George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Paterson, 7 June 1781

West Point June 7th 1781


The inclosed are from a number of the first Gentlemen in Berkshire in favor of King now under sentence of death—I am particularly acquainted with his circumstances. His Mother was drove by the Enemy from Balltown & thereby greatly distressd, when he deserted he went directly home and was exceedingly industrous, all his earnings were appropriated to the subsistance of the family it appears that nothing but the distress of his Mother and Fatherless Brothers and Sisters induced him to be Guilty of so henious a Crime. I am Sir your most Obedient humble Servant

John Paterson

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


Stockbridge June 5th 1781

Dear Sir

Mr Kirkland informs me that by the disere of a number of People of Character he is on a journey to Camp, to endeavour the reprieve of William King, now under Sentence of Death for Desertion, I wish never to have the Laws evaded or trifled with in matters of that nature, no Person views the Crime of Desertion with more Detestation than myself, nevertheless I cant but think there is many aleveating Circumstances in this Case of King’s which in some measure intitles him to Clemancy & which together with the distressed Circumstances of his mother should he be executed, (particulars of which Mr Kirkland will inform you) induces me desire your influence in obtaining his Repreve.

I never made a request of this nature before, and nothing but viewing him more unfortunate than Criminal could induce me to do it now. I am Dear sir your very Humble Servt

Wm Walker


Stockbridge June 5th 1781

Dear Genl,

by the Request of Mr Catling and a Number of other Respectfull Inhabitents I have been Induced to wright you a few Lines Requesting you to assist Mr Catling in getting a Pardon for Wm King a Soldier Belonging to Col. Vanskaiks Regiment if it be Consistint with the good of the Service as he is a Soldier Which has been a Good Charactor till now.

I was yesterday at Lenox and Miss Patterson is well and all the family—and all your freinds, in this Quarter—I have not been able to git an order for selling those [Tory] farmes which you was speaking to me about but I hope I shall Soon.

Please to give my Compliments to Mrs Sh[...] and all my acquaintence in Camp. I am dear General with the greatest Respect your Most obedient Huml. Servt

J. Hollister


Stockbridge June 5. 1781


At the particular request of, a number of principal Gentlemen in this Town, as well as in the town of Lee, the Revd Mr Kirkland undertakes to ride to West Point, to solicit for the pardon of one William King, of Van Schaaiks Regmt, who we hear is under sentance of death for desertion—His mother is a hapless Widdow in the last mentioned town, being driven from her home at Balltown, and made helpless by the ravages of our enemies in that quarter—Could it consist, with the dissipline and good of the army, it would be an act of high benevolence to a fond mother, greatly distressed, aside of this event, to procure a pardon her son. I have the honor to be your most obt huml. Sevt

Timy Edwards

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