George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas Johnson, Jr., 30 May 1782

Newbury 30 May 1782

May it please your Excellency

To indulge me while I say

That in the month of March 1781 I was taken a prisoner as set forth in my narrative, continued in Canada untill Sept. when I obtained liberty to return home on Parole which I could effect only by engaging to carry on a Correspondance with them. This was my view to get what intelligence I was able respecting their plans and movements—And in hopes to be exchanged I might be able in a regular way to have given some importance intelligence. Have taken such measures as appeared most likely to effect the same—but as these have hitherto failed, I find the season so far advanced as not to Admit of farther delay, without acquainting your Excellency.

The proposed plans of the Enemy the last Champaign frustrated for want of provisions, They determined to pursue this Spring as early as possible—To that End have used their most unwearied Endeavors with Vermont to prepare the way—which they have in a very great & incredible Degree brot to pass, and is daily increasing—and unless some speedy stop can be put to it I dread the Consequences.

Entreat your Excellency—That if possible by a regular Exchange, I may be enabled to give all the intelligence in my power without hazzarding my Character which Otherwise I am determined to do at the risque of my Honor—My All—and perhaps to the great Injury of hundreds of poor prisoners now in their hands—Having had Experience—Am grieved—To think of their Situation.

This infernal plan of Treachery with Vermont (as I often heard in Canada) was contrived before Ethane Allen left the Brittish, and he was engaged on their Side. It ran thro the Country like a Torrent from New York to Canada and the present temper of Vermont is piece of the Same.

Were the people in general, upon the Grants, this Side the mountains to Declare for New Hampshire (or New York) it would be Contrary to the Agreement of their leading men—and unless protected by your Excellency, the Innocent with the Guilty, would Share a miserable Fate.

This part of the Country being sold by a few designing men—of which a large number are very jealous—Yet but a Small number have by me their informer or otherwise got the Certainty puts the Inhabitants in a most disagreeable Situation—They are desirous of declaring for New Hampshire, many of their leaders earnestly dissuading them against it—keeps us in a tumult, untill I fear the Enemy will get so great advantage as to raise their Standard to the destruction of this part of the Country—They keep their Spies constantly in this quarter without molestation, and know every movement & transmit the same directly to Canada and when matters take a turn Contrary to their minds, we are miserably exposed to their Severest Resentment.

I am entirely devoted to your Excellency’s pleasure—Should my past Conduct meet your Excellency’s approbation, my highest ambition will be satisfied—if not deal with me as your wisdom shall dictate—I most earnestly entreat your Excellency to meditate a moment on my critical and perplexing Situation as well as that of this part of the Country, and that I may receive by Capt. Bayley the Bearer who will be able to give further information—Your Excellencys pleasure in this affair. And beg leave to Subscribe myself your Excellencys most Sincere & most devoted Servant

Thos Johnson

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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