Letter from James H. Craig to William Hooper
Craig, James H.
Volume 15, Pages 553-555
MAJOR J. H. CRAIG TO HON. WILLIAM HOOPER.
Wilmington, 20th July, 1781.
Mr. Burke, having annexed to the continuance of our correspondence the condition of my addressing him as Governor of the Province It by that means effectually put a stop to it, nor can it ever be
-------------------- page 554
renewed on my part while it remains clogged with a stipulation which my duty will not permit me to comply with. This alone is the reason why I did not reply to his letter of the 27th June and I must request the favor of you to inform him of it, as well as that relying on his promise that he would do his utmost to prevent a repetition of the conduct I complained of I instantly released the Gentleman whom that conduct caused me to put into rigorous and close confinement. I wish Sir, to conclude this Business, that you would add that it was not the effects of the animosity subsisting between the contending parties inhabitants of this province that was the subject of my complaint; this I know often produces instances of cruelty among themselves, which tho I make no doubt, but he regrets them as much as I do, yet I believe it to be out of Mr. Burke's power to stop. My letter alluded to people being put to death often without trial or examination, many hours and sometimes days after they were taken, by order of Militia officers commanding parties and acting under the authority of your present Government. These Sir become acts of the State, and (even on the Supposition of clearly established independent Powers at War with each other) that Government which does not exert its authority to prevent such conduct is alone responsible to its subjects, for the retaliation which the Laws of War and of necessity must draw on them from their Enemy.
With regard to the Publick Commission with which you are now charged by Mr. Burke, you will be pleased to acquaint him, that I have not yet received any copy of the cartel for the exchange of prisoners in the Southern Department, but the proclamation of the Commission relative to the Militia Prisoners of War on both sides taken before the 15th June being exchanged, was sufficient for me to release every one who came under that denomination, and they have accordingly been all sent beyond our ports with proper papers and three days provisions; when Mr. Burke is acquainted with this I dare say his conduct with regard to prisoners in his possession who also come under that discription will be satisfactory.
In this situation I own I do not see any necessity for your being at the trouble of a Journey to this place, more especially as it will not be in my power to enter into a discussion of a Cartel, of which I am not in possession of an authentic Copy. However, Sir, in your private capacity I will have great satisfaction in shewing you every
-------------------- page 555
attention to which your character intitles you. I therefore enclose you a pass to come into the town of Wilmington, for the purpose of visiting your Family, and you will be pleased to rely on my Honour as the pledge for your personal safety till your return.
I am Sir,
Your Most Obedient Servant,
J. H. CRAIG.