George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Livingston, 13 January 1778

From William Livingston

Morris Town [N.J.] 13th Jany 177[8]1


Upon frequent Complaints that Capt. Kennedy’s Residence at his Farm was injurious to the State, & occasioned great Clamours from the People in This Neighbourhood, the Council ordered his Attendance on the Board—they at the same time desired a Gentleman near the Spot, to procure what Affidavits he could respecting Captn Kennedy’s Conduct—He sent us by return of the Express three Affidavits with Copies of which I take the Liberty of troubling you; Capt. Kennedy denies the Accusations sworne against him, & refers to a Parole he signed to your Excellency in this Town. The Board would therefore be glad to know the Nature of that Parole (of which he has no Copy) & whether you consider him as a Prisoner of War, since Your Excellency has taken Paroles from persons professedly Subjects of this State & not pretending to any Connextions with Britain, meerly to prevent their being detrimental to this State as disaffected Subjects—If he is considered as a Prisoner we suppose him exchangeable & in the mean time it would probably be best to have him removed at a greater Distance from the Enemy’s Lines—If his Parole was taken only to prevent mischief & in Aid of the magestrate whose Authority was then very inadequate to suppress Disaffection we shall consider him as altogether within the Civil Line2—I have the Honor to be With great Respect your Excellys Most Hum: Servt

Wil: Livingston

P.S. I am sorry that Troup has been suffered to return to the Enemy after being so clearly convicted of being a Spy. I have this moment received Intelligence that a party is engaged to way-lay me between this place & my house, of which I have reason to think Troup is at the bottom.3

LS, DLC:GW. The postscript is in Livingston’s writing.

1Livingston wrote “1777.”

2The New Jersey council of safety had agreed on 10 Jan. “that a Warrant do issue for apprehending and bringing before the Board Archibald Kennedy Esqr, that an Enquiry be made into his past conduct, and that the Oaths of Government may be tendered to him.” On 13 Jan., Kennedy appeared before the council, which after considering “sundry Affidavits” resolved that “a letter be written to Genl Washington respecting the nature of Captn Kennedy’s Parole & that copies of the Affidavits relative to his conduct be also transmitted with the Same” (N.J. Council of Safety Minutes description begins Minutes of the Council of Safety of the State of New Jersey. Jersey City, 1872. description ends , 186–88). Copies of the affidavits of Nathaniel Camp, Jr., Robert Neil, and Robert Nicholls, all dated 12 Jan., are in DLC:GW. See also GW’s letter to Kennedy of 20 January.

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