George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Robert Morris, 6 June 1777

To Robert Morris

Head Quarters Middle Brook 6th June 1777

Dear Sir

Inclosed you have a letter for Major Apollos Morris which I have left open for your inspection, after reading it, be pleased to deliver it.

I will just remark, that the political Queries referred to were addressed to Lord and Sir William Howe, and Major Morris declared that if they refused to give him an answer he should look upon it as a tacit Confession that they had no other terms or poers than those thrown out by the first proclamation and prescribed by the Act of Parliament. And that when he was convinced that they had none but those of receiving submissions and granting pardons, he should not hesitate to take an active part, as he should think the Americans under such Circumstances perfectly justifiable1 in their Declaration and Assertion of Independence.

An Answer to the Queries has been refused, and yet upon Mr Allens bare assertion, whose interest, from the part he himself has acted, it is to mislead and deceive, Major Morris fixes his Opinion that we are in the Wrong, and that he cannot consistent with the dictates of his Conscience take part with us.

I am aware, that upon my recommendation to him to leave the Country, he will apply for liberty to go to New York. But that must not by any means be permitted, for before he threw off the Mask he made himself Master of too many of our Secrets, especially in the military way.

He made a shift to get here by the West Indies and I think he should be obliged to take the same way back or to go directly to Europe. The sooner this is done the better, for I look upon him as a dangerous person, and as one that will take every opportunity of gathering information that may operate to our disadvantage.2 I am with the highest Esteem Dear Sir Yr most obt Servt.

Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1At this place in the draft, Tilghman first wrote “right.” He then struck out that word and wrote “justifiable” above the line.

2Congress read this letter on 9 June and resolved “That General Arnold be directed to put Major Appolos Morris under immediate arrest and confinement, until the further order of this Congress.” This letter and the enclosed letter from GW to Apollos Morris of this date then were referred 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 , 8:428–29). Congress on 20 June resolved that Apollos Morris be paroled in Philadelphia “until an opportunity shall offer for the said major to take passage to Europe or the West Indies, with the consent and approbation of the Marine Committee” (ibid., 489).

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