From John Jay
Philadelphia 4 June 1779
I have the Honor of transmitting herewith enclosed a Copy of an act of Congress of the 3d Inst. authorizing your Excellency to make such and so many parole Exchanges as you may judge expedient.1
various Reports respecting the Enemy’s movements in West Chester County have lately reached us, but we know not what Degree of Credit is due to them.
The Report of a victory near Charlstown still continues and is believed—no direct Intelligence from that Quarter has yet arrived.2
Two Dozen printed Copies of the Report of our Commissioners for settling a Cartel are herewith sent. It is the wish of Congress that they may be conveyed to our Prisoners with the Enemy.3 I have the Honor to be with the greatest Respect & Esteem Your Excellencys most obedt Servant
LS, DLC:GW; LB, DNA:PCC, item 14.
1. The enclosure, which is in DLC:GW, is a resolution that Congress passed on 3 June at the particular prompting of Brig. Gen. William Thompson and Col. Samuel Blachley Webb, American prisoners seeking paroles (see 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 14:679, and the Board of War to GW, 12 June, and n.1 to that document).
2. For a more positive report of an overwhelming American success in the South, see Jay’s letter to GW of 7 June, n.4 (see also GW to James Clinton, 13 June). For what appear to be GW’s earliest admission that this news might be erroneous, which ultimately proved the case, see his letter to John Augustine Washington, 20 June, and n.7 to that document. For the operations that probably prompted the reports, see GW to Jay, 26 May, n.1.
3. The enclosures were copies of a Report of Commissioners for Settling a Cartel for the Exchange of Prisoners (Philadelphia, 1779). For the printing of this report, and the abortive attempt to establish a cartel on prisoner exchange between the Americans and the British, see 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 14:566–67, and Robert Hanson Harrison to GW, 18 April; see also Jay to GW, 10 May (second letter).