George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Owen Biddle, 26 April 1777

To Owen Biddle

H⟨e⟩ad Quarters Morris Town 2⟨6⟩ Apr⟨il⟩ 1777


I have your favor of the 19th1 and congratulate you upon the late discoveries you have made of some of the plans of our internal Enemies, and I hope the Clue you have got, will lead to something more important.

I never before heard of Mr Hughes, but upon enquiry, I am informed that he has ever been closely connected with Galloway, that alone is enough to excite suspicion at this time. I shall enquire further into his political Conduct for some time past, and if I find the least Grounds for a beleif that Fox’s testimony is true⟨,⟩ I shall have him apprehended.2

I place no great dependance upon any thing that Shepherd has wrote to Fox, because it cannot be supposed that a Man, in his station, could possibly know any thing of the true intentions or Motions of the Enemy.

As I have no proof of Hartshorne and Bowne’s ever having been concerned in the practices I mentioned in my last,3 I cannot apprehend them. I gave you the hint, that if the thing should have been so, and they should return to Philada again upon the same errand, you might keep a watchful Eye upon them.

I have given orders to all the Officers at the out posts to suffer no more Women to pass in or out upon any pretence whatever.

I shall be obliged to you for communicating any material Intelligence that may come to your Knowledge, and you may be assured, that whenever I make discoveries of any suspicious persons harbouring in or about your City, you shall have the earliest Information. I am Sir with great Respect Your most obt Servt

Go: Washington

P.S. I have dispatched an Officer this Morning to apprehend Hughes, and to carry him down to you. If Matters should not be fully proved agt him, I think it would be still proper to lay him under injunctions not to return home just at this time, for he is certainly a dangerous person and actively mischeivous just now.

Go: W——n

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, NjHi; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The mutilated portions of the text of the LS are supplied within angle brackets from the text of the draft.

2GW on this date wrote Maj. Joseph Morris of the 1st New Jersey Regiment: “Information of the inimical disposition of Mr Hugh Hughes of Sussex County having been lodged with me, by which it becomes necessary to secure him—You will proceed with the guard under your Command to his house, or wherever he may be found, seize and secure him, and conduct him to Philadelphia; when there you will deliver him up to the Pennsylvania Board of War, and then return” (LS, in George Johnston’s writing, NjMoHP; Df DLC:GW Varick transcript, DLC:GW).

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