George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the Justices of the Peace of Sussex County, New Jersey, 12 April 1777

To the Justices of the Peace of Sussex County, New Jersey

Head Quarters Morris Town 12th April 1777.


It has been represented to me by Capt. Kinney,1 that there are many people in the County of Sussex, who are really innocent of any Crime or evil design against their Country, but having been seen2 in Company with some notoriously disaffected, who have been tampering with them, they fear they will be considered of their party, and have therefore fled. Capt. Kinney says he is informed, that if they were certain of being well received, they would return to their homes, give any kind of security for their future good Behaviour, and become peacable Inhabitants of the County and State. I therefore think you had better make the Offer of Pardon to such as you think deserve it, and invite them to return. Perhaps by this kind treatment they may be induced to make some discoveries. I thank you for the Care and Attention which I am informed you have paid to the public Business in your County And am Gentn Yr most obt Servt.

Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The draft is addressed “to Norcross Barber & Martin Esqs. Justices of the Peace for the County of Sussex.” The named justices of the peace are William Norcross, Sr. (c.1720–1777), John Barber, and Isaac Martin (c.1736–c.1790). When Gov. William Livingston appointed a new court for Sussex County on 24 May 1777, Barber and Martin were included among the county’s twelve justices of the peace, but Norcross, who died on 5 June 1777, was omitted from the new court (see Commission for Court in Sussex County, 24 May 1777, Prince, Livingston Papers description begins Carl E. Prince et al., eds. The Papers of William Livingston. 5 vols. Trenton and New Brunswick, N.J., 1979–88. description ends , 1:339–41).

1Thomas Kinney (1731–1793) was a captain in the Morris County, N.J., militia.

2In the draft Tilghman first wrote “having been accidently.” He subsequently struck out “accidently” and inserted “seen” above the line.

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