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return and success by a discharge of cannon. That when a prisoner, brought alive, and destined to death by the Indians, the fire already kindled, and himself bound to the stake, was dexterously withdrawn, and secreted from them by the humanity of a fellow prisoner, a large reward was offered for the recovery of the victim, which having tempted a servant to betray his concealment, the present prisoner Dejean, being sent with a party of soldiers, surrounded the house, took and threw into jail the unhappy victim and his deliverer, where the former soon expired, under the perpetual assurances of Dejean that he was to be again restored into the hands of the savages; and the latter, when enlarged, was bitterly reprimanded by Governour Hamilton. “It appears to them that the prisoner Dejean was, on all occasions, the willing and cordial instrument of Governour Hamilton, acting both as judge and keeper of the jails, and instigating and urging him, by malicious insinuations and untruths, to increase rather than to relax his severities, heightening the cruelty of his orders by his manner of executing them, offering at one time a reward to one man to be hangman for another, threatening his life on refusal, and taking from his prisoners their little property their opportunities enabled them to acquire. “It appears that the prisoner Lamothe was a captain of the volunteer scalping parties of Indians and whites, who went, from time to time, under general orders to spare neither men, women, nor children. From this detail of circumstances, which arose in a few cases only, coming accidentally to the knowledge of the
board, they think themselves authorized, by fair deduction, to presume what would be the horrid history of the sufferings of the many who have expired under their miseries, (which therefore will remain for ever untold,) or who have escaped from them, and are yet too remote and too much dispersed to bring together their well-founded accusations against the prisoners. “They have seen that the conduct of the British offieers, civil and military, has, in the whole course of this war, been savage, and unprecedented among civilized nations; that our officers taken by them have been confined in crowded jails, loathsome dungeons, and prison-ships, loaded with irons, supplied often with no. food, generally with too little for the sustenance of mature, and that little sometimes unsound and unwholesome, whereby such numbers have perished, that captivity and death have with them been almost synonymous; that they have been transported beyond seas, where their fate is out of the reach of our inquiry, have been compelled to take up arms against their country, and by a refinement in cruelty, to become murderers of their own brethren. “Their prisoners with us have, on the other hand, been treated with humanity and moderation; they have been fed, on all occasions, with wholesome and plentiful food, suffered to go at large within extensive tracts of country, treated with liberal hospitality, permitted to live in the families of our citizens, to labour for them-selves, to acquire and enjoy profits, and, finally, to participate of the principal benefits of society, privileged from all burdens. “Reviewing this contrast, which cannot be denied by
our enemies themselves in a single point, and which has now been kept up during four years of unremitting war, a term long enough to produce well founded despair that our moderation may ever lead them to the practice of humanity; called on by that justice we owe to those who are fighting the battles of our country, to deal out, at length, miseries to their enemies, measure for measure, and to distress the feelings of mankind by exhibiting to them spectacles of severe retaliation, where we had long and vainly endeavoured to introduce an emulation in kindness; happily possessed, by the fortune of war, of some of those very individuals who, having distinguished themselves personally in this line of cruel conduct, are fit subjects to begin on, with the work of retaliation; this board has resolved to advise the Governour, that the said Henry Hamilton, Philip Dejean, and William Lamothe, prisoners . of war, be put in irons, confined in the dungeon of the publick jail, debarred the use of pen, ink, and paper, and excluded all converse except with their keeper.— . And the Governour orders accordingly.”
These orders were carried into rigorous and welldeserved execution, and against which, as will appear from the following letter, General Phillips, the British commanding officer in Virginia, most earnestly remonstrated:
TO his ExCeLLENCY GENERAL washington. Williamsburgh, July 17, 1779. SIR, I some time ago enclosed to you a printed copy of an order of Council, by which Governour Hamilton,
was to be confined in irons, in close jail, which has occasioned a letter from General Phillips, of which the enclosed is a copy. The General seems to think that a prisoner on capitulation cannot be put in close confinement, though his capitulation should not have provided against it. My idea was, that all persons taken in war, were to be deemed prisoners of war. That those who surrender on capitulation (or convention) are prisoners of war also, subject to the same treatment with those who surrender at discretion, except only so far as the terms of their capitulation or convention shall have guarded them. In the capitulation of Governour Hamilton, no stipulation is made as to the treatment of himself, or those taken with him. The Governour, indeed, when he signs, adds a flourish of reasons inducing him to capitulate, one of which is the generosity of his enemy. Generosity, on a large and comprehensive scale, seems to dictate the making a signal example of this gentleman ; but waiving that, these are only the priwate motives inducing him to surrender, and do not enter into the contract of Colonel Clarke. I have the highest idea of those contracts which take place between nation and nation, at war, and would be the last on earth to do any thing in violation of them. I can find nothing in those books usually recurred to as testimonials of the laws and usages of nature and nations, which convicts the opinions I have above expressed of errour. Yet there may be such an usage as General Phillips seems to suppose, though not taken notice of by these writers. I am obliged to trouble your Excellency on this occasion, by asking of you information on this point. There is no other person, whose decision will
so authoritatively decide this doubt in the publick mind, and none with which I am disposed so implicitly to comply. If you shall be of opinion that the bare existence of a capitulation, in the case of Governour Hamilton, privileges him from confinement, though there be no article to that effect in the capitulation, justice shall most assuredly be done him. The importance of this point, in a publick view, and my own anxiety under a charge of violation of national faith by the Executive of this Commonwealth, will, I hope, apologize for my adding this to the many troubles with which I know you to be burdened. I have the honour, &c. TH: JEFFERson.
The three following letters, to the same exalted personage, dismisses the fate of Governour Hamilton, and all connexion of Mr. Jefferson with him.
to HIS ExCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.
Williamsburgh, Oct. 1, 1779. SIR,
On receipt of your letter of August 6th, during my absence, the Council had the irons taken off the prisoners of war. When your advice was asked, we meant it should decide with us; and upon my return to Wil liamsburgh, the matter was taken up and the enclosed advice given. A parole was formed of which the enclosed is a copy, and tendered to the prisoners. They objected to that part of it which restrained them from saying anything to the prejudice of the United States, and insisted on “freedom of speech.” They were, in