Saturday, March 31, 2012

March 27

Regarding Captain Peter Dundee, captured at St. Johns, Canada, General Philip Schuyler wrote to General George Washington on 27 March 1776, “The officers, (prisoners,) that came a few days ago from Canada, refused to give their parole, and one of them, a Captain Dundee, was very cavalier with me. I have ordered him into close custody. The others have since given their parole; but as some of them had dropped expressions, as if they should not consider a breach of it criminal, I convened them all, and informed them that if any of them attempted an escape after having given their parole, and I could lay hands on them, I should resent the injury done to mankind in general by hanging such faithless wretches.”

Many British officers believed they could violate an agreement with “rebels” (unlawful combatants). As New Jersey Governor William Livingston remarked in 1778, “Ever since the commencement of the present war, it hath been the cruel and perfidious policy of Britain to consider us as rebels, with whom engagements were not to be observed and whom she might treat with the utmost severity.”
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