George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Lynch, 5 February 1776

From Thomas Lynch

New York Feby 5. 1776

Dear Sir

You have doubtless heard of my being here on a Com[mitte]e of Congress the object was to consult with Genl Lee & the People of this Place on the best manner of securing it, God knows there is ample room for it. every thing is wanting, The Strong Apathy that hold Congress in fetters is still more forceable here, however luckily Clinton is come without Force, he has none but the Mercury and one Transport Brig.

I mentioned to you some Time ago some Propositions, which Lord Drummond had been talking to me of.1 Genl Robinson writes to him by Clinton that he (Clinton) is very desireous of being Instrumental in bringing about the Same End, it is mysterious to me how such a Man shoud be sent on such an Errand be it as it may, it will not produce any Remission of our using the present Moment to strengthen ourselves & weaken our Enemies.

Lord Drummonds great Point is to get some Member of Congress to go home, to inform the Cabinet of the real desires and Intentions of that Body respecting the Reestablishment of Peace, to promote this Purpose he has desired me to enclose you a Letter which, after you have read, if you think it can do no harm you will be so kind as to forward to Robinson & to send his Answer to his Lordship under your Cover, Robinson will doubtless send it open to you.2

Were I to guess at my Lords Motives it woud be that Lord North and his Scottish Friends found that their Places were in danger and that there is no way left to secure them but by restoring the Nation to that State in which alone little Minds can rule it vizt Peace and Quiet. indeed every Paper I have seen seem tending that way.

My best Compliments attend your Ladies & Family. Dear Sir your most Obedt Serv.

Tho. Lynch

ALS, DLC:GW; Sprague transcript, DLC:GW.

2GW did not forward Lord Drummond’s letter of this date to Brig. Gen. James Robertson, the British barrack master general at Boston. Instead, he sent it to Congress in his letter to Hancock of 14 Feb., an action that embarrassed the delegates who had conferred with Drummond and contributed greatly to the failure of Drummond’s peace plan. See Klein, “Failure of a Mission,” description begins Milton M. Klein. “Failure of a Mission: The Drummond Peace Proposal of 1775.” Huntington Library Quarterly 35 (1971–72): 343–80. description ends 364–70. Drummond’s letter to Robertson reads: “Just as I was sitting down to write to you, I received yours by Genl Clinton but have not as yet had an Opportunity of seeing him.

“During the very few moments I was with you at Boston, I expressd my wish of being able to make known at Philadelphia the Disposition in England towards an Accommodation upon Liberal terms and such as were founded in Equity and Candour.

“You then concur’d with me in thinking that however much those Gentlemen whose Province it now is to think for the Public might be held up as aiming at a total Seperation, they had as their Sole Object such a Reconciliation as woud give a Constitutional Security to their Children.

“In this Opinion I think we were not deceivd—From all the Conversation I had at Philadelphia with those Gentlemen who allow me I hope to rank myself among the number of their Friends I have every Reason to think them most seriously disposed towards Reconciliation—From a Conviction of this I have pressed the Setting on foot a Negotiation, nor am I without Hopes of Success.

“Shoud such an Event take Place, it is not impossible but a Deputation from hence may be found expedient, and in that Case a Passport requisite for a Security against English Cruisers.

“Such a Passport must be left blank for filling up Names—and sent by the same Conveyance that this Passes thro. It will be needless to caution You against Delay.

“My slight accquaintance with General How and Admral Shouldhan will furnish you with an Apology for not making a more direct application.”

In a postscript Drummond added: “Let me guard you against letting this go to the Public till we see how far my hopes are well grounded” (DNA:PCC, item 152; see also the copy in DLC:GW).

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