George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Clinton, 9 October 1780

New York October 9th 1780.


Persuaded it is for the Interest of Mankind that a Correspondence should exist between Generals Commanding adverse Armies, I do, without waiting Your return to applications of an earlier date made on my part on a Subject very interesting to me, answer without delay Your Letter of the 6th Instant.

I have heard the report you mention, that a number of persons under the Capitulation of Charles Town, had entered into a plot for the destruction of the place where they were protected—and that the Officer Commanding there had found it necessary to interfere; I have this only from common fame, no formal Report has been made to me on the Subject; But as I am well acquainted with Lord Cornwallis’s humanity, I cannot entertain the least apprehension that he will stain the lustre of the King’s Arms by Acts of Cruelty. The friends of those persons, under the description you give of them, need be under no fears for their safety. Lord Cornwallis is incapable of straining the Laws to take away the lives or liberties of the innocent; If any forced Construction be put upon the laws by his Lordship it will be in favor of the Accused, and every plea their friends can offer for them will be humanely heard and respected. I am Sir Your most humble Servt

H. Clinton

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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