George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Hancock, 6 December 1776

To John Hancock

Trenton Decr 6th 1776


I have not received any intelligence of the Enemy’s movements since my Letter of Yesterday; from every information, they still remain at Brunswic, except some of their parties who are advanced a small distance on this side. to day I shall set out for Princeton myself, unless something should occur to prevent me, which I do not expect.

By a Letter of the 4th Inst. from a Mr Caldwell, a Clergyman & a Staunch friend to the Cause & who has fled from Eliz. Town & taken refuge in the Mountains about Ten miles from thence, I am inform’d that Genl or Lord Howe was expected in that Town to publish pardon & peace. His words are, “I have not seen his Proclamation, but can only say, he gives 60 days of Grace & Pardons from the Congress down to the Committee. No one man in the Continent is to be denied his Mercy.[”] In the language of this Good man, the Lord deliver us from his mercy.1

Your Letter of the 3d by major Livingston was duly received. before it came to hand, I had wrote to Genl Howe about Govr Franklins exchange, but am not certain whether the Letter could not be recovered.2 I dispatched a messenger instantly for that purpose. I have the Honor to be Sir Yr Most Obedt St

Go: Washington

LS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; Df, in Harrison’s writing, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Congress read this letter on 7 Dec. and referred it to the Board of War (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 6:1009).

1This letter has not been found. For the proclamation that Lord Howe and Gen. William Howe issued on 30 Nov. offering pardons to any rebelling American who took an oath of allegiance to the king during the next sixty days, see Force, American Archives description begins Peter Force, ed. American Archives. 9 vols. Washington, D.C., 1837–53. description ends , 5th ser., 3:927–28. James Caldwell (1734–1781), a native of Charlotte County, Va., who graduated from the College of New Jersey in 1759, was ordained a Presbyterian minister two years later and became pastor of the Presbyterian church at Elizabeth, N.J., in 1762. Caldwell served as chaplain of the 3d New Jersey Regiment from February to November 1776. Forced into exile by the recent British occupation of Elizabeth, Caldwell soon settled with his family at Springfield, N.J., where he acted as an assistant deputy quartermaster until 1780 (see Nathanael Greene to Moore Furman, 6 May 1779, in Greene Papers description begins Richard K. Showman et al., eds. The Papers of General Nathanael Greene. 13 vols. Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005. description ends , 3:456–57; Greene to GW, 30 Jan. 1780, ibid., 5:329; and Caldwell to Greene, 30 Jan. 1780, ibid., 329–31). Caldwell moved to Connecticut Farms (now Union), N.J., in early 1780, and in June of that year his wife Hannah Ogden Caldwell was shot and killed by an enemy soldier during a British raid on that town. In the fall of 1780 Caldwell became a member of the New Jersey council. He was shot to death in November 1781 by an American sentry at Elizabethport during an argument over a package.

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