To General William Howe
Head Qrs [Valley Forge] April 19th 1778
I have been favoured with your Letter of the 16th Inst.
Mr Lowry was never a principal Commissary of ours, but only acted occasionally, as a deputy, for purchasing provisions where he lived. I do not know, whether he was employed, at the time of his capture, even in this line. From this state of facts, you will readily agree with me that I can not with propriety accede to your offer. However, in order to put the fair Lady, in whose case you so obligingly interest yourself, in the possession of her Husband, I would propose that an exchange should take place between Mr Higgins & Mr Lowry. I am ready as far as depends on me, to comply with the Lady’s wishes, and it remains with you to lend your aid for their completion.1
I request, that your flags, in future, may cross the Schuylkil near philadelphia, and proceed to our Out posts, by the Lancaster Road. By taking the route East of Schuylkill, they may meet with accidents from parties of Militia, for which I cannot be responsible. I am Sir with due regard Yr Most Obedt servt
Df, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.
1. On 23 April, GW’s aide Tench Tilghman wrote to Commissary General of Prisoners Elias Boudinot in part: “Mrs. Higgins has wrote to the General in forming him that Sir William Howe acceded to the exchange of Mr. Lourie for her Husband and she now makes a fresh request that he may be allowed to come to Philada. by land. Except you have made any such agreement with Loring the Genl. will not consent to it. He desires you to write to your deputy at Boston and inform him of Higgin’s exchange, he may go from Boston to Rhode Island by land and from thence to Philada. the passage by sea is short” (Boyle, Writings from the Valley Forge Encampment description begins Joseph Lee Boyle, ed. Writings from the Valley Forge Encampment of the Continental Army, December 19, 1777–June 19, 1778. 3 vols. Bowie, Md., 2000–2002. description ends , 3:108). Commissary Higgins’s arrival at Newport, R.I., on a truce vessel from Providence, was noted in the diary of British officer Frederick Mackenzie on 16 May (Mackenzie Diary description begins Diary of Frederick Mackenzie Giving a Daily Narrative of His Military Service as an Officer of the Regiment of Royal Welch Fusiliers during the Years 1775–1781 in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York. 2 vols. Cambridge, Mass., 1930. description ends , 1:282).