George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Samuel Huntington, 16 October 1780

Head Qrs Octobr 16th 1780


I have the honor to transmit Your Excellency the Copy of the Letter (No. 1) I wrote to Sr Henry Clinton on the 6th Instant with respect to the Citizens of South Carolina, said to be confined on board a Ship of War—of his Answer of the 9th (No. 2) and of my Letter to him of this date (No. 3), with a Copy of the Letter from Lord Cornwallis & Lord Rawden to which it refers. This Letter from Lord Cornwallis but illy comports with the mild-humane character Sir Henry Clinton is pleasd to ascribe to him upon the present occasion, and shows, as well as Lord Rawdon’s, that he possesses a capacity for the most lawless domination over the rights of mankind.

I have also the honor to transmit a copy of my Letter to Genl Clinton of the 7th (No. 4) on the subject of Exchanges, alluded to in my Dispatches of the same date to Congress—and of my Instructions to Mr Skinner (No. 5) on the occasion. By the Inclosure (No. 4) in those dispatches, Your Excellency would find that the Enemy in their propositions of exchange respecting the Convention Officers in New York and Europe excepted, at the late meeting at Elizabeth Town, Major Generals Phillips and Riedesel & Lt Genl Burgoyne; but they have since agreed to include the Two first and their families by a Letter from Sir Henry Clinton of the 13th (No. 6) to which mine of this date refers.

Since my Letter of Instructions to Mr Skinner of the 7th I have received an Answer from His Excellency Governor Jefferson, informing me that from the great influence of Lt Governr Hamilton and a Major Hay with the Western Indians and the ill consequences that would attend their release from this circumstance, neither of them can be exchanged in the present instance. I have written to Mr Skinner on the subject. I have the Honor to be with the highest respect Your Excellency’s Most Obed. Sert

Go: Washington

P.S. Just as I was about to close my Letter I received One from His Excellency Govr Clinton of the 14 with Inclosures; Copies of which I transmit and which will announce the disagreable intelligence of the Enemy having penetrated from Canada both by the way of Niagara & Lake Champlain—taken Forts Ann & George & burnt many Houses. Major General Greene has already detached Gansevorts Regiment from West Point in consequence—and I have written to him to send Wiesenfels or Willets also.

Go: W——n

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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