George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Grizzage Frazer, 5 January 1779

From John Grizzage Frazer

Bordeaux [France] January 5th 1779


I wrote to you the 20th Ulto, and inclosed you the King of Great Britains Speach, to his parliament, when they met Novr 26th.

And as the Vessell is still here waiting for a Convoy; I take the liberty of writing you a second Letter, informing you that the Debates in parliament are much in favour of us; In the House of Lords we have Thirty Five Members against the present Ministry, and their measures, which is more than we have ever had.

The Minority in the House of Commons Increaseth Rapidly—both the Houses L. & C. Condem the English Commissioners proclamation which they had published in America, Vizt Lord Carlisle &c.1

Genl Clinton has ask’d for reinforcemts but the King, & his Friends acknowledge they cannot send him any, all they have to spare must go else where.

I have seen Letters, and News papers from England down as late as Decr 22d 1778 which mention all what I have wrote you, and further that Admiral Kepple was Impeached, by Admiral, Sir Hugh Paliscer for some misconduct in the affair with the French Fleet, off Ushant, the 27th July last, and is to be tried by a Court-Martial the 7th Inst.—his Brother Genl Kepple has resign’d all his posts; & places &c. under the Crown in Consequence of it,2 They seem to bid fair for a civil War among themselves (God speed it I pray) Genl Howe has said in parliament that America never can be conquered while the present Administration rule, & Genl Borgoyne is ordered to return to America as a prisioner upon parole, to The Honbl. Congress &c.3 In short every General & Admiral, or commanding officer in any department whatsoever, since the Commencement of the War with America, are Disgusted, and complain exceedingly of Administration, I purpose returning at all events to my Native Soil next spring, and hope to arive before The Campaign opens, if their shou’d be any which I do not think there will.

I have procured since my Arival in Europe One of the best Founders, in Europe he was brought up at Carron the great Iron Works in Scotland, and has for this Nine Years been Foreman in the <feist> Works in Sweden I got him from Stockholm and he is now with me<.>4 If the Publick in General, or the Sta<te> of Virginia, does not want him, and you have any Iron mines upon any Land of yours, I shou’d be glad to be concerned with you in a Furnace, in any way you think proper.

The expence will be very trifling this Man Casts Cannon, Iron Stills, Potts &c. &c.

I hope your Excellency has enjoyed a good state of Health, with all the Fatigue, I have the Honour to be, with the greatest respect, Sir, yr Mo. obt & Mo. Hbl. Servt

Jno. G. Frazer


1Besides offering a general pardon to those Americans who ceased their support of the rebellion, the British peace commissioners’ manifesto of 3 Oct. 1778 warned that a continuation of the fight might result in Great Britain’s adoption of more extreme methods of war (see GW to George Clinton, 8 Oct., n.4, and to Henry Laurens, 22–23 Oct., n.17). That warning enraged many members of Parliament, with the Marquis of Rockingham declaring that it “must fill every honest, feeling man with horror and astonishment.” For Parliament’s debates over the manifesto and the protests against its contents, see Parliamentary History of England description begins The Parliamentary History of England, from the Earliest Period to the Year 1803. 36 vols. London, 1806–20. description ends , 19:1388–1402; 20:1–46.

2For the indecisive naval engagement of Ushant, see Lafayette to GW, 21 Sept., n.4. Vice Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser (1723–1796), a member of the Board of Admiralty who commanded a naval division in the engagement, feuded with the fleet commander, Admiral Augustus Keppel, and succeeded in having him court-martialed on 9 Jan. 1779. Keppel was acquitted with honor of all charges of misconduct during the battle, and Palliser, by now a subject of popular ridicule and abuse, was also court-martialed and acquitted, but not with honor. The reported resignation of Admiral Keppel’s brother, Lt. Gen. William Keppel (1727–1782), who had participated in the British conquest of Cuba in 1762 and became colonel of the 12th Royal Lancers, commander-in-chief in Ireland, and George III’s Gentleman of the Horse, was false.

3During a 4 Dec. 1778 debate over the British peace commissioners’ manifesto, Sir William Howe severely criticized the British secretary of state for the American department, Lord George Germain, declaring “that whatever orders were sent to America for the conduct of the war, he was sure they never could be executed to the satisfaction and advantage of this country, while they went through the hands of that noble lord” (Parliamentary History of England description begins The Parliamentary History of England, from the Earliest Period to the Year 1803. 36 vols. London, 1806–20. description ends , 19:1395). The rumor about Gen. John Burgoyne’s return to America was incorrect.

4The Carron ironworks, among the most important in Great Britain, was established in 1759 on the Carron River near Falkirk in Scotland.

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