George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., 11 August 1776

To Jonathan Trumbull, Sr.

New York August the 11th 1776


Necessity Obliges me to trouble your Honour with some more suspected persons whose Characters are such as to make it unsafe for them to remain at their Usual Places of Abode on Long Island—& there is no Retreat in this Province where they may not do some Mischeif or be less secure than our Safety requires, As they are apprehended meerly on Suspicion arrising from a General Line of Conduct, unfriendly to the American Cause, I have given them reason to suspect1 from you every Indulgence which your good judgment will admit you to allow them consistent with the publick Safety. There are few of them who will not defray their own Expences, & those few their Companions of better Circumstances will assist if Convenience will admit their being together in the same place which will be a Saving to the publick, If there are any quite destitute I presume they must be put on the Footing of other Prisoners in like Circumstances, They express a very earnest desire to be permitted to chuse their Own Lodging & accommodations to which I see no Objection; but as I have refered them intirely to you I do not chuse to enter into any Engagement on this or any other Point: Only adding generally that I could wish they might have every Accommodation & Indulgence having a Respect to their Rank & Education which may be deemed consistent with Safety; and they are given to understand that your Humanity & Politeness will most effectually prevent their being liable to any unnecessary Hardships. I am with much Respect & your Honours most Obt Hbe Sert


Postscript. I am just informed that Judge Jones has Obta⟨ined⟩ some Letters of Recommendation to Connecticut from which he expects to be permitted to Stay at New haven unless very particular Circumstances should require it,2 I cannot but think you will agree with me that these Prisoners should be removed from Sea port and Post Towns as the Intention of Removal from hence is not fully answered while they have Opportunities of carrying on Correspondence.

LB, in George Lewis’s writing, DLC:GW; LB, Ct: Trumbull Papers; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The LB in the Trumbull Papers omits the postscript.

1The LB in the Trumbull Papers reads “to expect.”

2Thomas Jones (1731–1792), a justice of the New York supreme court under the royal government, was arrested at his country house at Fort Neck, South Oyster Bay, Long Island, on 27 June 1776 by order of a committee of the provincial congress. Paroled on 30 June, he was again arrested at Fort Neck on 11 Aug. and was sent to Connecticut with other suspected Loyalists the following day. Trumbull’s son-in-law Col. Jedediah Huntington wrote Trumbull on this date from the American camp at New York: “Judge Jones being taken up and ordered to Connecticut, has applied to me for letters to my friends. I am a stranger to any particulars of his political character, except that he lately held a place under the Crown of England. His character as a gentleman I believe unexceptionable. He has shown me some civilities. I think I can assure him that he will be secure from any insult or abuse, and that he will experience from my friends and others every civility compatible with his situation” (Force, American Archives description begins Peter Force, ed. American Archives. 9 vols. Washington, D.C., 1837–53. description ends , 5th ser., 1:898). Trumbull paroled Judge Jones on 9 Dec. 1776, and he returned home to Long Island, where he apparently began working on his History of New York during the Revolutionary War, and of the Leading Events in the Other Colonies at That Period (2 vols., New York, 1879 description begins Thomas Jones. History of New York during The Revolutionary War, and of the Leading Events in the Other Colonies at that Period. Edited by Edward Floyd De Lancey. 2 vols. New York, 1879. description ends ). Jones was arrested a third time on 6 Nov. 1779 and was exchanged the following April for Gen. Gold Selleck Silliman. In 1781 Jones sailed with his family to England, where he lived for the remainder of his life.

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