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Letter from Alexander Martin to Charles Grenville Montague
Martin, Alexander, 1740-1807
February 17, 1783
Volume 16, Pages 742-743

GOVERNOR MARTIN TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE LORD CHARLES MONTAGUE.
[From Executive Letter Book.]

Danbury, 17th February, 1783.

My Lord:

This Day I was honored with your Lordship’s Letter by Express, and was agreeably surprised of hearing from Lord Charles Montague that he is a Prisoner of War in this State, but confess the mode of capture not the most honorable although admissible among Nations at War.

I beg leave to inform your Lordship, that it has been represented by some Gentlemen of reputation from South Carolina, that the Regiment lately raised under your Command was composed chiefly of Captive Soldiers from the Virginia and North Carolina Continental Lines, who were compelled to inlist into the same from the prison Ships near Charles Town on the severest penalties of refusal; and that such compulsion was under your Lordship’s direction.

The duties of my station require, that I make your Lordship

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acquainted with this particular, but shall be sorry any uneasiness be added to your present situation on that account. The above, if true, is such a violation of the rights of humanity, and Laws of War, as deeply wounds the honor of the United States in general & those of Virginia and North Carolina in particular, that it cannot be passed over without an inquiry; and your Lordship’s presence may be necessary for the investigation. I shall be however happy, to find the representation so far as it respects your Lordship, groundless, that I may have it in my power to grant the indulgence requested.

Your Lordship will therefore excuse the necessity of your remaining for the present in New Bern or any other part of the State more agreeable, until I consult Major General Greene on this subject that such Documents be furnished if any can be found in Support of the above which shall be communicated on the earliest opportunity.

In the meanwhile Brigadier General Caswell of New Bern District will be directed to minister to your Lordship in whatever may contribute to render your present Continuance in the State as easy and convenient as possible.

Brigadier General Lillington will parole the Honorable Captain Montague and the other British officers to the British Ports they request.

My Lord, I have the honor, &c.,
ALEX. MARTIN.