George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Guy Carleton, 7 May 1782

Head Quarters New York May 7th 1782.


Having been appointed by His Majesty to the Command of the Forces on the Atlantic Ocean and joined with Admiral Digby in the Commission of Peace, I find it proper in this Manner to apprize your Excellency of my Arrival at New York.

The occasion, Sir, seems to render this Communication proper, but the circumstances of the present Time render it also indispensible, as I find it just to transmit herewith to your Excellency certain papers, from the perusal of which your Excellency will perceive what Dispositions prevail in the Government and People of England towards those of America, and wha further Effects are llikely to follow; if the like pacific Disposition should prevail in this Country, both my inclination and Duty will lead me to meet it with the most Zealous concurrence. In all events, Sir, it is with me to Declare that, if War must prevail I shall endeavour to render its Miseries as light to the People of this Continent as the circumstances of such a Condition will possibly permit.

I am much concerned to find that private and unauthorized persons have on both sides given way to those passions which ought to have received the strongest and most effectual Controul, and which have begot Acts of Retaliation, which without proper preventions, may have an extent equally Calamitous and dishonorable to both Parties, tho, as it should seem, more extensively pernicious to the Natives and settlers of this Country.

How much soever, Sir, we may differ in other respects, upon this one point we must perfectly concert, being alike interested to preserve the Name of Englishman from Reproach, and individuals from Experiencing such unnecessary Evils as can have no Effect upon a General Decision, every proper Measure which may tend to prevent these criminal Excesses in Individual[s], I shall ever be ready to embrace, and as an advance on my part, I have, as the first Act of my Command inlarged Mr Livingston and have written to his Father upon the Subject of such Excesses as have passed in New Jersey, desiring his concurrence in such Measures as even under the Conditions of War, the common Interests of Humanity require.

I am further to acquaint you, Sir, that it was my Intention to have sent this day a similar Letter of Compliment to Congress, but am informed it is previously Necessary to obtain a passport from your Excellency, which I therefore hope to receive, if you have no Objection, for the Passage of Mr Morgann to Philadelphia for the above purpose. I have the Honor to be with great Respect Your Excellency’s Most Obedient servt

Guy Carleton

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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