From John Jay
Philadelphia 24th Augt 1779
I have been honored with Your Excellency’s Favors of the 15th, 16, & 17th Inst—The first is referred to a special Committee—The second to the Board of War—& the third to the Treasury.1
It is the Sense of Congress that your Excellency “refuse your Assent to the Request of Major General Philips that two Officers of the Convention Troops be allowed to go into Canada.”2
Congress came to some other Resolutions on the 21st Inst., respecting General Philips’ Letters Copies of which are herewith enclosed.3 I have the honor to be With the greatest Respect & Esteem Your Excellency’s Most Obedient Servant
John Jay Presid.
LS, DLC:GW; LB, DNA:PCC, item 14.
1. GW addressed two letters to Jay on 16 August. Jay here refers to GW’s second letter of that date.
3. Jay enclosed a document dated 21 Aug. and signed by Charles Thomson, secretary of Congress; copies of a committee report; and three resolutions. The committee report recommended Congress deny Maj. Gen. William Phillips permission to forward to Gen. Henry Clinton letters that Philips had written expressing concerns with Virginia’s treatment of its prisoner Henry Hamilton, former lieutenant governor of Detroit. The committee provided two reasons for its recommendation: firstly, since Hamilton was the prisoner of Virginia, “it properly belonged” to Virginia “to decide on the treatment suitable to his conduct”; secondly, the committee reasoned, the British denied American prisoners of war in New York “the liberty of communicating to any public body within the United States the severities excercised upon them.” With regards to the three resolutions Jay enclosed, the first agreed to the committee’s report; the second was that which is quoted by Jay in the letter provided above; and the third directed that, in the future, only the Board of War or GW could authorize the movement of Convention Army officers away from their assigned places of residence (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 14:933–34, 985–86. GW had already granted conditional permission for the officers to travel to Canada; however, after receiving this letter, GW countermanded his order (see GW to Theodorick Bland, 27 July and 31 Aug.; and GW to Jay, 31 Aug.–1 Sept.).