Thomas Jefferson Papers

Form of Parole Offered to Henry Hamilton, [1 October 1779]

Form of Parole Offered to Henry Hamilton

[1 October 1779]

I do promise on my parole of honor that I will not depart out of the limits which shall from time to time be prescribed to me by the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, or any other person having authority from him to prescribe or alter such limits: that I will not say or do any thing directly or indirectly to the prejudice of the United States of America or any of them: that I will hold no conference with any prisonners of War, other than those fixed at the same quarters with me, but in the presence of such person as the Governor or some one acting by authority from him shall appoint, nor send nor receive any Letter or message nor communicate any Intelligence to or from any person but with the privity and permission of the Governor, or other person authorized by him for that purpose, to whom all Letters or other papers coming to my Hands shall be delivered before their Seals shall be broken or they shall be otherwise opened: And this promise which I make on the faith of a Gentleman shall be binding on me untill I shall be enlarged from my Captivity by Exchange or otherwise with the consent of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Virginia Sct:

Under the faith of the above parole   is discharged from his confinement in the Public Jail, is to prepare himself immediately and to take his departure with such Gentleman as shall be appointed to escort him to Hanover Court House, where he is to continue untill further Orders, not going more than one Mile from the said Court House in any direction.

The County Lieutenant of Hanover has authority to inspect and licence all Letters to and from the said

signd. Th: Jefferson

A true Copy of the Original

henry hamilton
jehu hay

Tr (Brit. Mus.: Add. MSS 24,320). Endorsed: “Parole tendered to the Prisoners of War in confinement in the Jail of Williamsburgh Octr 2d. 1779.” Another Tr is in DLC.

The date of the endorsement is in error, as is shown by TJ’s letter to Washington, 1 Oct., and by Hamilton’s own report in 1781, which states that this form of parole was offered on 1 Oct. (George Rogers Clark Papers, 1771–1781, p. 202). Hamilton gave this reason for his declining the parole: “As we had suffer’d already from the simple asservations of obscure persons, one of whom John Dodge was known by several Virginia[n]s to be an unprincipled and perjured renegado, and as we had experienced the inhumanity of the executive power, It plainly appeard that this parole was offer’d from no other motive than to lay us open to the malice of the first informer, when we should probably have been imprisoned as before, with the additional Stigma of having broken a parole, which it was next to impossible in all its parts” (same, p. 202–3). Sometime during this year presumably, TJ drafted another form of parole, perhaps used for officers of the Convention army, which is printed at the end of 1779, below. On the Hamilton case generally, see TJ to Bland, 8 June 1779, and references there.

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