George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Stephens Smith, 26 August 1783

New York 26th August 1783


The Books which your Excellency requested should be forwarded by your letter of the [   ] instant were committed to the care of Colo. Cobb—I should have accompanied them with a letter but was confined to my bed with a severe fever from which I have only within a few days recovered.

The [Caps] for the boys should have been forwarded before this had not the workman I employed undertook a matter for which he was not sufficiently acquainted with I was oblig’d to return them [so] soon after they were finished and employ [another person]; they shall be forwarded as soon as they are completed.

Inclosed are two Letters which came in the [   ] from England—About six thousand Hessians have sailed for Europe and all the artillery & stores are nearly embarked and will sail immediately for the West Indies[.] Sir Guy Carleton appears anxious to effect the Evacuation speedily. On Saturday last he informed me of his determination to move with all possible expedition and said that the only thing which detained him was the Refugees whose situation Humanity obliged him to attend to they are discharging great numbers of their soldiers many of which have applied to me to know whether they can be permitted to remain here[.] I have taken the Liberty to give them encouragement and must observe to your Excellency that in Consequence of numberless warm publication[s] in our papers and the unconstitutional proceedings of Committees I suppose not less than fifteen thousand inhabitants will be drove from this Country who are not conscious of any other Crime than that of residing within the British Lines some perhaps have acted tho in general with reluctance and who I should suppose might be excused upon this principle that the Subjects of any State or Country owe allegiance to the Powers under which they reside and are obliged to Lend their assistance when call’d for in return for protection and the benefit of Society. However this is an opinion that the people at large will not admit of in consequence of which upon the evacuation we shall find a City destitute of Inhabitants and a settlement made upon our Frontiers by a people whose being Sour’d by the severity of their Treatment will prove troublesome neighbours and perhaps lay the formation of future Contests which I suppose would be for the interest of our [Cause] to avoid. I am with great Respect Your Excellency’s most Obliged Humble Servt

W.S. Smith

DLC: Papers of George Washington.

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