Saturday, November 7, 2009

November 15

American newspapers reported prisoner abuse by the British throughout the Revolutionary War (1775-1783). Patriot editors were willing to relay accounts of kindness by British or Hessian officers and soldiers. The Pennsylvania Packet of Dec. 4, 1781 carried this account with the dateline of Salem, Massachusetts, 15 Nov. 1781. This item pertains to Admiral Richard Edwards, of British Royal Navy, appointed Governor of Canada in 1779 (see http://www.govhouse.nl.ca/governmenthouse.htm ):

The prisoners who arrived in this port, in the late cartels from Newfoundland, conceive themselves bound by a principle of gratitude, to acknowledge in this public manner, the very humane and benevolent treatment which they received from admiral Edwards, while in his power as prisoners of war at St. John's. Although, being a British officer, they as Americans, cannot but consider him as a public enemy; yet as a man, they highly esteem him for the goodness of his heart, and as possessing the amiable and exalted virtues of a philanthropist. Their experience of his kindness, in alleviating the distresses incident to their situation as prisoners, will always be remembered with the most grateful sensibility. And they sincerely wish, that whenever their countrymen may have occasion to censure British cruelty, they may consider that admiral Edwards ought always to be excepted.
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