Your letter of February 16th giving an Account of Lord Charles Montague’s being a prisoner at Wilmington was handed me at the beginning of this month and I would have given it an early answer; but before it came to hand Lord Charles was paroled at Large, with permission to go to New York. I could not recall what had been granted. I made enquiry into the complaint against Lord Charles and find that he did enlist American Soldiers into the British service but the conditions on which they engaged shew it to be a voluntary act. It is true this mode is not very honorable to seduce prisoners from their allegiance, but they have the authority of the European practice to justify it. The King of Prussia and many other Generals had recourse to this expedient to increase their force and I am in doubt therefore, how far we should be justifiable in punishing Lord Charles for copying their examples and besides which there appears little probability of getting any of the men and a fair prospect of Peace offering at the same time. All these considerations induced me to grant his Lordship those indulgences, which I hope will be satisfactory to you, after this explanation. Mr. Banks has engaged to supply the Army and all my requisitions for provisions are to be considered as void. I understand your State have some heavy Cannon lying useless in your State. Will you be so obliging as to lend them to this State or a part of them. This Town is totally defenceless, your State in matters of trade is intimately connected with this, so that you are interested in aiding its protection, and security not only upon a principle of confederation but commerce also. The cannon will be returned you or paid for as may be most agreeable.
I hope your favorable answer.