George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Franklin, 10 January 1781

To John Franklin

Head Quarters New Windsor 10 Jany 1781


I am pleased to find by your favor of the 4th instant that you are willing to accept of the Agency for prisoners provided Sir Henry Clinton makes no objection to your returning to New York.1 I shall immediately propose you to him,2 and will acquaint you with his answer as soon as I receive it.3 I am Sir Your most obt Servt

Go: Washington

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

GW had asked Franklin to accept appointment as Continental agent of prisoners in New York City (see GW to Franklin, 28 Dec. 1780).

1On 4 Jan., Franklin had written GW from Philadelphia: “Thy favour of the 28th Ult. I Recd last Evening This Oppertunity happening So Soon that I am not So fully prepared to Reply to the Contents as I wish to be Am much Oblieg’d to my Friend Pintard and happy in that my Conduct has gaind the favourable Oppinon of my Suffering Countrymen who have bin in Captivety in New York My family being Sent out and now Settled in this place Renders my Returne not So desireable but being witness to the Absolute Nessessaty of an Agent for Prisoners I have determind (if there is no One thought of more propper) to Accept of thy Appointment to that Service but as I have (without any Other Cause that I know of than that of Rendering my Countrymen Small Services whilst in Captivety on their private Account) become So Obnoxious to Sr Henry Clinton that I am Something doubtfull his admitg my Returne to the Citty for that purpose which I thot Propper to mention that the Genrall might think of it before I was proposd—if its Agreed too Shall hold my Self in Readeness to Attend thy Orders” (ALS, DLC:GW).

3On 14 Feb., GW wrote Franklin from headquarters at New Windsor: “I am sorry to inform you that Sir Henry Clinton refuses to admit you into New York in the character of Agent for American prisoners. I hope, that the suspence which you have been held in, since my first application to you on the subject, has been attended with no inconvenience to your private concerns” (Df, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW; see also Clinton to GW, 2 Feb.).

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