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Siege of Boston: George Washington & Thomas Gage Exchange Strong Words on Prisoner’s Treatment
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You affect, Sir, to despise all rank, not derived from the same source with your own. I cannot conceive one more honorable than that which flows from the uncorrupted choice of a brave and free people, the purest source, and original fountain of all power.

[Siege of Boston]. The Pennsylvania Ledger. Newspaper. September 30, 1775, Philadelphia: James Humphreys Jr. 4 pp., 10 x 15⅞ in.

Inventory #30007.053       Price: $1,500

This issue includes three letters between American General George Washington and British General Thomas Gage, regarding the treatment of prisoners, “published by order of the Honorable Continental Congress”:

Excerpts
George Washington to Thomas Gage, August 11, 1775:

I understand that the officers engaged in the cause of liberty and their country, who by the fortune of war have fallen into your hands, have been thrown, indiscriminately, into a common jail, appropriated for felons—that no consideration has been had for those of the most respectable rank, when languishing with wounds and sickness—that some of them have been even amputated in this unworthy condition.” (p3/c2)

My duty now makes it necessary to apprize you, that for the future I shall regulate my conduct towards those gentlemen, who are, or may be in our possession, exactly by the rule you shall observe toward those of ours now in your custody.” (p3/c2)

Thomas Gage to George Washington, August 13, 1775:
Britons, ever pre-eminent in mercy, have outgone common examples, and overlooked the criminal in the captive. Upon these prisoners, whose lives by the laws of the land are destined to the cord, have hitherto been treated with care and kindness, and more comfortably lodged than the King’s troops in the hospitals, indiscriminately it is true, for I acknowledge no rank that is not derived from the King.” (p3/c2)

My intelligence from your army would justify severe recrimination. I understand there are of the King’s faithful subjects, taken some time since by the rebels, laboring like Negro slaves to gain their daily subsistence, or reduced to the wretched alternative, to perish by famine, or take arms against their King or country. Those, who have made the treatment of the prisoners in my hands, or of your other friends in Boston, a pretence for such measures, found barbarity upon falsehood.” (p3/c2)

George Washington to Thomas Gage, August 19, 1775:
the intelligence you say you have received from our army requires a reply. I have taken time, Sir, to make a strict inquiry, and find it has not the least foundation in truth. Not only your officers and soldiers have been treated with a tenderness due to fellow citizens and brethren, but even those execrable paricides, whose councils and aid have deluged their country with blood, have been protected from the fury of a justly enraged people.” (p3/c3)

You affect, Sir, to despise all rank, not derived from the same source with your own. I cannot conceive one more honorable than that which flows from the uncorrupted choice of a brave and free people, the purest source, and original fountain of all power. Far from making it a plea for cruelty, a mind of true magnanimity and enlarged ideas would comprehend and respect it.” (p3/c3)

I shall now, Sir, close my correspondence with you, perhaps for ever. If your officers, our prisoners, receive a treatment from me different from what I wished to shew them, they and you will remember the occasion of it.” (p3/c3)

Additional Content
This issue also includes “Instances of the Constancy, Fortitude, and Presence of Mind of the North American Indians, when Suffering the Fiery Torture” (p1/c3-p2/c1); an excerpt from Herbert Croft’s recently published A Brother’s Advice to His Sisters (p2/c1-3); a report from Williamsburg that Lord Dunmore, after being ousted in the Gunpowder Affair of April 1775, had been reinforced and “intends taking possession of his palace in this city, that he lately abandoned—if not prevented by those he terms Rebels” (p2/c3); a report from Cambridge that “the besieged army in Boston have pulled down a number of houses between the Hay Market & the old Fortification; but whether from the want of fuel, or to make room for erecting any new works of defence, or digging a Canal, we have not been able to learn.” and “Last Saturday...the enemy, with their cannon, fired briskly from their lines on Boston Neck but without doing us any damage. The next morning the firing was returned...with success.... The cannonading has been continued on both sides almost ever since, without any loss on our side.” (p3/c1); a report that “the colony troops destined for Canada, under the command of Colonel Arnold, sailed from Newbury Port....” (p3/c1); an advertisement for woodworking planes made by Robert Parrish, a noted planemaker, illustrated with a woodcut of a bench plane (possibly a jointer or fore plane); and notices of a runaway German servant and the sale of several indentured servants (p4/c2-3).

The Pennsylvania Ledger(1775-1778) was a weekly newspaper published under variant titles in Philadelphia by James Humphreys Jr. (1748-1810). Accused of being a Tory, Humphreys was driven from town, but he returned to Philadelphia and restarted the Ledger during the nine-month British occupation. When the British left Philadelphia, Humphreys closed the Ledger and left with them. He settled in New York for a time and by 1785 had moved to Nova Scotia, where he published a newspaper and was a merchant. By 1797, he had returned to Philadelphia, where he was a printer.

Condition: An old wax stain on pages 3 and 4 does not prevent readability. Overall Very Good.


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