George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Major Christopher French, 25 October 1775

To Major Christopher French

Head Quarters Cambridge, October 25th 1775


I now set down to give a final Answer to your Application respecting your Swords—Dr Franklin confirms what I before mentioned that the Priviledge claimed was no Part of the Stipulation made at Philadelphia, but passed without Discussion.1

Having made Inquiry I find the Rule with Regard to the Indulgence in Question is, that Prisoners do not wear their Swords. I therefore cannot approve of it, more especially as it gives such general Dissatisfaction to the good People of the Country.

To your other Request of removing to some Place where you can have the Benefit of attending publick Worship in the Church of England I have not the least Objection provided the Place is approved by Govr Trumbull, to whom in this Case you will be pleased to apply.2

Your Letters &c. have been all Sent in to Boston and such as have been Sent out forwarded. The Select Men at the Instance of Colo. Robinson have applied to have Mr McDermot sent in, to which I have agreed upon Condition that a Gentleman of Boston most injuriously confined in Gaol be permitted to come out. To which Proposal I have yet received no Answer.3

I wish you all the Happiness Consistent with your Situation & while the Inhabitants of America treat you with Humanity & Kindness, I trust you will make a Suitable Return. It is not grateful to me to hear the respectable Citizens of any Town treated with Incivility or Contempt. I am, Sir, Your most Obed. Hble Servt

Go. W.

LB, in Thomas Mifflin’s writing, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC item 152; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Joseph Reed sent a copy of this letter to the Hartford committee of safety with a covering letter of 26 Oct. (DNA:PCC, item 152), and on 11 Nov. Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., forwarded both of those letters to Congress (Trumbull to Hancock, 11 Nov. 1775, DNA:PCC, item 66).

2See French to Trumbull, 31 Oct. 1775, DNA:PCC, item 78. Trumbull informed Hancock on 11 Nov. that “the situation and Circumstances of Middletown renders that an improper place for the Officers—There is an Episcopal Missionary at Simsbury, I have no objection to that place, if desirable to them” (DNA:PCC, item 66).

3Joseph Reed wrote to the selectmen of Boston on 23 Oct.: “I have it in Command from his Excely Genl Washington to acquaint you that your Letter to William Phillips Esqr. came in Course to Head Quarters—His Excellency wishes to shew every mark of Attention to the Select Men of Boston, at the same time he thinks Colo. Robertson Cannot expect his Request to be Complied with without a Suitable Return He has therefore directed me to say that if Master [James] Lovell who has Suffered a Long and injurious Confinement can be set at Liberty & Exchanged for the Friend of Colo. Robinson the latter will be immediately sent for to Hartford for that Purpose and the Exchange made as soon as possible” (DLC:GW). Col. James Robertson (c.1720–1788), a colonel in the British army whom Gen. Thomas Gage had brevetted a brigadier general, was barrack master general for North America. Robertson commanded a brigade on Long Island in August 1776 and became royal governor of New York in May 1779. He returned to England in 1783.

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