties on behalf of his State, and with whom it was possible we might do something, under our commission to that power: and that he gave reason to believe, he could also make arrangements with us, for Tunis. He further added, that the minister of Portugal here had received ultimate instructions from his court, and that, probably, that treaty might be concluded in the space of three weeks, were we all on the spot together. He, therefore, pressed me to come over immediately. The first of these objects had some weight on my mind, because, as we had sent no person to Tripoli or Tunis, I thought if we could meet a minister from them on this ground, our arrangements would be settled much sooner, and at less expense. But what principally decided me, was, the desire of bringing matters to a conclusion with Portugal, before the term of our commissions should expire, or any new turn in the negotiations of France and England should abate their willingness to fix a connection with us. A third motive had also its weight. I hoped that my attendance here, and the necessity of shortening it, might be made use of to force a decisive answer from this court. I therefore concluded to comply with Mr. Adams's request. I went immediately to Versailles, and apprized the Count de Vergennes, that circumstances of public duty called me hither for three or four weeks, arranged with him some matters, and set out with Colonel Smith for this place, where we arrived last night, which was as early as the excessive rigor of the weather admitted. I saw Mr. Adams immediately, and again to-day. He informs me, that the minister of Portugal was taken ill five or six days ago, has been very much so, but is now somewhat better. It would be very mortifying, indeed, should this accident, with the shortness of the term to which I limit my stay here, defeat what was the principal object of my journey, and that, without which, I should hardly have undertaken it. With respect to this country, I had no doubt but that every consideration had been urged by Mr. Adams, which was proper to be urged. Nothing remains undone in this way. But we shall avail ourselves of my journey here, as if made on purpose, just before the expiration of our commission, to form our report to Congress on the execution of that commission, which report, they may be given to know, cannot be formed without decisive information of the ultimate determination of their court. There is no doubt what that determination will be: but it will be useful to have it; as it may put an end to all further expectations on our side the water, and show that the time is come for doing whatever is to be done by us, for counteracting the unjust and greedy designs of this country. We shall have the honor, before I leave this place, to inform you of the result of the several matters which have brought me to it.

A day or two before my departure from Paris, I received your letter of January———. The question therein proposed, How far France considers herself as bound to insist on the delivery of the posts, would infallibly produce another, How far we consider ourselves as guarantees of their American possessions, and bound to enter into any future war, in which these may be attacked? The words of the treaty of alliance seem to be without ambiguity on either head, yet, I should be afraid to commit Congress, by answering without authority. I will endeavor, on my return, to sound the opinion of the minister, if possible, without exposing myself to the other question. Should any thing forcible be meditated on these posts, it would possibly be thought prudent, previously to ask the good offices of France, to obtain their delivery. In this case, they would probably say, we must first execute the treaty, on our part, by repealing all acts which have contravened it. Now this measure, if there be any candor in the court of London, would suffice to obtain a delivery of the posts from them, without the mediation of any third power. However, if this mediation should be finally needed, I see no reason to doubt our obtaining it, and still less to question its omnipotent influence on the British court.

I have the honor to be, with the highest respect and esteem, Sir, your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



London, March 14, 1786.

Dear Sir,

I have been honoured with your letter, in which you mention to me your intention of returning to America in the April packet. It is with sincere concern that I meet this event, as it deprives me not only of your aid in the office in which we have been joined, but also of your society, which has been to me a source of the greatest satisfaction. I think myself bound to return you my thanks for it, and, at the same time, to bear testimony, that in the discharge of the office of Secretary of Legation to the several commissions, you have fulfilled all its duties with readiness, propriety, and fidelity. I sincerely wish, that on your return, our country may avail itself of your talents in the public service, and that you may be willing so to employ them. You carry with you my wishes for your prosperity, and a desire of being instrumental to it: and I hope, that in every situation in which we may be placed, you will freely command and count on my services. I will beg to be favored with your letters, whenever it is convenient. You have seen our want of intelligence here, and well know the nature of that which will be useful or agreeable. I fear I shall have little interesting to give you in return; but such news as my situation affords, you shall be sure to receive. I pray you to be the bearer of the enclosed letter to Mr. Jay, to accept my wishes for a favorable passage, a happy meeting with your friends, and for every future felicity which this life can afford, being with the greatest esteem, Dear Sir,

your sincere friend

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



Kaskaskias, Illinois, April 29,1779.

Dear Sir,

A few days ago, I received certain intelligence of William Morris, my express to you, being killed near the falls of Ohio, news truly disagreeable to me, as I fear many of my letters will fall into the hands of the enemy, at Detroit, although some of them, as I learn, were found in the woods torn in pieces. I do not doubt but before the receipt of this, you will have heard of my late success against Governor Hamilton, at post St. Vincenne. That gentleman, with a body of men, possessed himself of that post on the 15th of December last, repaired the fortifications for a repository, and in the spring, meant to attack this place, which he made no doubt of carrying; where he was to be joined by two hundred Indians from Michilimackinac, and five hundred Cherokees, Chickasaws, and other nations. With this body, he was to penetrate up the Ohio to Fort Pitt, sweeping Kentucky on his way, having light brass cannon for the purpose, joined on his march by all the Indians that could be got to him. He made no doubt, that he could force all West Augusta. This expedition was ordered by the commander in chief of Canada. Destruction seemed to hover over us from every quarter; detached parties of the enemy were in the neighborhood every day, but afraid to attack. I ordered Major Bowman to evacuate the fort at the Cohas, and join me immediately, which he did. Having not received a scrape of a pen from you, for near twelve months, I could see but little probability of keeping possession of the country, as my number of men was too small to stand a siege, and my situation too remote to call for assistance. I made all the preparations I possibly could for the attack, and was necessitated to set fire to some of the houses in town, to clear them out of the way. But in the height of the hurry, a Spanish merchant, who had been at St. Vincenne, arrived, and gave the following intelligence: that Mr. Hamilton had weakened himself, by sending his Indians against the frontiers, and to block up the Ohio; that he had not more than eighty men in garrison, three pieces of cannon, and some swivels mounted; and that he intended to attack this place, as soon as the winter opened, and made no doubt of clearing the western waters by the fall. My situation and circumstances induced me to fall on the resolution of attacking him, before he could collect his Indians again. I was sensible the resolution was as desperate as my situation, but I saw no other probability of securing the country. I immediately despatched a small galley, which I had fitted up, mounting two four-pounders and four swivels, with a company of men and necessary stores on board, with orders to force her way, if possible, and station herself a few miles below the enemy, suffer nothing to pass her, and wait for further orders. In the mean time, I marched across the country with one hundred and thirty men, being all I could raise, after leaving this place garrisoned by the militia. The inhabitants of the country behaved exceedingly well, numbers of young men turned out on the expedition, and every other one embodied to guard the different towns. I marched the 7th of February. Although so small a body, it took me sixteen days on the route. The inclemency of the season, high waters, &c. seemed to threaten the loss of the expedition. When within three leagues of the enemy, in a direct line, it took us five days to cross the drowned lands of the Wabash river, having to wade often upwards of two leagues, to our breast in water. Had not the weather been warm, we must have perished. But on the evening of the 23rd, we got on dry land, in sight of the enemy; and at seven o'clock, made the attack, before they knew any thing of us. The town immediately surrendered with joy, and assisted in the siege. There was a continual fire on both sides, for eighteen hours. I had no expectation of gaining the fort until the arrival of my artillery. The moon setting about one o'clock, I had an entrenchment thrown up within rifle-shot of their strongest battery, and poured such showers of well directed balls into their ports, that we silenced two pieces of cannon in fifteen minutes, without getting a man hurt.

Governor Hamilton and myself had, on the following day, several conferences, but did not agree until the evening, when he agreed to surrender the garrison (seventy-nine in number) prisoners of war, with considerable stores. I got only one man wounded; not being able to lose many, I made them secure themselves well. Seven were badly wounded in the fort, through ports. In the height of this action, an Indian party that had been to war, and taken two prisoners, came in, not knowing of us. Hearing of them, I despatched a party to give them battle in the commons, and got nine of them, with the two prisoners, who proved to be Frenchmen. Hearing of a convoy of goods from Detroit, I sent a party of sixty men, in armed boats well mounted with swivels, to meet them, before they could receive any intelligence. They met the convoy forty leagues up the river, and made a prize of the whole, taking forty prisoners, and about ten thousand pounds' worth of goods and provisions; also the mail from Canada to Governor Hamilton, containing, however, no news of importance. But what crowned the general joy, was the arrival of William Morris, my express to you, with your letters, which gave general satisfaction. The soldiery, being made sensible of the gratitude of their country for their services, were so much elated, that they would have attempted the reduction of Detroit, had I ordered them. Having more prisoners than I knew what to do with, I was obliged to discharge a greater part of them on parole. Mr. Hamilton, his principal officers, and a few soldiers, I have sent to Kentucky, under convoy of Captain Williams, in order to be conducted to you. After despatching Morris with letters to you, treating with the neighboring Indians, &c, I returned to this place, leaving a sufficient garrison at St. Vincenne.

During my absence, Captain Robert George, who now commands the company formerly commanded by Captain Willing, had returned from New Orleans, which greatly added to our strength. It gave great satisfaction to the inhabitants, when acquainted with the protection which was given them, the alliance with France, &c. I am impatient for the arrival of Colonel Montgomery, but have heard nothing of him lately. By your instructions to me, I find you put no confidence in General M'Intosh's taking Detroit, as you encourage me to attempt it, if possible. It has been twice in my power. Had I been able to raise only five hundred men when I first arrived in the country, or when I was at St. Vincenne, could I have secured my prisoners, and only have had three hundred good men, I should have attempted it, and since learn there could have been no doubt of success, as by some gentlemen, lately from that post, we are informed that the town and country kept three days in feasting and diversions on hearing of my success against Mr. Hamilton, and were so certain of my embracing the fair opportunity of possessing myself of that post, that the merchants and others provided many necessaries for us on our arrival; the garrison, consisting of only eighty men, not daring to stop their diversions. They are now completing a new fort, and I fear too strong for any force I shall ever be able to raise in this country. We are proud to hear Congress intends putting their forces on the frontiers, under your direction. A small army from Pittsburg, conducted with spirit, may easily take Detroit, and put an end to the Indian war. Those Indians who are active against us, are the Six Nations, part of the Shawnese, the Meamonies, and about half the Chesaweys, Ottawas, Jowaas, and Pottawatimas nations, bordering on the lakes. Those nations, who have treated with me, have behaved since very well, to wit, the Peankishaws, Kiccapoos, Orcaottenans of the Wabash river, the Kaskias, Perrians, Mechigamies, Foxes, Sacks, Opays, Illinois, and Poues, nations of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. Part of the Chesaweys have also treated, and are peaceable. I continually keep agents among them, to watch their motions and keep them peaceably inclined. Many of the Cherokees, Chickasaws, and their confederates, are, I fear, ill disposed. It would be well if Colonel Montgomery should give them a dressing, as he comes down the Tennessee. There can be no peace expected from many nations, while the English are at Detroit. I strongly suspect they will turn their arms against the Illinois, as they will be encouraged. I shall always be on my guard, watching every opportunity to take the advantage of the enemy, and, if I am ever able to muster six or seven hundred men, I shall give them a shorter distance to come and fight me, than at this place.

There is one circumstance very distressing, that of our money's being discredited, to all intents and purposes, by the great number of traders who come here in my absence, each outbidding the other, giving prices unknown in this country by five hundred per cent., by which the people conceived it to be of no value, and both French and Spaniards refused to take a farthing of it. Provision is three times the price it was two months past, and to be got by no other means than my own bonds, goods, or force. Several merchants are now advancing considerable sums of their own property, rather than the service should suffer, by which I am sensible they must lose greatly, unless some method is taken to raise the credit of our coin, or a fund be sent to Orleans, for the payment of the expenses of this place, which should at once reduce the price of every species of provision; money being of little service to them, unless it would pass at the ports they trade at. I mentioned to you, my drawing some bills on Mr. Pollock in New Orleans, as I had no money with me. He would accept the bills, but had not money to pay them off, though the sums were trifling; so that we have little credit to expect from that quarter. I shall take every step I possibly can, for laying up a sufficient quantity of provisions, and hope you will immediately send me an express with your instructions. Public expenses in this country have hitherto been very low, and may still continue so, if a correspondence is fixed at New Orleans for payment of expenses in this country, or gold and silver sent. I am glad to hear of Colonel Todd's appointment. I think government has taken the only step they could have done, to make this country flourish, and be of service to them. No other regulation would have suited the people. The last account I had of Colonel Rogers, was his being in New Orleans, with six of his men. The rest he left at the Spanish Ozack, above the Natches. I shall immediately send him some provisions, as I learn he is in great want. I doubt he will not be able to get his goods up the river except in Spanish bottoms. One regiment would be able to clear the Mississippi, and to do great damage to the British interest in Florida, and by properly conducting themselves might perhaps gain the affection of the people, so as to raise a sufficient force to give a shock to Pensacola. Our alliance with France has entirely devoted this people to our interest. I have sent several copies of the articles to Detroit, and do not doubt but they will produce the desired effect. Your instructions, I shall pay implicit regard to, and hope to conduct myself in such a manner as to do honor to my country.

I am, with the greatest respect,

your humble servant,

G. R. Clarke.

P. S. I understand there is a considerable quantity of cannon ball at Pittsburg. We are much in want of four and six pound ball. I hope you will immediately order some down.

IN COUNCIL, June 18, 1779

The board proceeded to the consideration of the letters of Colonel Clarke, and other papers relating to Henry Hamilton, Esq. who has acted for some years past as Lieutenant Governor of the settlement at and about Detroit, and commandant of the British garrison there, under Sir Guy Carleton, as Governor in chief; Philip Dejean, justice of the peace for Detroit, and William Lamothe, captain of volunteers, prisoners of war, taken in the county of Illinois.

They find, that Governor Hamilton has executed the task of inciting the Indians to perpetrate their accustomed cruelties on the citizens of the United States, without distinction of age, sex, or condition, with an eagerness and avidity which evince, that the general nature of his charge harmonized with his particular disposition. They should have been satisfied, from the other testimony adduced, that these enormities were committed by savages acting under his commission, but the number of proclamations, which, at different times, were left in houses, the inhabitants of which were killed or carried away by the Indians, one of which proclamations is in possession of the board, under the hand and seal of Governor Hamilton, puts this fact beyond a doubt. At the time of his captivity, it appears, he had sent considerable bodies of Indians against the frontier settlements of these States, and had actually appointed a great council of Indians, to meet him at Tennessee, to concert the operations of this present campaign. They find that his treatment of our citizens and soldiers, taken and carried within the limits of his command, has been cruel and inhuman; that in the case of John Dodge, a citizen of these States, which has been particularly stated to this board, he loaded him with irons, threw him into a dungeon, without bedding, without straw, without fire, in the dead of winter and severe climate of Detroit; that, in that state, he wasted him with incessant expectations of death: that when the rigors of his situation had brought him so low, that death seemed likely to withdraw him from their power, he was taken out and somewhat attended to, until a little mended, and before he had recovered ability to walk, was again returned to his dungeon, in which a hole was cut, seven inches square only for the admission of air, and the same load of irons again put on him: that appearing, a second time, in imminent danger of being lost to them, he was again taken from his dungeon, in which he had lain from January till June, with the intermission of a few weeks only, before mentioned. That Governor Hamilton gave standing rewards for scalps, but offered none for prisoners, which induced the Indians, after making their captives carry their baggage into the neighborhood of the fort, there to put them to death, and carry in their scalps to the Governor, who welcomed their return and success by a discharge of cannon. That when a prisoner, brought alive, and destined to death by the Indians, the fire already kindled, and himself bound to the stake, was dexterously withdrawn, and secreted from them by the humanity of a fellow prisoner, a large reward was offered for the discovery of the victim, which having tempted a servant to betray his concealment, the present prisoner Dejean, being sent with a party of soldiers, surrounded the house, took and threw into jail the unhappy victim and his deliverer, where the former soon expired under the perpetual assurances of Dejean, that he was to be again restored into the hands of the savages, and the latter when enlarged, was bitterly reprimanded by Governor Hamilton.

It appears to them, that the prisoner Dejean was, on all occasions, the willing and cordial instrument of Governor Hamilton, acting both as judge and keeper of the jails, and instigating and urging him, by malicious insinuations and untruths, to increase, rather than relax his severities, heightening the cruelty of his orders by his manner of executing them, offering at one time a reward to one man to be hangman for another, threatening his life on refusal, and taking from his prisoners the little property their opportunities enabled them to acquire.

It appears, that the prisoner Lamothe, was a captain of the volunteer scalping parties of Indians and whites, who went, from time to time, under general orders to spare neither men, women, nor children. From this detail of circumstances, which arose in a few cases only, coming accidentally to the knowledge of the board, they think themselves authorized by fair deduction, to presume what would be the horrid history of the sufferings of the many, who have expired under their miseries (which, therefore, will remain for ever untold), or who have escaped from them, and are yet too remote and too much dispersed, to bring together their well founded accusations against the prisoners.

They have seen that the conduct of the British officers, civil and military, has in the whole course of this war, been savage, and unprecedented among civilized nations; that our officers taken by them, have been confined in crowded jails, loathsome dungeons, and prison-ships, loaded with irons, supplied often with no food, generally with too little for the sustenance of nature, and that little sometimes unsound and unwholesome, whereby such numbers have perished, that captivity and death have with them been almost synonymous; that they have been transported beyond seas, where their fate is out of the reach of our inquiry, have been compelled to take arms against their country, and, by a refinement in cruelty, to become murderers of their own brethren.

Their prisoners with us have, on the other hand, been treated with humanity and moderation; they have been fed, on all occasions, with wholesome and plentiful food, suffered to go at large within extensive tracts of country, treated with liberal hospitality, permitted to live in the families of our citizens, to labor for themselves, to acquire and enjoy profits, and finally to participate of the principal benefits of society, privileged from all burdens.

Reviewing this contrast, which cannot be denied by our enemies themselves, in a single point, and which has now been kept up during four years of unremitting war, a term long enough to produce well-founded despair that our moderation may ever lead them to the practice of humanity; called on by that justice we owe to those who are fighting the battles of our country, to deal out, at length, miseries to their enemies, measure for measure, and to distress the feelings of mankind by exhibiting to them spectacles of severe retaliation, where we had long and vainly endeavored to introduce an emulation in kindness; happily possessed, by the fortune of war, of some of those very individuals who, having distinguished themselves personally in this line of cruel conduct, are fit subjects to begin on, with the work of retaliation; this board has resolved to advise the Governor, that the said Henry Hamilton, Philip Dejean and William Lamothe, prisoners of war, be put into irons, confined in the dungeon of the public jail, debarred the use of pen, ink, and paper, and excluded all converse, except with their keeper. And the Governor orders accordingly.

Arch. Blair, C. C.

[NOTE B]—IN COUNCIL, September 29, 1779.

The board having been, at no time, unmindful of the circumstances attending the confinement of Lieutenant Governor Hamilton, Captain Lamothe, and Philip Dejean, which the personal cruelties of those men, as well as the general conduct of the enemy, had constrained them to advise: wishing, and willing to expect, that their sufferings may lead them to the practice of humanity, should any future turn of fortune, in their favor, submit to their discretion the fate of their fellow creatures; that it may prove an admonition to others, meditating like cruelties, not to rely for impunity in any circumstances of distance or present security; and that it may induce the enemy to reflect, what must be the painful consequences, should a continuation of the same conduct on their part impel us again to severities, while such multiplied subjects of retaliation are within our power: sensible that no impression can be made on the event of the war, by wreaking vengeance on miserable captives; that the great cause which has animated the two nations against each other, is not to be decided by unmanly cruelties on wretches, who have bowed their necks to the power of the victor, but by the exercise of honorable valor in the field: earnestly hoping that the enemy, viewing the subject in the same light, will be content to abide the event of that mode of decision, and spare us the pain of a second departure from kindness to our captives: confident that commiseration to our prisoners is the only possible motive, to which can be candidly ascribed, in the present actual circumstances of the war, the advice we are now about to give; the board does advise the Governor to send Lieutenant Governor Hamilton, Captain Lamothe, and Philip Dejean, to Hanover court house, there to remain at large, within certain reasonable limits, taking their parole in the usual manner. The Governor orders accordingly.

Arch. Blair, C. C.

Ordered, that Major John Hay be sent, also, under parole to the same place.

Arch. Blair, C. C.

[NOTE C]—IN COUNCIL, October 8, 1779.

The Governor is advised to take proper and effectual measures for knowing, from time to time, the situation and treatment of our prisoners by the enemy, and to extend to theirs, with us a like treatment, in every circumstance; and, also, to order to a proper station, the prison-ship fitted up on recommendation from Congress from the reception and confinement of such prisoners of war, as shall be sent to it.

Arch. Blair, C. C.


[After letter XVII. in the MS. is inserted the following memorandum.]

Female Contributions, in aid of the War, probably in 1780.

Mrs. Sarah Gary, of Scotchtown, a watch-chain, cost L7 sterling.

Mrs.——— Ambler, five gold rings.

Mrs. Rebecca Ambler, three gold rings.

Mrs.————— Nicholas, a diamond drop.

Mrs. Griffin, of Dover, ten half joes.

Mrs. Gilmer, five guineas.

Mrs. Anne Ramsay (for Fairfax), one half joe, three guineas, three pistereens, one bit.

Do. for do. paper money, bundle No. 1, twenty thousand dollars, No. 2, twenty-seven thousand dollars, No. 3, fifteen thousand dollars, No. 4, thirteen thousand five hundred and eighteen dollars and one third.

Mrs. Lewis (for Albemarle), L1559 8s. paper money,

Mrs. Weldon, L39 18s. new, instead of L1600, old paper money,

Mrs. Blackburn (for Prince William), seven thousand five hundred and six dollars, paper money.

Mrs. Randolph, the younger, of Chatsworth, eight hundred dollars.

Mrs. Fitzhugh and others, L558.


Lord Cornwallis's Letter to Lieutenant Colonel Nisbet Balfour, Commander at Ninety Six.

I have the happiness to inform you, that on Wednesday the 16th instant, I totally defeated General Gates's army. One thousand were killed and wounded, about eight hundred taken prisoners. We are in possession of eight pieces of brass cannon, all they had in the field, all their ammunition wagons, a great number of arms, and one hundred and thirty baggage wagons: in short, there never was a more complete victory. I have written to Lieutenant Colonel Turnbull, whom I sent to join Major Johnson on Little river, to push on after General Sumpter to the Wax-haws, whose detachment is the only collected force of rebels in all this country. Colonel Tarleton is in pursuit of Sumpter. Our loss is about three hundred killed and wounded, chiefly of the thirty-third regiment and volunteers, of Ireland. I have given orders that all the inhabitants of this province, who have subscribed and taken part in this revolt, should be punished with the greatest rigor; also, that those who will not turn out, may be imprisoned, and their whole property taken from them, and destroyed. I have also ordered that satisfaction should be made for their estates, to those who have been injured and oppressed by them. I have ordered, in the most positive manner, that every militia man who has borne arms with us and afterwards joined the enemy, shall be immediately hanged. I desire you will take the most rigorous measure to punish the rebels in the district in which you command, and that you will obey, in the strictest manner, the directions I have given in this letter, relative to the inhabitants of this country.


August, 1780.



Portsmouth, Virginia, November 4, 1780.

My Lord,

I have been here near a week, establishing a post. I wrote to you to Charleston, and by another messenger, by land. I cannot hear, for a certainty, where you are: I wait your orders. The bearer is to be handsomely rewarded, if he brings me any note or mark from your Lordship.

A. L.


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