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It gives me inexpressible concern, to have repeated information from the best authority, that the Committees of the different towns and districts, in your State, hire deserters from General Burgoyne's army, and employ them as substitutes, to excuse the personal service of the inhabitants.

I need, not enlarge upon the danger of substituting, as soldiers, men who have given a glaring proof of a treacherous disposition, and who are bound to us by no motives of attachment, instead of citizens, in whom the ties of country, kindred, and sometimes property, are so many securities for their fidelity.

The evils with which this measure is pregnant, are obvious; and of such a serious nature as make it necessary, not only to stop the further progress of it, but likewise to apply a retrospective remedy, and, if possible, to annul it, so far as it has been carried into effect.



In my opinion, it is neither consistent with the rules of war, nor politic. Nor can I think, that, because our enemies have committed an unjustifiable action, by enticing, and, in some instances, intimida

* Massachusetts.

ting, our men into their service, we ought to follow

their example.



I never gave any encouragement to enlisting Deserters. I have ever found them of the greatest injury to the service, by debauching our men; and I had therefore given positive orders, to all recruiting officers, not to enlist them upon any terms.

The Congress have since made an express resolve against it; and also against enlisting Prisoners. 1778.


It has been represented to me, that the Free Negroes who have served in this army, are very much dissatisfied at being discarded. As it is to be apprehended, that they may seek employ in the ministerial army, I have presumed to depart from this resolution respecting them, and have given license for their being enlisted.



The policy of our arming slaves is, in my opinion a moot point, unless the enemy set the example.



It is not my wish, that severity should be exercised, toward any whom the fortune of war has thrown, or shall throw, into our hands. On the contrary, it is my desire, that the utmost humanity should be shown them. I am convinced, that the latter has been the prevailing line of conduct to pris


There have been instances, in which some have met with less indulgence than could be wished, owing to refractory conduct and a disregard of parole. If there are other instances, in which a strict regard to propriety has not been observed, they have not come to my knowledge.



I advised the Council of Safety, to separate the Hessian prisoners from their officers, and canton them in the German counties. If proper pains are taken, to convince them, how preferable the situation of their countrymen, the inhabitants of those counties, is to theirs, I think they may be sent back in the spring, so fraught with a love of liberty and property too, that they may create a disgust to the service, among the remainder of the foreign troops, and widen that breach which is already opened between them and the British.


One thing I must remark in favor of the Hessians; and that is, that our people who have been prisoners, generally agree, that they received much kinder treatment from them, than from the British officers and soldiers.



I am informed, that General Putnam sent to Philadelphia, in irons, Major Stockton, taken upon the Raritan, and that he continues in strict confinement. I think, we ought to avoid putting in practice what we have so loudly complained of, the cruel treatment of prisoners.

I desire, that, if there is a necessity for confinement, it may be made as easy and comfortable as possible to Major Stockton and his officers. This man, I believe, has been very active and mischievous; but we took him in arms, as an officer of the enemy, and, by the rules of war, we are obliged to treat him as such, and not as a felon.



I enjoy too much pleasure in softening the hardships of captivity, to withhold any comfort from prisoners; and I beg you to do me the justice to con

General Howe.

clude, that no requisition of this nature that should be made, will ever be denied.


Unnecessary severity, and every species of insult, I despise; and, I trust, none will ever have just reason to censure me, in this respect.



Your indulgent opinion of my character, and the polite terms in which you are pleased to express it, are peculiarly flattering. I take pleasure in the opportunity you have afforded me, of assuring you, that, far from suffering the views of national opposition to be embittered and debased by personal animosity, I am ever ready to do justice to the merit of the man and soldier, and to esteem where esteem is due, however the idea of a public enemy may interpose.

You will not think it the language of unmeaning ceremony, if I add, that sentiments of personal respect, in the present instance, are reciprocal.

Viewing you in the light of an Officer, contending against what I conceive to be the rights of my country, the reverses of fortune you experienced in the field cannot be unacceptable to me; but, abstracted from considerations of national advantage, I can sincerely sympathize with your feelings as a soldier, the un

* General Burgoyne.

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