George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Henry Knox, 28 March 1782

Morris Town March 28th 1782


I have had intimations, that under the idea of the cessation of Hostilities within certain limits, a number of People intend to come over from New York to our Lines—to prevent all intercourse of this kind is the principal design of this Letter—Sir Wm Howe on a former occasion proposed that a neutrality should take place to a certain distance from the spot where our Commissioners were to assemble, in order that they might not meet with any interruption in the transaction of their business, from the hostilities & alarms which might otherwise have happened in the Neighbourhood of them—It was upon this principle & for this reason, the present proposal was made on my part; nor was it intended or could be construed to extend any farther.

It is therefore my particular desire that no Persons coming from the Enemy may be permitted to land, except the Commissioners & those immediately connected with them. And as I think it expedient not only to prevent new Channels of communication with the Enemy from being opened; but as far as practicable to shut the former; I could wish you would take the trouble to inform yourselves of the practice of sending & receiving Flags on the Lines & point out such alterations & regulations as you shall deem proper to prevent the evils which have been complained of, as resulting from too frequent an intercourse with the Enemy.

I have been informed by the Commissy of Prisoners, that the Enemy are preparing to send out a considerable quantity of goods under the sanction of passports granted by me for bringing out Cloathing & necessaries for the use of their Prisoners—This is so contrary to my intention, & may be productive of such ill consequence, that I have sent Col. Smith to explain the matter to you & to request you will examine the List & signify what Articles should be considered as necessaries & what quantity ought to be permitted to be sent out—Mr Skinner is directed to give you the necessary information; he will also explain to you the mode which has prevailed of making partial exchanges, this subject I need not recommend particularly, as it is comprehended within the limits of your Commission. I have the honor to be.

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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