Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John Gordon and John Hull, 14 April 1781

From John Gordon and John Hull

Northumbd. 14th April 1781


Inclosed is a letter from Messrs Ball and Opie requesting the favour of your Excellency to grant them a flag of truce to go on board some of the Enemys vessells in quest of some slaves which they have lost. As the Representatives of this county we think it our duty to inform your Excellency that they are Gentlemen of unexceptionable characters and have from the earliest period of the revolution displayed the warmest attachment for their country. Their fortunes are but small, and the loss they have now sustained will be severely felt by them. Conscious that your Excellency is ever ready to alleviate the distress, and ease the minds of the people under your goverment, we flatter ourselves that you will comply with their requisition.

We have the honour to be wt great respect Your Excellenceys Most Obt. Hbe. Servts

J Gordon

Jno. Hull

RC (Vi); addressed; endorsed in part: “April <16th> 18th 1781” (date of receipt?). Also endorsed, in another hand: “Resolution 3d. Febry inclosed to the G[entle]men.” This endorsement presumably meant that the resolution was sent to Gordon and Hull, though no covering letter either to them or to Ball and Opie has been found; the resolution of 3 Feb. 1781 embodied the unanimous decision of the Council to permit no flags to be granted “for the purpose of solliciting a restitution of plundered property from the enemy.” This resolution is quoted in full in the note to Steuben’s letter to TJ of 21 Feb. 1781 (see Vol. 4: 681). Enclosure: Opie and Hall to TJ, 12 Apr. 1781; printed above under its date.

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