George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Colonel Israel Shreve, 14 April 1778

To Colonel Israel Shreve

Head Quarters Valley Forge 14th April 1778


I recd yours of the 10th instant inclosing the proceedings of a Court Martial against William Seeds and Samuel Carter. I confirm the Sentence of the former and desire he may be executed at such time and place as you may think most proper.

I cannot confirm the Sentence against Carter untill I have consulted Governor Livingston upon the matter. Introducing martial law into this State was intended to remedy the weakness of the Civil; But in the State of New Jersey, where there is a law framed expressly for the purpose of trying inhabitants taking Arms on the side of the Enemy, I think su⟨c⟩h persons should be delivered to the civil power. When I have the Governors determination upon this matter, you shall hear from me. In the mean time secure the prisoner.1 I am Sir Yr most obt Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, NjP:De Coppet Collection; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The cover of the LS was addressed to Shreve at Haddonfield, N.J., “Favr Mr Dillon,” possibly James Dillon, a former captain in Shreve’s regiment who had resigned in December 1777.

1GW wrote Gov. William Livingston on 15 April. Livingston replied on 27 April, but the surviving extract of that letter does not reveal his determination about Carter.

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