Benjamin Franklin writes to his friend, Mary Hewson, and notes the new clothing style he is sporting in order to impress the French with the honest republicanism of his country: “My dear dear Polley – Figure to yourself an old Man with grey Hair appearing under a Martin Fur Cap, among the Powder’d Heads of Paris. It is this odd Figure that salutes you; with Handfuls of Blessings on you and your dear little ones.”
Meanwhile, George Washington writes to congress about his concerns over the treatment by the British of American prisoners: “I have your several Favors of the 7th and 9th instant. Complaints of the usage of the prisoners both in the land and Sea Service have been the subjects of many of my Letters to Lord and General Howe, but all the Satisfaction or Answer, that I could ever obtain, was, that the Reports were groundless. However upon the Authority of Capt. Gambles relation, and the miserable emaciated Countenances of those poor Creatures who have lately been released, I shall take the Liberty of remonstrating sharply to his Lordship and the General, and let them know in very plain terms, that if their rule of Conduct towards our prisoners is not altered, we shall be obliged, however disagreeable it may be, to make retaliation. I think your plan of appointing Agents to attend the prisoners would answer many good purposes, that particularly of seeing them regularly and honestly supplied with whatever their Allowance may be. And then any Accounts of ill Usage coming thrô them, would be so authentic, that we might safely proceed to take such measures towards their prisoners as would be fully justifiable.”
To John Hancock, President of the Congress, Washington writes concerning his attempts to trade prisoners with the British in order to obtain the release of Charles Lee: “I am honored with yours of the 6th inclosing several Resolves of Congress respecting an Exchange to be proposed between General Lee and the Hessian Feild Officers taken at Trenton. Colo. Rall died the day after the Action and we left one of the Majors so ill of his Wounds, that I am in doubt of his recovery. I can however make an Offer of all that remain, in exchange for Genl Lee, except one, who you order to be proposed by Colo. Allen. If the offer is rejected by Genl Howe, I shall think myself then at liberty to remonstrate to him on his treatment of Genl Lee. If he will not exchange him, he should at least admit him to his Parole, as we have ever done their prisoners who have fallen into our Hands. I understand from undoubted Authority, that they intend to try the General by a Court Martial, as a deserter from their Service, pretending that his Resignation was never accepted of. But I shall inform General Howe that if any such Step is taken, under so shallow and illegal a pretext, and their Sentence should extend either to affect his Life or Liberty, that they may depend upon the most severe and adequate Retaliation upon our part.” It was not until years after Lee’s death that evidence was recovered showing his aid to the British during his time as prisoner .
Join us at Bow Tie Tours for Philadelphia’s Best Historical Walking Tours, including the best tour regarding the crossing of the Delaware and the Battle of Trenton in existence! Our “Independence Tour Extraordinaire” includes tickets to Independence Hall, as well as numerous other sites, such as 2nd National Bank, Graff House, Carpenter Hall, and Christ Church. If you are interested in learning about George Washington, join us for our Valley Forge Tour. For those interested in the Civil War, come see Gettysburg. Or, for the true history buffs, contact us about taking part in our historical vacation packages.