From Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Annapolis 26th Septr 1775
At the request of the bearer Mr Key, I have presumed to trouble you with this letter, to introduce to your notice & countenance that young gentleman, who, I flatter myself, will endeavour to deserve your good opinion, & favour.1 Should hostilities be suspended and a negotiation take place this winter, I hope to have the pleasure of seeing you in this city on your way to Virginia. If a treaty is but once set on foot, I think, it must terminate in a lasting & happy peace; an event, I am persuaded, you most earnestly desire, as every good citizen must, in which number you rank foremost: for who so justly deserving of that most glorious of all titles, as the man singled out by the unanimous voice of his country, for his love & attachment to it, and great abilities and placed in a Station of the most exalted & dangerous Preeminence. If we can not obtain a peace on safe & just terms, my next wish is, that you may extort by force from our enemies what their policy, & justice should have granted, and that you may long live to enjoy the fame of the best, the noblest deed, the defending & securing the liberties of your country. I am with the greatest esteem Sir Yr most obedt hum. Servt
Ch: Carroll of Carrollton
P.S. I desire my most respectful compliments to Generals Lee & Gates—I should have done myself the pleasure of writing to the former by this opportunity, but that I knew he has other things to do than to read letters of mere compliment. this city affords nothing new.
ALS (facsimile), in Magazine of American History, 22 (1899), 356. Jared Sparks took this letter from the Washington Papers and gave it to someone in England (Kate Mason Rowland, ed., The Life of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, 1737–1832, with His Correspondence and Public Papers, 2 vols. [New York, 1898], 1:139, n.1.).
Charles Carroll of Carrollton (1737–1832), a wealthy landowner who was barred from political office before the Revolution because he was a Roman Catholic, held several important public positions during the war years. He served in most of the Maryland conventions between 1774 and 1775, became a member of the colony’s committee of safety in July 1775, and on 15 Feb. 1776 was named by Congress one of three commissioners sent to Canada to promote union with the Canadians. Carroll sat in Congress as a delegate from July 1776 to June 1778 and served nearly all of that time on the Board of War.
1. John Ross Key (1754–1821) of Frederick County, Md., was a second lieutenant in Capt. Thomas Price’s company of riflemen.