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Thomas Jefferson to His Excellency Gen Washington

In Council, Oct. 8, 1779.


In mine of the second of the present month, written in the instant of Colonel Mathews’ delivery of your letter, I informed you what had been done on the subject of Governor Hamilton and his companions previous to that moment. I now enclose you an advice of Council, in consequence of the letter you were pleased to enclose me, from the British commissary of prisoners, with one from Lord Rawdon; also a copy of my letter to Colonel Mathews, enclosing, also, the papers therein named. The advice of Council to allow the enlargement of prisoners, on their giving a proper parole, has not been recalled, nor will be, I suppose, unless something on the part of the enemy should render it necessary. I rather expect, however, that they will see it their interest to discontinue this kind of conduct. I am afraid I shall hereafter, perhaps be obliged to give your Excellency some trouble in aiding me to obtain information of the future usage of our prisoners. I shall give immediate orders for having in readiness every engine which the enemy have contrived for the destruction of our unhappy citizens, captivated by them. The presentiment of these operations is shocking beyond expression. I pray Heaven to avert them: but nothing in this world will do it, but a proper conduct in the enemy. In every event, I shall resign myself to the hard necessity under which I shall act.

I have the honor to be, with great regard and esteem,

your Excellency’s
most obedient and
most humble servant,
Th: Jefferson.