George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Guy Carleton, 22 June 1782

Head Quarters June 22. 1782


Your favor of the 20th Instant I have had the honor to receive.

Could I view your Excellencys proposal for a meeting, as intended to involve objects of a Military Nature, I should have no objection to complying with your request, but if its purpose embraces only points of civil discussion (as would seem from your Letter) I conceive it wholly unnecessary for me to make a Compliance.

As I had the honor, in my last, of transmitting the circumstances relating to Hetfield and Badgely, to inform you, that finding them intirely in the hands of the civil Power, it was not within my Line to say any further on the subject—so from your Letter, it becomes necessary for me now, to be very explicit in mentioning to your Excellency, that in matters of civil resort I am not authorized in any case to make the least interference—The civil Laws within the several States, having been passed without any Agency of mine, I am equally excluded from any part in their Execution; neither is it to be supposed that they are under any controul or influcence from me. The Civil Power therefore of the States only being competent to the discussion of civil points I shall leave them solely to their consideration, being determined to confine my self to the proper line of my duty which is purely Military.

Previous therefore to a closure with your proposal, I have to request, that your Excellency will be pleased to declare, whether it was your intention that the Gentlemen whom you wished to meet together should be convened in a Military capacity only, and be confined solely to the discussion of Military points—If so, I shall immediately on receipt of your Answer nominate one or more Gentlemen, who shall be authorized to attend such persons as may be appointed on your part, at Dobbs Ferry, the most convenient intermediate post for both parties, and shall feel my self very happy, if by a discussion of any Military points which may then be proposed, any measures can be adopted for humanizing as much as possible the Calamities attendant on a State of War. I have the honor to be Sir Your Excellency’s Most Obedient servt

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