From George Washington to Colonels George Mathews and John Ely and Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel Ramsay, 1 February 1780
To Colonels George Mathews and John Ely and Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel Ramsay
Head Qrs Morris Town Feby 1st 1780Gentn
By the Letter You were so obliging as to bring me from Congress Yeste?r?day,1 I find they have been pleased to authorise me to negociate and settle a Cartel for an Exchange of prisoners. In consequence of this authority, I shall be ready to appoint Commissioners to meet Others from the British Commander in Chief—at any time & place which may be thought convenient for the adjustment of so important and desireable a work. This You will be pleased to communicate to Major General Phillips—and I would willingly hope that the proposals concerted between him & You, which so far as they go, are generally upon just & liberal principles may be improved into an Agreement that will be attended with mutual and permanent advantage.2 I have the Honor to be with great regard & esteem Gentn Yr Most Obedt st.
Notes on the above correspondence:
Df, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DLC:GW; copy, DLC:GW; copy, P.R.O.: 30/55, Carleton Papers; copy, P.R.O.: C.O. 5/182; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.
On 2 Feb., GW’s secretary Robert Hanson Harrison wrote to Abraham Skinner from “Camp Morris Town”: “It is His Excellency the Commander in Chief’s desire, that You write to Mr Loring by Colonel Mathews & the Officers going in and propose to him an immediate exchange of our private prisoners of War, now in the Sugar House. The severity of the Weather and their want of fuel, added to the refusal you met with in your application to the Officer Commanding at paulus Hook, make their release absolutely necessary. If Mr Loring will send these prisoners out immediately, which is to be wished on account of their sufferings, an equal number will be returned as soon as possible out of those in our hands in philadelphia. In your Letter to Mr Loring it will be well for You to request him, in case he accedes to the proposition for an immediate release—to inform You of the time when the prisoners will be sent out, that you may attend to receive them; and that this business in which the feelings of humanity are so peculiarly interested may be facilitated You have His Excellency’s permission to proceed with a flag to the Enemy’s Out posts at paulus Hook and to remain with the approbation of the Officer Commanding there, till You obtain Mr Loring’s Answer.” A note under the docket, in Harrison’s writing, apparently referring to Loring’s answer to Skinner, reads: “not ansd before the 6 of May 1780” (DLC:GW).
1. GW is referring to Samuel Huntington’s letter to him of 27 January.
2. For the responses of Lt. Gen. Wilhelm von Knyphausen and Maj. Gen. William Phillips, see Knyphausen to GW, 19 Feb., and Phillips to GW, 21 February. For the proposals, see GW to Huntington, 4 Jan., n.1.
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