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Letter from General Washington to Major French



Head Quarters, New York, August 8, 1776.

SIR: I was unwilling to determine, hastily, upon your claim of a release, founded upon your parole; and therefore delayed the acknowledgment of your favour of the 22d of July, until I should fully inform myself. I had accordingly written to you yesterday, that I was so unhappy as to differ from you in the construction you had put upon it, but as there was reason to believe a general exchange of prisoners might soon take place, I should cheerfully facilitate your return to your friends.

Last night I received your favour of the 5th of August, waiving your claim of a release, which makes any further discussion of that matter unnecessary. Your other proposal, of being exchanged for Major Meigs or Colonel Allen, will meet with no objection from me. Should you write to General Howe on the subject, the letter shall be cheerfully forwarded, and his answer returned.

Should any difficulty arise in the exchange, I am doubtful how far I should be authorized, without consulting the Congress, to grant you an indulgence similar to that of Major Meigs, which I have been informed was allowed in consequence of his saving the life of a British officer either nearly connected with, or much esteemed by, General Carleton. However, you may assure yourself, sir, that both duty and inclination lead me to relieve the unfortunate, and that I agree with you, that your long and early captivity, gives you a very just claim to special notice; and I shall be happy in furthering your wishes, as far as my station will admit.

I am, sir, your most obedient, and very humble servant,

To Major French.