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Greene’s Proclamation Concerning Col. Hayne

A Proclamation,— Whereas on the fourth day of the present month, Colonel Isaac Hayne, commanding a regiment of militia in the service of the United States, was captured by a party of British troops, and after a rigorous confinement in the provost of Charleston, most cruelly and unjustifiably condemned and executed, in open violation of the cartel agreed upon between the commanders of the two armies for the relief and exchange of prisoners of war.

And whereas, it is no less the duty than the inclination of the army to resent every violence offered to the good citizens of America, and disclaim those distinctions set up for discriminating between different orders of men found in arms, in support of the independence of the United States, and as these violences are intended to deter the good people from acting agreeably to their political interest and private inclination, and as the mode of trial and punishment which follows these discriminations are no less opposite to the spirit of the British constitution, than they are an unwarrantable attack upon the laws of humanity, and the rights of free citizens of these United States; I have therefore thought fit to issue this my proclamation, expressly declaring it to be my intention to retaliate for all such inhuman insults, as often as they may occur.

And whereas the enemy seem willing to expose a few deluded inhabitants who adhere to their interest, if they can but have the opportunity of sacrificing the many who appear in support of our cause; I do further declare it my intention to make British Regular Officers, and not the deluded inhabitants who have joined their army, subjects of retaliation. But while I am determined to resent every insult that may be offered to the United States, for supporting their independence, I cannot but regret the necessity of appealing to measures so hurtful to the feelings of humanity, and so contrary to those liberal principles on which I would choose to carry on the war.

Given at head-quarters at Camden, the 26th day of August, 1781, and in the sixth year of American Independence.

By the General’s command,

Nathanael Greene.

Will Pierce, Jr., Aid and Secretary.