George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lieutenant Henry Edwin Stanhope, 16 January 1776

From Lieutenant Henry Edwin Stanhope

Northampton [Mass.] Janry 16th 1776


I beg Leave to return your Excellency my sincere Thanks for your punctual Attention to my Letter, as likewise for your kind Expressions, relative to our Treatment, which I never doubted, having heard your Excellency mention’d with the greatest Respect in that Particular; in answer to which, I mu⟨st⟩ observe to yr Excellency, that the Committee here have behaved very well, & have enlarged the Limitts five Miles round the Town; but as I was sent here by Governour Cooke, they doubted whether they were invested with sufficient Authority, to grant me the same Priviledge.1

General Pomeroy who does me the Favour to be the Bearer of this, has particularly exerted himself to oblidge us, & to silence the Outradges of a low, mean People, (which every Community is liable to be more, or less burdened with)2 I hope your Excellency will, (as early as convenient) direct the Committee to grant me the same Privilidges which the rest Enjoy.

I must beg Leave to observe to your Excellency, that the Land & Sea Commands, are perfectly distinct from each other, consequently General How has not, nor will not, trouble himself with us; the Admiral being the Head of the Naval Department, & should it fortunately suit your Excellency to write to the Admiral about an Exchange of Prisonners, I flatter myself, (as we all do), that he would not be deaf but I am desired in the Name of us all, to intreat yr Excellency, to permitt one of us, to go into Boston, to procure Money, & Cloaths, for the rest, (two Articles we seem not by any Means able to procure in our present disagreeable Situation) & which would prevent our being such a Burden on this ⟨Township⟩, who have already been at the Expense of cloathing some of us. & if yr Excellency could consent, I should be glad to be the Person, to perform that Piece of Service. & should the Admiral not be inclined to make an Exchange I will return to whatever Time your Excellency might think fit to State.3

I have taken the Liberty to enclose a Line for a friend of mine in the ⟨Nancy⟩ & hope yr Excellency will allow it to be sent to Boston. I beg Leave to conclude Your Excellency’s most obedient humble Servant

H.E. Stanhope

ALS, DLC:GW. Stanhope was captured by the Americans on 30 Nov. 1775 and sent to Northampton on parole in December. See Nicholas Cooke to GW, 4 Dec., and GW to Cooke, 7 Dec. 1775.

1Stanhope had previously applied for exchange in his letter to GW of 25 December. The reply of 4 Jan. to Stanhope has not been found.

2Seth Pomeroy of Northampton declined a Continental commission as brigadier general the previous summer. See James Warren and Joseph Hawley to GW, 4 July, n.1, and GW to Hancock, 10–11, 21 July 1775.

3Horatio Gates replied to Stanhope on 24 Jan.: “I am directed by his Excellency General Washington, to acknowledge the receipt of your Letter of the 16th Instant, requesting leave to go into the Town of Boston to Solicit The Admiral for your Exchange. The Admiral Has already declined every negotiation for Exchange of prisoners & has not permitted any Money to be sent those Gentlemen now in the Hands of the United Colonies, though frequently acquainted with Their Necesities, and Press’d to releive them. Certain Prisoners taken by a Frigate has been by the Admirals Order sent to England, so that it is not now in his Power to give any Exchange for those in there Hands, and from The Admirals behaviour in other Matters, it very Clearly appears, you would not be permitted to come Back to your Parole; should His Excellency even Allow you to go into the Town of Boston These Reasons you must allow are sufficently convincing to Oblidge The General at present to Decline complying with your request” (DLC:GW).

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