From Henry Laurens
30th March 1778
I had the honor of writing to Your Excellency Yesterday by Genl duportail.
At reading the Journal this Morning Congress reconsidered the Act of the 28th for authorizing Count Pulaski to raise a seperate Corps & expunged the words “Prisoners &” which stood in the last Sentence & your Excellency will receive within the present Inclosure a Copy of the Act as now amended.1
I likewise inclose an Act of Congress of this date for securing the Exchange & inlargement of Major General Lee & for other purposes relative to the intended Cartel for the Exchange of Prisoners to which I beg leave to refer.2 I have the honour to be with great Regard & Esteem &ca.
LB, DNA:PCC, item 13. A note on the letter-book copy indicates that this letter was carried “by [Levellin] Barry.”
1. The enclosed copy has not been identified. The revised resolution, which was printed in JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends under the date 28 Mar., authorized Pulaski to raise a corps “of sixty-eight horse, and two hundred foot, the horse to be armed with lances, and the foot equipped in the manner of light infantry: the corps to be raised in such way and composed of such men as General Washington shall think expedient and proper; and if it shall be thought by General Washington that it will not be injurious to the service, that he have liberty to dispense, in this particular instance, with the resolve of Congress against inlisting deserters” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 291). The change may have been influenced by GW’s strenuous objection to a reference to the enlistment of prisoners in an earlier resolution (see GW to Henry Laurens, 12 Mar.).
2. This resolution reads: “Whereas Congress concur in opinion with General Washington that there are some ambiguities characterizing the Measures taken by Genl Howe respecting General Lee, which justify alarming surmises, notwithstanding all that has passed to the contrary.
“Resolved That General Washington be informed that it is the intention of Congress that it should be a preliminary in the proposed Cartel for a general Exchange of prisoners that Major General Lee be absolutely exchanged for Major Genl Prescot, and if refused, that no exchange take place till the further order of Congress.
“That it be proposed to exchange Lt Colonel Ethan Allen for Lieut. Colo. Campbell or Lieut. Colo. Anstruther and if not acceded to that Lieut. Colo. Campbell be sent back to the State of Massachusetts Bay.
“That General Washington be further directed to instruct the Commissioners to be careful not to contravene, in setling the proposed Cartel, any of the Resolutions of Congress particularly that of the 30th Decemr respecting such of the Citizens of these States as may voluntarily join the Enemy and be taken in Arms against these States.
“That if the Enemy will not consent to exempt Citizens from Capture agreeable to the law of Nations the Commissioners be instructed positively to insist on their exchange without any relation to Rank.
“That General Washington be directed not to permit any Article of the proposed Cartel to be finally concluded without his express approbation and that the president be directed to inform him accordingly” (DLC:GW; see also JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 10:295).