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avoidable difficulties of whose situation forbade his success; and as a man, whose lot combines the calamity of ill health, the anxieties of captivity, and the painful sensibility for reputation exposed, where he most values it, to assaults of malice and detraction.


LETTERS TO PRISONERS, FROM THEIR BRITISH FRIENDS. I shall ever be happy, to relieve the anxiety of parted friends; and where letters are calculated either to this end, or to effect matters of mere private concern, they will have the earliest conveyance.



The conduct of Lieutenant-Colonel Brooks, in detaining John Miller, requires neither palliation nor excuse. I justify and approve it. There is nothing so sacred, in the character of the King's Trumpeter, even when sanctified by a flag, as to alter the nature of things, or to consecrate infidelity and guilt.

He was a deserter from the army under my command; and whatever you have been pleased to assert to the contrary, it is the practice of war and nations, to seize and punish deserters, wherever they may be found. His appearing in the character he

*Sir William Howe.

did, was an aggravation of his offence, inasmuch as it added insolence to infamy.

My scrupulous regard to the privileges of flags, and a desire to avoid every thing that partiality itself might affect to consider as a violation of them, induced me to send orders for the release of the trumpeter, before the receipt of your letter; the improper and peremptory terms of which, had it not been too late, would have strongly operated to produce a less compromising conduct.

I intended, at the same time, to assure you, and I wish it to be remembered, that my indulgence, in this instance, is not to be drawn into precedent; and that, should any deserters from the American army hereafter have the daring folly to approach our lines, in a similar manner, they will fall victims to their rashness and presumption.



Were an opinion once to be established, (and the enemy and their emissaries know very well how to inculcate it, if they are furnished with a plausible pretext,) that we designedly avoided an exchange, it would be a cause of dissatisfaction and disgust, to the country and to the army, of resentment and desperation to our officers and soldiers.

To say nothing of the importance of not hazarding our national character but upon the most solid

grounds, especially in our embryo state, from the influence it may have on our affairs abroad, it may not be a little dangerous to beget in the minds of our countrymen a suspicion, that we do not pay the strictest observance to the maxims of honor and good faith.


Imputations of this nature would have a tendency to unnerve our operations, by diminishing that respect and confidence, which are essential to be placed in those who are at the head of affairs, either in the civil or military line. This, added to the prospect of hopeless captivity, would be a great discouragement to the service. The ill consequences of both would be immense, by increasing the causes of discontent in the army, which are already too numerous, and many of which are, in a great measure, unavoidable; by fortifying that unwillingness, which already appears too great, toward entering into the service, and of course impeding the progress both of drafting and recruiting; by dejecting the courage of the soldiery, from an apprehension of the horrors of captivity; and finally, by reducing those, whose lot it is to drink the bitter cup, to a despair, which can only find relief, by renouncing their attachment, and engaging with their captors.

The effects have already been experienced in part, from the obstacles that have lain in the way of exchanges. But if these obstacles were once to seem the result of system, they would become tenfold.

Nothing has operated more disagreeably upon the minds of the militia, than the fear of captivity, on the footing on which it has hitherto stood. What would be their reasonings, if it should be thought to stand upon a worse?


I am convinced, that more mischief has been done by the British officers who have been prisoners, than by any other set of people. During their captivity, they have made connections in the country, they have confirmed the disaffected, converted many ignorant people, and frightened the lukewarm and timid, by their stories of the power of Britain.

I hope a general exchange is not far off, by which means we shall get rid of all that sort of people; and I am convinced, that we had better, in future, send all officers in upon parole, than keep them among us.



Few men exhibit greater diversity, or, if we may so express it, greater antithesis of character, than the native warrior of North America. In war, he is daring, boastful, cunning, ruthless, self-denying, and self-devoted; in peace, just, generous, hospitable, revengeful, superstitious, modest, and commonly chaste.

J. FENIMORe Cooper.

If they had the vices of savage life, they had the virtues also. They were true to their country, their friends, and their homes. If they forgave not injury, neither did they forget kindness. Chief Justice JOSEPH STORY.

Washington's policy in regard to the Indians was always pacific and humane. He considered them as children, who should be treated with tenderness and forbearance. He aimed to conciliate them by good usage, to obtain their lands by fair purchase and punctual payments, to make treaties with them on terms of equity and reciprocal advantage, and strictly to redeem every pledge. JARED SPARKS.


While the measures of government ought to be calculated to protect its citizens from all injury and violence, a due regard should be extended to those Indian tribes, whose happiness, in the course of events, so materially depends on the national justice and humanity of the United States.



The basis of our proceedings with the Indian Nations has been, and shall be, JUSTICE, during the

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