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Henry Laurens Committed to the Tower

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol II.  Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

Mr. Laurens was committed to the Tower on the 6th of October. The commitment by the three Secretaries of State, ran thus:—

These are, in his Majesty’s name, to authorize you to receive into your custody the person of Henry Laurens, Esq., sent herewith on suspicion of high treason, whom you are to keep safe until he shall be delivered by due course of law; for so doing, this is your warrant.

Dated at Whitehall, the 6th of October, 1780.

G. Germaine.

To Charles, Earl Cornwallis,
Constable of the Tower of London, or his Deputy.

Thus far the London paper, on which we cannot but remark on the equivocation of the warrant, which says, on suspicion of high treason, by which it appears that those three eastern wise men, the Secretaries of State, could not tell whether it be treason or not, or at least they are afraid to call it so, lest it should turn out a glorious revolution supported and approved by all Europe. The circumstances of Mr. Laurens’ commitment are thus related:—On his arrival in England he was attended by the above secretaries, who, after informing him of their rank and character, asked him, “Is your name Henry Laurens?” “It is.” “Are you the same Henry Laurens who was President of the American Congress?” “I am.” “We are ordered by the King and Council to examine you, and have certain questions to propose to you.” “Your lordships may save yourselves the trouble of an examination, as I think it my place to answer no questions you put.” “Sir, we are directed to commit you prisoner to the Tower.” “I am ready to attend.” This is so much like the decisive character of Mr. Laurens that we give it to the public on the presumption of its being a fact.1


1 New Jersey Gazette, December 20.