Thursday, February 11, 2010

coercive treatment

In May 1778, the Continental Congress published a message recommended for reading in every house of worship in the United States.

Congress remarked of British forces, "Their victories have been followed by the cool murder of men, no longer able to resist; and those who escaped from the first act of carnage, have been exposed, by cold, hunger, and nakedness...in the tedious hours of confinement, or to become the destroyers of their countrymen, of their friends, perhaps, dreadful idea! of their parents or children."

Congress observed, "Nor was this the outrageous barbarity of an individual, but a system of deliberate malice, stamped with the concurrence of the British legislature, and sanctioned with all the formalities of law."

Shortly after the war, Thomas Jefferson wrote to Jean Baptiste Meusnier, "This was the most afflicting to our prisoners of all the cruelties exercised on them. The others affected the body only, but this the mind; they were haunted by the horror of having, perhaps, themselves shot the ball by which a father or a brother fell."

Worthington Chauncey Ford, editor, Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789: Volume 11: May 2-September 1, 1778 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1908), page 476. Albert Ellery Bergh, editor, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson 20 vols. (Washington, D.C.: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association of the United States, 1907), 17:101
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