I have the pleasure to say that on the 29th ultimo Lord Charles Montague was conducted into this State as a prisoner of War, with his Son and four other British Officers.
His Lordship was bound from Jamaica to New York in the Ship Dawes, whose Captain by the name of Eve on the Voyage informed him & the other British Officers that they must consider themselves his prisoners, and that he was determined to take them to an American Port; and accordingly put into Cape Fear. The Vessel was
His Lordship is very uneasy in his present situation and requests to be paroled to New York; this I have declined, and have informed him, that I must first consult you on a representation made to me by some officers and other Gentlemen of Character that the regiment lately raised for his Lordship’s Command was chiefly composed of the Captive Soldiers of the Virginia and North Carolina Continental Lines, being compelled to enlist into the British Service under His Lordhip’s direction on the severest penalties. This, if true, is a violation of the rights of humanity, as well as the Laws of War, and strikes deep at the honor of the United States in General & this in particular, and for which his Lordship ought to be answerable. I have therefore detained him until you be made acquainted with his capture, that proper documents be had, if any such can be obtained, in support of the above charge; that I may transmit the same to Congress.
You will therefore please to give me such information you think proper on this subject as early as possible as I wish not to distress his Lordship’s feelings unnecessarily if he is innocent, but grant the indulgence he requests. The British Officers captured are,
Their Christian names, and Regiments they belong to I am not yet acquainted with but suppose it to be Lord Charles’ Regiment. The other Officers I propose to parole to such British Ports as they request.
I am happy to inform you the disturbances in Bladen have subsided. The Attorney General notifies me that the persons accused with Captain Raiford surrendered themselves to the Court, & were acquitted. A Bill alone is found against Captain Raiford. I hope the facts will not appear so glaring as first represented to me on oath. I am perfectly satisfied with the reasons the Captain has
I have been duly favored with your Letters of the 21st of December & January 5th. The General Assembly have failed meeting on the 1st of January to my great mortification.
I am therefore not authorized to say any thing further on the Subject of your late requisitions, but the same must rest until the annual meeting on the first Monday in April. Colonels Emmet and Wade have sent forward some Contributions, the quantity is not yet fully ascertained. Some hogs I am told are preparing in Wilmington District.