George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Henry Lee, 20 October 1780

Hd Qrs Octr 20th 1780

Dear Sir

The plan proposed for taking A——d (the outlines of which are communicated in your letter whh was this moment put into my hands without a date—has every mark of a good one—I therefore agree to the promised rewards, and have such entire confidence in your management of the business as to give it my fullest approbation; and leave the whole to the guidance of your own judgment, with this express stipulation & pointed injuction, that he A——d is brought to me alive.

No circumstance whatever shall obtain my consent to his being put to death—The idea which would accompany such an event would be that Ruffians had been hired to assasinate him. My aim is to make a public example of him—and this should be strongly impressed upon those who are employed to bring him off.

The Sergeant must be very circumspect—too much zeal may create suspicion—and too much precipitancy may defeat the project. the most inviolable secrecy must be observed on all hands. I send you five guineas; but I am not satisfied of the propriety of the Sergeants appearing with much specie—This circumstance may also lead to suspicion as it is but too well known to the enemy that we do not abound in this article.

The interviews between the party in, and out of the City, should be managed with much caution and seeming indifference, or else the frequency of their meetings &ca may betray the design & involve bad consequences—but I am perswaded you will place every matter in a proper point of view to the conductors of this interesting business—& therefore I shall only add that I am Dr Sir Yr obt & affect Servt

Go: Washington

NjP: DeCoppet Collection.

Index Entries