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Where any of these principles mark the way to rank, I am persuaded, they yield a becoming and willing acquiescence; but where they are not the basis, they feel severely.
To place them at the head of companies, over officers that have been at great trouble, pains, and expense, in raising men, would be both unmilitary and unjust.
It will be well, in all cases of foreign and indeed other applications, that the consequences which granting them will involve, should be maturely weighed, and taken in every point of view.
THE NATIONAL POLICY AS TO FOREIGNERS.
It is not the policy of this country, to employ aliens, where it can well be avoided, either in the civil or military walks of life.
It does not accord with the policy of this government, to bestow offices, civil or military, upon Foreigners, to the exclusion of our own citizens.
THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF'S BODY-GUARD.
I want to form a company for my Guard. In doing this, I wish to be extremely cautious, because
it is more than probable, that, in the course of the campaign, my baggage, papers, and other matters of great public import, may be committed to the sole care of these men.
This being premised, in order to impress you with proper attention in the choice, I have to request, that you will immediately furnish me with four men of your regiment; and, as it is my further wish, that this company should look well and be nearly of a size, I desire that none of the men may exceed in stature five feet ten inches, nor fall short of five feet nine inches; sober, young, active, and well made.
When I recommend care in your choice, I would be understood to mean, men of good character in the regiment, that possess the pride of appearing clean and soldier-like. I am satisfied, that there can be no absolute security for the fidelity of this class of people, but yet I think it most likely to be found, in those who have family connections in the country. You will therefore send me none but natives, and men of some property, if you have them. I must insist, that, in making this choice, you give no intimation of my preference of natives, as I do not want to create any invidious distinction between them and the foreigners.
* Colonel Alexander Spotswood.
HIRING BRITISH DESERTERS.
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.
ENLISTING PRISONERS OF WAR.
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
ting, our men into their service, we ought to follow
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.
ENLISTING FREE NEGROES.
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.
TREATMENT OF PRISONERS.
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.