From Major General William Phillips
Cambridge [Mass.] August 31st 1778
I have received your very polite letter dated from White plains the 16th instant enclosing a letter to me from Sir Henry Clinton of July the 18th.1
I return you, Sir, my very sincere thanks for the obliging manner with which you explain your not being able to grant me passports to go to New York, and am sure if you imagined it proper for you to do, I should not fail of procuring them.
I certainly much wish to go to New York, my private Affairs are in some confusion—I have not heard from Europe of Twelve Months—have not been able to write particularly since near that time—And you will, Sir, easily imagine that under this description and in this Situation I am anxious to have A free communication by letter with my Friends and Family.
I will take a liberty with you, Sir, which I trust your good nature will excuse—It is to request your opinion whether the Congress would grant me Passports if I desired it—I will be free to own to you, Sir, of whose liberality of Sentiment I have no doubt, that I should make the request without hesitation were I in any degree led to suppose it would be granted, but it would hurt my mind to ask a favour and be refused.
I ask your pardon for giving you this trouble which the ingenuous Character you bear, in part, causes—If it is not improper for you to answer me, I may hope you will—at any rate have the goodness to excuse the liberty I have taken.
If there is nothing in the enclosed letters which Should prevent their being forwarded I will beg you will allow of it.2 I have the honour to be, Sir, with very great personal respect Your most obedient and very humble Servant
1. Phillips received these items on 26 Aug. (see Phillips to Gen. Henry Clinton, 27 Aug., P.R.O., 30/55, Carleton Papers).
2. The enclosed letters have not been identified.