Letter from Alexander Leslie to Alexander Martin
Leslie, Alexander, ca. 1740-1794
Volume 22, Pages 606-608
LT. GENERAL LESLIE TO GOV. ALEX MARTIN.
January 16th, 1782.
On the 30th of last Month I wrote to you requesting to be indulged with a parole within the American Lines, and giving you
-------------------- page 607
notice that if you should not deem it expedient to comply, it would be necessary to give immediate orders for my being removed from the place where I then was, because I was in danger from the refugees of men whom you cannot but know to be cruel, licentious and vindictive in general and peculiarly so against men of my political rank and character. Nor can you be ignorant that recent and notorious Murder and rapen, unpunished, and the offenders, tho’ many in number, still undiscovered, prove the facility and impunity with which they can commit any crime. And, as many of them were openly Inimical to the State, whose Magistrate I was, the danger of their conceiving violent designs against my person could not but appear extremely imminent. Notwithstanding all this, you did not think proper to take any notice of my letter, not even with the politeness of a gentleman to answer it. To grant or refuse the parole was in your discretion, but to take proper caution that my person should be out of danger was certainly your duty; but it was Neglected, and I was left during sixteen days after you received my letter in a situation which you well know officers less obnoxious to those refugees refused to be put, even tho’ a dungeon or Prison ship be the alternative. This contemptous neglect would alone, in my opinion, and I hope in the opinion of every candid Man, entirely cancel every engagement I had entered into as a Prisoner of War. But when it was made known to me that I was designed as a subject for retaliation should my country execute her Laws on notorious Malefactors who cannot escape Capital punishment, but with disgrace or misfortune, or both to any Government, but who had the merit of having been Instruments of extensive and Sanguinary mischief in hands of Major Craig, no man could expect that by remaining within the Sphere of a power who could so pervert the right of War, I should give an opportunity for making the insulting parallel and acting on me a Tragedy similar to that on Col. Haynes, I chose that alternative of a very unhappy Dilemma, which I am persuaded every man of Common sense must have taken, and which, however, I did with great reluctance. I have withdrawn myself from the British power, but I shall avoid no occasion of being again in the way of his Britannic Majesty’s Arms while they are employed against my Country. I am happy that neither to my own request or that of any Gentleman for me, no favor has been granted which should make me regret the measure I have taken. I leave you, Sir, to account to your Superiors,
-------------------- page 608
if they think proper to require it, for that part of your conduct which has set me at liberty by cancelling my engagement as a Prisoner of War. I shall submit the Circumstances to my Country and await their decision.
I am, &c.,
LT. GENERAL LESLIE.