George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lord Drummond, 19 August 1776

From Lord Drummond

sloop Polly Augt 19th 1776


While attending in the Boat on the 17th I was favoured with yours of that Date, and in Answer to those Points it seemd to allude to I coud then only return a verbal Message by Mr Tighlman which I flatter myself woud remove the Suspicions you entertained. As my first Motive for asking Lord Howes Permission to land at New York, was to give me an Opportunity of explaining myself to your Excellency on the Subject of my Parole in Relation to my Return to this Place—so the Hope I entertained of effecting it in this Way, made me perhaps too negligent in not saying any thing on that Subject in my Letter to you.1

Aware however of the Possibility of not being able to obtain an Interview with your Excellency—I had taken the Precaution to prepare a Letter to Colonel Moylan on that subject, and which I read to Mr Tighlman on his Delivering me that from your Excellency but which I forbore delivering as not thinking it sufficiently explicit.

But shoud Suspicions on any other Point in the Parole have arisen, I have only to beg that Your Excellency will have the goodness to permit me to a Personal Interview with You, which will either afford me an Opportunity of exculpating myself, or will place me in a Situation to suffer that Treatment which must follow an Infraction of Parole. I have the Honour to be Sir Your most Obt and most Humble servant,


I enclose My Letter to Colol Moylan which I have alluded to together with the Logbook.2

ALS, DLC:GW; ADfS, Drummond Castle Papers, Scottish Record Office; copy, enclosed in GW to Hancock, 26 Aug. 1776, DNA:PCC, item 152; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169.

2“Finding I am disappointed in waiting on Genl Washington, and thanking him personally,” Drummond says in his letter to Stephen Moylan of 17 Aug., “I should think myself very wanting in Duty was I not to do it in this manner and inform him how much I had benefitted by the permission he was good enough to give me of going to sea for the Recovery of my Health.

“In compliance with the terms of my Parole I have avoided every Port, where there was a likelyhood of my falling in with any of the English ships of War, and in consequence have not been Spoke to by any Vessell falling within the description of the Parole from the time of my departure from the [Sandy] Hook till my arivall off that place on the Night of the 9th when I was boarded by a boat from one of the Frigates belonging to the English Fleet, who took the Entire Management of the Vessell.

“I was now for the first time to my surprise Informed of the English Fleet and Army being at this place as the intelligence I had before my departure from the West Indies was that the Destination of the Fleet was more to the Southward and not at New York” (Drummond Castle Papers, Scottish Record Office). The enclosed logbook of Drummond’s voyage has not been identified.

GW did not grant Drummond an interview or respond to this letter. For Drummond’s further efforts to defend himself, see his letters to GW of 9 Dec. 1776 (Drummond Castle Papers, Scottish Record Office) and 14 Nov. 1778 (Collections of Lord Fairfax of Cameron, Gays House, Holyport, Maidenhead, Berkshire, England).

Index Entries