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David Parker to General Washington



Dedham, October 26, 1775.

MAY IT PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENCY: Many and various are the difficulties which I have to encounter by the confinement to which I am subjected. The justice of your proceedings against me strike me with the most clear conviction, when I reflect upon the iniquity of my own unjustifiable conduct. I am, may it please your Excellency, necessitated, by a consciousness of my former erroneous practices, to acquit every measure adopted against me of cruelty or inhumanity. The assistance those who were inimical to the prosperity of America derived from my operations, very justly rendered me obnoxious to the displeasure of the inhabitants of these Colonies. My perseverance therein, notwithstanding the desire of the Committee of Boston that I should desist, confirmed the opinion of the publick that I was determined to co-operate in the subversion of our invaded privileges; but that, Sir, was foreign to my intention, whatever may be the general sentiment upon that affair. Had I indulged a momentary consideration, had I entertained the most distant conception that this injured Country would have been embroiled in the horrours of a civil war, or any ways apprehensive the present convulsions would be consequent upon the then unhappy struggle, I should immediately have relinquished the business, notwithstanding my engagements.


It never occurred to my mind the sword would be drawn in this contest. When that unhappy period arrived, my anxiety to accomplish my undertakings may be inferred from the naked circumstances in which I came into the Country. I acknowledge, Sir, I was justly esteemed an enemy to America. I very humbly implore the forgiveness of every man in the Country. I pledge my honour, and every thing I esteem valuable, for my future satisfactory proceedings and conduct. I will submit to any test your Excellency may propose, to evince the sincerity of my declarations and penitence. I would silently venerate the justice whose decision circumscribes my liberty within a few miles, But, Sir, the expenses of a maintenance, during the course of three months, have exhausted the pecuniary provision I procured in Boston, for the support of myself and family. You must be sensible, may it please your Excellency, of the obduracy of my situation, in respect to the obtaining employ, while I labour under the displeasure of the Province. The just indignation of the people against me, who have so greatly provoked them, I am totally unable to extinguish while a circumscription is appointed to my excursions; and notwithstanding any evidences I can possibly grant the commonalty, they yet esteem me as inimical to their welfare, else why, say they, should he be confined? This, may it please your Excellency, sufficiently prevents their granting me any assistance or employ, and this, Sir, very probably will be the sentiment, and these the consequences, while I continue under arrest; upon the removal of which, Sir, I may by some means regain that favour I have so justly forfeited — for which I most earnestly solicit. Have I, Sir, committed an offence for which no atonement can be offered and accepted? The omnipotent Father of Mercies is not inexorable to the most atrocious sinners, upon their repentance. I most sincerely ask forgiveness for my past conduct, and entreat my freedom.

I am, may it please your Excellency, your Excellency' s most dutiful petitioner and very humble servant,


His Excellency General Washington.