George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General William Howe, 16 July 1776

From Major General William Howe

Head Quarters Staten Island 16th July 1776.


I am to acknowledge the Receipt of a Letter from you yesterday, enclosing a Narrative of certain Occurences in Canada last May, with the several Resolutions thereupon: Being hopeful that the Facts alledged will prove to have been founded upon a Misrepresentation I do not enter upon the Subject more especially as the Transactions in Canada where General Carleton commands do not come under my Controul: However I beg Leave generally to observe that it is not only my Duty as a Soldier, but my Disposition as a Man, and I can safely answer for the same Sentiments in others, who are entrusted with the Execution of His Majestys Commands in America to discourage and punish all Acts of Cruelty, Rapine or Oppression. Threats of Retaliation might have been spared, & Examples of Moderation will ever be the sharpest reproach to those who violate the Laws of Honor & Humanity.

You, Sir, who regulate your Conduct by those Laws, will I am persuaded exert your Endeavours to cultivate the most liberal Sentiments, among all who place themselves under your Command. I have the Honor to be Sir, Your most Obedt Humle Servt

W: H:

Copy, P.R.O.: Colonial Office Papers; copy, P.R.O.: Carleton Papers, document 229(1); copy, P.R.O.: Carleton Papers, document 229(2). The copy in the Colonial Office Papers is addressed to “George Washington Esqr. &c. &ca.” Both of the copies in the Carleton Papers are addressed to “General Washington.”

As in the case of the letter that Lord Howe wrote to GW on 13 July, the unfound copy of this letter that was forwarded to GW was refused on this date because its address omitted GW’s military title (see GW’s first letter to Hancock, 17 July; see also Ford, Webb Correspondence and Journals description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford, ed. Correspondence and Journals of Samuel Blachley Webb. 3 vols. New York, 1893–94. description ends , 1:156; Wilson, Heath’s Memoirs description begins Rufus Rockwell Wilson, ed. Heath’s Memoirs of the American War. 1798. Reprint. New York, 1904. description ends , 59; and Clap, “Diary,” 248).

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