George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Norman MacLeod, 9 March 1795

From Norman MacLeod

London March 9th 1795


Permit a person who owes you the dearest obligations to intrude himself on your notice, though the circumstance most probably has escaped from your memory—A Captain MacLeod and some other officers of the British army; with their wives, in a very delicate situation, were most humanely sent by you to New York on their parole, in the end of the year 1776; and this saved the lives of the poor women—I am that Captain MacLeod; I have since had the good fortune to arrive at the rank of Major General in the service of my Country, & to represent my native County in Parliament—You are no stranger Sir to the present unhappy situation of Europe; which forms so striking a contrast to that Country over which you preside; here all is confusion anxiety, & fear—Many of our oldest & most wealthy Families look to your shores as the most desirable asylum from the miseries which they dread—The gentleman who will have the honour of delivering this letter to you, Mr Wilson, will make us a report; and as he is a worthy & sensible man, I take the liberty of begging for him your protection, during his stay in America—Some attempts have lately been made to meliorate our Constitution: they have hitherto been unsuccessful: but for your amusement I use the freedom of sending some of the publications on that subject1—In doing this I shrink, abashed when I think I am addressing a Man before whom all Kings & Emperors are pigmies; but my reliance is on your goodness—I have the honour to be With the utmost simplicity & truth Sir your faithful & obedt Sert

Norman MacLeod

ALS, DLC:GW. Norman MacLeod (1754–1801) represented Inverness-shire in Parliament from 1790 to 1796. As a captain in the 71st Regiment of Foot, he and his new bride, Mary Mackenzie MacLeod (d. 1784), left for America in April 1776, but were captured by privateers en route. MacLeod appears on a prisoner list sent to GW by Gen. William Howe on 21 Sept. 1776, with a later notation beside his name: “Exchangd 3d Decr 76” (DLC:GW). Having later served in India, MacLeod was appointed a major general in October 1794 while an officer of the 73d Regiment of Foot.

1GW acknowledged the receipt of books in his reply to MacLeod of 10 July 1795 (ALS [letterpress copy], NN: Washington Papers; LB, DLC:GW). The 1897 Catalogue of the Washington Collection in the Boston Athenæum listed three books from MacLeod, bound together with an inscription on the flyleaf: “Respectfully offered to General Washington by his faithful & obedt. Servt. Norman Mac Leod M.P. Great Britain.” The books were The State of the Representation of England and Wales, delivered to the Society, the Friends of the People, associated for the Purpose of obtaining a Parliamentary Reform, on Saturday the 9th of February 1793 (London, [1793]); Report of the Representation of Scotland (London, [1793]); and Authentic copy of a Petition praying for a Reform in Parliament, presented to the House of Commons on Monday, 6th May, 1793 (London, [1793]). A later sale of books from GW’s library, the Hurst Sale at Anderson’s Galleries, 2–3 May 1904, offered a different selection of pamphlets with the same inscription dated 1795: A Letter from the Right Hon. Charles James Fox to the Worthy and Independent Electors of the City and Liberty of Westminster (London, 1793); Resolutions, Declarations, etc., on the liberty of the Press, by Hon. Thomas Erskine and Thomas Law, Esq. (London, 1793); Considerations on False and Real Alarms. By Colonel Norman MacLeod, M.P. (London, 1794); and Daniel Stuart, Peace and Reform, Against War and Corruption (London, 1794). See Griffin, Catalogue of the Washington Collection description begins Appleton P.C. Griffin, comp. A Catalogue of the Washington Collection in the Boston Athenæum. Cambridge, Mass., 1897. description ends , 130–31; The Literary Collector, 8(May–October 1904):61.

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