George Washington Papers

From George Washington to George Clinton, 8 October 1778

To George Clinton

Fishkill 8th October 1778.

Dear Sir

I recd yours of yesterday inclosing a letter from General Nixon and a deposition respecting the abuse of several inhabitants of this State by some Officers of the Army.1 I shall immediately order the Officers to be secured untill Civil process shall issue against them.2

A flag Boat was standing up the River yesterday, with directions to proceed as far as Fishkill landing to take off the family and effects of Mr Cuyler of Albany. I understood from Mr Cuyler, when he went into New York himself, that his family and effects were not to be permitted to go down untill he had cleared up some matters respecting the exchange of himself and Major Lush.3 I therefore ordered the Boat to be stopped below West point. If it is proper that Mr Cuylers effects should be sent to him, be pleased to direct them to be carried from Fishkill to the Boat below West point, as there are many good Reasons why the persons on board of her should not have an opportunity of coming further up and viewing the Works.

I send you by the Express a number of packets directed for your Excellency—the House of Assembly, and the different Officers of Government. They came out yesterday by a flag and contain a Manifesto and proclamation, by the British Commissioners, of a very extraordinary nature.4 I have the Honor to be with the greatest Regard Yr Excellency’s most obt Servt

Go: Washington

p.s. Be pleased to write a line to Genl Putnam if the Boat is to return with Mr Cuylers effects, that he may take off the Guard.5 I shall return to Fredericksburg this Afternoon, if the Weather is good, at which place I shall be happy to receive your favr.

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, ViMtvL; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. The abstract of this letter that Clinton enclosed in his letter to William Malcom of 24 Oct. has not been identified (see Hastings and Holden, Clinton Papers description begins Hugh Hastings and J. A. Holden, eds. Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804. 10 vols. 1899–1914. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends , 4:195–96).

2For this order, see GW to Alexander McDougall, this date.

3The movement of this flag-of-truce boat up the Hudson River had been reported in Charles Scott’s letter to GW of 7 October. For the proposed exchange of Henry Cuyler for Stephen Lush, see George Clinton to GW, 19 September.

4The British peace commissioners’ manifesto and proclamation of 3 Oct., which was issued as a one-page broadside and was reprinted in many newspapers, granted a general pardon to rebelling Americans who on or before 11 Nov. withdrew themselves from any civil or military service in support of the rebellion. The commissioners also offered “to the colonies at large, or separately, a general or separate peace, with the revival of their antient governments secured against any future infringements, and protected for ever from taxation by Great-Britain” (Early American Imprints description begins American Antiquarian Society. Early American Imprints, 1639–1800. New Canaan, Conn., 1983. Microfiche. description ends , no. 15832; for additional text from this manifesto and proclamation, see GW to Henry Laurens of 22–23 Oct., and note 17 to that document).

5Clinton wrote Israel Putnam later on this date: “Henry Cuyler, James Dole, & Alex’r White being duly exchanged for Major Lush & Messrs. Vantassel & Maybe of this State, I gave them with their Families & effects Permission to pass to N. York with a Flag on Tuesday [6 Oct.] with the Officer to command the Flag to be appointed by the Commanding Officer at W. Point.

“I am this Moment favored with a Line from Genl. Washington informing me that a Boat with a Flag coming up from the Enemy for Mr. Cuyler & his Family is stopped below the Fort. I am extremely happy this Caution is taken, for tho Mr. Cuyler & the other Persons are completely exchanged and I have no Objection ag’t their passing to N. York with their Families & Effects as soon as convenient, yet I have Reason to believe the Enemy must have other views in send’g up the Flag than barely for Mr. Cuyler, as Mr. Cuyler informed me on his Return lately from N. York where he had been to perfect his Exchange, that he had Permission to proceed to New York with the sloop engaged here for that Purpose” (Hastings and Holden, Clinton Papers description begins Hugh Hastings and J. A. Holden, eds. Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804. 10 vols. 1899–1914. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends 4:149–50; see Israel Putnam’s pass for Daniel Putnam, 9 Oct., in Hastings and Holden, Clinton Papers description begins Hugh Hastings and J. A. Holden, eds. Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804. 10 vols. 1899–1914. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends 4:204; George Clinton to William Malcom, 24 Oct., in Hastings and Holden, Clinton Papers description begins Hugh Hastings and J. A. Holden, eds. Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804. 10 vols. 1899–1914. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends 4:195–96; and Israel Putnam to GW, 18 Oct.).

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