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Printed Letter to the Regular Soldiers of Great Britain


New-York, May 6, 1775.

Many printed copies of a letter to the regular soldiers of Great Britain, now on service in America, were, on the 4th instant, distributed among the soldiers in the barracks in this City. The purport of this letter was to prove that soldiers of Great Britain could not legally be sent to America, without the consent of the Legislature of the Colony where they were sent that in the Colonies soldiers were not subject to the military laws of England, nor could be


punished or held by them; but that any officer who should presume to inflict any pains or penalties on, or to detain a soldier in America, on authority of a law of England not adopted by the Legislature in America, would himself be liable to severe punishments, and might be prosecuted by any soldier he should so punish or detain.

The next day, after the roll was called, (which was an hour before the usual time,) the men were ordered to march and form a circle; after which, Captain ˙ ˙ ˙ made the following elegant oration:

"Soldiers, I make no doubt but you saw and have read the printed handbills which were thrown over our gates the last evening; those that have not, I particularly desire they will; they will see the licentiousness of the people, and the intention of that paper. I say it is with a design of endeavouring to draw you from your duty, degrading the Regiment; and what is worse, persuading you to destroy your souls and bodies. Look on your lappels, and I think I am certain it will put you in remembrance never to be guilty of either. You may depend that these disputes will be soon settled, in such a manner, and upon such terms, that all the deserters must be given up, and you may be certain that they will be hanged like so many dogs. These very rebels who decoy you, will be the first to deceive for their own purposes. I forgot to mention to you a circumstance which Captain ˙˙˙˙ wrote to me in this letter, (showing it;) and for your, satisfaction I will read the paragraph, to show you what you are to expect, if you are taken by any of those rebels and barbarians: ' Three companies of Light-Infantry were posted at a bridge, but after a vigorous defence were dislodged by so great a number of inhabitants or rebels, (I cannot say which,) coming upon them; they left behind them one killed and three wounded. Three scoundrels were so barbarous, that nothing but savages could have equalled it; two of these wounded men were scalped; besides this, one of them had his ears cut off, and eyes picked out, Such unheard-of barbarity could never be performed before by any civilized Nation.' "

So, my brother soldiers of the Eighteenth Regiment, congratulate me on my happy escape; I could not bear such confinement; I was never used to it before, though I have been a soldier near twenty years. I am now in good pay, where you may be soon, if you will follow my example; make haste, and come all to me, and you shall be taken good care of.