George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Benjamin Lincoln, 12 June 1782

Head Quarters, 12 June 1782

Dear General,

Since I had the honor of writing on the subject of the arms, I find that the detention of them arose from a blunder among the officers, and that they do not now pretend that they have any orders on that subject.

The state of our naval prisoners is pitiable indeed, and ought to claim every attention—Their distresses are from several causes—to obviate them and if possible give perfect relief, is now the subject of the deliberations of Congress—The Matter has been some time before them—They find many embarrassments in the Way of a system which will answer their wishes—Indeed until the several States will throw the whole matter into the same hands, under the direction of Congress, and our masters of vessels will, with more punctuality, bring in their prisoners, and until an Agent or Agents are appointed in Europe to receive & support the prisoners landed in the several Ports, I see little prospect of matters becoming much better. Your Excellency is mistaken with respect to the power I have over the marine prisoners; to safe keep is all the connexion I have with them.

I have no complaint to prosecute against Mr Johnson; It was not my wish to have him arrested. If his leaving the camp without permission is not to be noticed, I have no objection to his being discharged.

I am fully in opinion that the British Officers, who obtain permission to go into New York, should not carry in their horses. If any Passports are applied for in future, care will be taken to prevent this.

I think, Sir, you had better give an Order on the Paymaster in favor of Major Villefranche for the fifteen Guineas—I am confined in my draughts on the Paymaster to the pay and rations of the Army; otherwise I should have no doubt of giving the order immediately, for I think the Measure a necessary one, & do approve of his getting the instruments. I have the honor to be My Dr General with perfect esteem your Excellencys most Obedient servant

B. Lincoln

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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