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not give offence, being intended only to exculpate myself from misrepresentation. I beg leave again to assure you that I have suffered much by this very close confinement, particularly in my health, which is almost destroyed; and I hope, for that reason, you will be so kind as to grant this earnest solicitation for enlargement. Any restrictions you think proper shall be inviolably observed by, gentlemen, with due respect, your most obedient and most humble servant,


P. S. Being restricted from pen and ink, I am obliged to write with a lead pencil, which probably may render this illegible; if so, I could wish to be brought before you, where I will engage to be as candid as if upon honour, or even on oath.


[Read April 30, 1776.]

Philadelphia Jail, April 29, 1776.

GENTLEMEN: I make no doubt, from what I have heard lately, but that I have been represented to you in a very odious and desperate light; but in justice to myself must say that few men lament the commencement and dreadful continuance of the present unhappy disputes between Great Britain and her American Colonies more than I do; and no man wishes more for a speedy reconciliation upon an honourable and firm basis, that both may revert to their former happy state, which all the world besides so much envied. However, induced by the opportunity and request of my uncle, Doctor McLean, I shall give you an exact account of the circumstances that caused me to enter upon this unfortunate expedition: Finding a northern climate necessary for the recovery of my health, I took passage from St. Augustine with the Fourteenth Regiment, and arrived in Norfolk some time in October last, still intending to take the first opportunity of proceeding north from thence to Boston, where I meant to have joined his Majesty’s Army. His Excellency Lord Dunmore finding this my intention, offered me a commission in a new regiment in this intended expedition with Colonel Connolly, which I accepted; but at the same time must inform you that I never understood, nor have I any reason to think, that Colonel Connolly had any such orders as to bring down the Indians indiscriminately upon the inhabitants, much less upon defenceless women and children, as is reported. And notwithstanding my sincere and real attachment to the British Constitution, I freely own and say, that I would have no share in such an undertaking. On the 20th of November last I was taken prisoner, ever since which time I have been closely confined, so that my health is now greatly impaired thereby; often seized with sudden sickness, pains, faintings, with loss of appetite, and formerly a spitting of blood, and am apprehensive that in a short time even my life will be endangered; for this reason, gentlemen, I would beg the favour of you to admit me to an enlargement oh a parole, upon such honourable terms as you may demand, and, if granted, I shall strictly adhere to, until exchanged by mutual agreement or these unhappy disputes otherwise determined.

In great expectation that you will release me from this most disagreeable situation, I am, gentlemen, your most obedient and humble servant,



Philadelphia, February 8, 1776.

GENTLEMEN: I have for some time past been indulged with the privilege of walking in the Jail for the benefit of the air, and flattered myself that such enlargement would tend to facilitate my recovery; but unhappily find myself disappointed. My infirm state of health and present condition cannot fail to touch the humanity of every feeling individual; and in whatever light I may appear as an enemy, yet my distress as a prisoner, aggravated by the cruel addition of pining sickness, must command the attention of every generous heart.

My difference in political opinion, and the causes instigating me to action, however criminal they may appear, I can, with the integrity of a man of honour, assert arose from a sense of duty and gratitude too powerful to be combatted by any contrary arguments.

I have now languished near four months in close imprisonment, and my physician has never given over his visits as ineffectual towards my recovery without exercise and the open air. I shall not presume to dictate to you, gentlemen, but cannot avoid intimating that my treatment appears particularly severe. Conscious as I am of unblemished honour, when the security of my person is demanded my sensibility is deeply wounded to find you prefer the strength of a Jail to effect that purpose. Political reasons may urge this severity; but permit me to assure you that, whatever may be your determination with regard to me hereafter, I shall be equally ready to obey your summons if enlarged upon parole, as immured within these walls.

If you will be good enough to allow me to attend my brother into the country for the benefit of my health, and prescribe such bounds as you may judge proper, my honour shall inviolably determine me to pursue your directions. However different we are in sentiment, there remains no doubt of the sincerity of his political professions; and therefore in the hands of such a person, who will become responsible for my appearance whenever demanded, my person will be perfectly at your disposal. Whether I am to be admitted to a chance of recovery of health, or sentenced to drag on a miserable existence (possibly) for a few weeks longer, is what I flatter myself you will be kind enough speedily to determine upon.

I am, gentlemen, respectfully, your most obedient, humble servant,


March 9th.—I visited Major Connolly yesterday, and found him still so much disordered that I fear nothing will effectually cure him but such exercise as cannot easily be had within the enclosure of the Jail. Riding on horseback, I believe, is the only remedy that will remove the cause of his disorder, which is occasioned entirely by a relaxation of his nerves.



Amwell, New-Jersey, April 29, 1776.

SIR: I received your favour of the 20th instant, with the resolve of Congress respecting the purchase of pork. I immediately sent off two men to buy and engage the quantity ordered. I have engaged between five and six hundred barrels, and a quantity of gammons, which shall forward to General Schuyler as fast as possible. One of the men I sent out to buy pork is not yet returned; what he has bought I do not yet know. I shall buy and forward all I can. If my orders had been sooner, it would have been in my power to have purchased the quantity much lower and sooner. I had a large part of it myself, but sold most part of it before I received your orders, for the use of the troops at Amboy and Staten-Island.

I intended coming to Philadelphia myself this week, but am obliged to go immediately to New-York, to pay off and settle with the two Jersey Battalions, who, I am informed, are both ordered to Canada.

Have sent the bearer, Mr. James Wright, for the money; please to give him an order on the Treasurer for fifteen

* This deplorable condition to which I was reduced at length moved even the iron heart of the Jailer to compassion, and he entreated me to make application to the Congress for the preservation of life; observing, that although he was restricted from allowing me pen, ink, and paper, he would send me a pencil and a card.

Determined never to acknowledge or submit to the authority of the Congress, unless by compulsion, I was much at a loss in what manner or for what purpose to address them; and I concluded only to request that they would cither render my confinement supportable, or order me to immediate execution, which I infinitely preferred to my present situation of being destroyed by inches. This I transmitted to them by the Jailer, written with a black-lead pencil upon the back of a common playing card.

They then ordered me to be brought before them; and excepting some insidious attempts to corrupt my principles, behaved towards me very politely, making apologies for what had past, and promising better treatment in future, at the same time declaring their astonishment at my desperate attempt, as they called it, of reaching Detroit or Illinois alone (for I had not divulged the circumstance about Barclay) and on foot, at that rigorous season of the year, through a barbarous and hostile country, and without friends, money, or resources.

But although they promised to render my confinement more supportable, yet I was ordered back to prison almost in the same situation as before, for my situation was very little amended by them.—SMYTH’S Tour, II. 286.

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