George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the Georgia Delegates in Congress, 2 August 1780

From the Georgia Delegates in Congress

Philadelphia, 2 August, 1780.


We do ourselves the pleasure to enclose to your Excellency, a letter from Governor Burt, of Antigua, respecting Mr Thomas Morris, an officer of the Continental artillery in the Georgia line, to General Prevost, who was supposed to be Commanding Officer in the Southern Department.1 (You will perceive that its object is to liberate Mr John Burke, a citizen of that Island, who is your prisoner, and whose parole he says You took at Cambridge in 1776.[)]2 Mr Morris says he speaks in the highest terms of your treatment of it, and wishes that you would favor his exchange for Mr Morris. The Delegates of Georgia, in addition to a claim upon your attention on account of his having a large family, & having suffered to their knowledge most capitally by the war, would be obliged to your Excellency to propose the Exchange to Sir Henry Clinton.3 We are, Sir, with great respect, Your Excellency’s most ob. Sers.

Geo. Walton.
Edwd Telfair
W. Few


1For the enclosed letter, see William Mathew Burt to Maj. Gen. Augustine Prevost, 15 Jan. 1780, in Great Britain, Historical Manuscripts Commission, Report on American Manuscripts in the Royal Institution of Great Britain, 4 vols. (Dublin, 1904–9), 2:82.

Thomas Morris (d. 1781) commanded an independent company of artillery authorized by Congress in July 1776 to garrison the fort at Sunbury, Ga. (see 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 , 5:521–22). For Morris’s gallant defense of the fort in November 1778, renamed Fort Morris after the action, see Jean-Baptiste de Ternant to GW, 28 Nov. 1778, n.2. Morris became a prisoner when Sunbury fell to the British in January 1779 after the defeat of the main Continental army at Savannah, thirty miles distant.

2John Burke, a passenger on a brig from Antigua in the West Indies, had been taken prisoner when his ship was captured at sea by an American armed schooner early in the war. For his parole, see William Bartlett to GW, 9 Dec. 1775, n.3.

3GW replied on 15 Sept., informing the delegates of his readiness to effect the exchange and release of Burke from the obligations of his parole if Gen. Henry Clinton agreed to the transaction (DLC:GW). GW wrote to Clinton on 17 Sept. (P.R.O. 30/55: Carleton Papers). Clinton replied on 29 Nov., agreeing to the exchange (DLC:GW).

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