George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Samuel Huntington, 27 January 1780

From Samuel Huntington

Philadelphia January 27. 1780

sir,

Your letter of the 24th Instant was duly received and laid before Congress.1

After the most mature deliberation, Congress from a full conviction of your knowledge of the subject, and that the honour and interest of the United States in the matter of negotiating and settling a Cartel may safely be trusted in your hands, have passed the enclosed resolves, and committed the whole to your prudence & discretion.2

By the second resolution they have repealed the final3 part of the resolution of the 11th Instant,4 leaving the settlement of ⟨the⟩ Accounts to negotiation and that the demand of the money at this Juncture by the Treasury might not embarrass you, they have ordered the Board of Treasury to suspend the requisition, until the proposed negotiation for exchange of prisoners is finished; so that you are left to act upon the common principles of equality, Justice, and propriety, as if that Act had never passed.

As our Treasury is empty of hard Money & Congress relied on the payment of the Debt due for the Convention Troops to defray the Expences & Debts of our Officers in Captivity, I trust that Circumstanc⟨es⟩ will not escape your Excellencies Notice; though at the same time you will be satisfied it is the intention of Congress a demand of that debt should not be made an Ultimatum, or a preliminary to prevent a Cartel in other respects admissible.

As Congress have been pleased to refer this negotiation wholly to your Excellency without any Direction or expressing their sense on any particular Articles which you had requested,

The Event of the proceedings on the Subject must meet with their approbation. I have the honour to be with great respect your Excy’s hble Servant

Sam. Huntington President

LS, DLC:GW; LB, DNA:PCC, item 14; copy, DLC:GW.

1Huntington is referring to GW’s letter to him of 19 January.

2The enclosed document, dated “In Congress” 26 Jan. and signed by Charles Thomson, secretary of Congress, reads: “Resolved, That Genl Washington be Authorised to proceed to negotiate an exchange of prisoners with all convenient dispatch, on such terms in all respects as he may judge expedient.

“That the resolutions of Congress of the 11th Inst. respecting the penalty for Nonpayment of the money due from the Convention troops be repealed; And that the Board of Treasury suspend the requisition for payment of said money until the proposed negotiation for Exchange of prisoners is finished” (DLC:GW; see also JCC, description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends 16:89–94).

3On the LB and the copy, this word is “penal.”

4For the resolution of 11 Jan., see JCC, description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends 16:39–40. A copy of this resolution (sent to GW by the Board of Treasury on 14 Jan.) is in DLC:GW.

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