Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Prisoner's Gratitude

Americans suspected British soldiers attributed kind treatment to the fears Americans had for their own treatment once their rebellion failed.

In an April 27, 1777 letter to his wife, Abigail Adams, John Adams wrote, "It is remarkable, that the Officers and Soldiers of our Enemies, are so totally depraved, so 
compleatly destitute of the Sentiments of Philanthropy in their own Hearts, that they cannot believe that such delicate Feelings can exist in any other, and therefore have constantly ascribed that Milk and Honey with which We have treated them to Fear, Cowardice, and conscious Weakness. -- But in this they are mistaken, and will discover their Mistake too late to answer any good Purpose for them."

Some British prisoners, however, were grateful.  During the British attack on Fairfield, Connecticut in July 1779, three British officers broke into the home of Lucretia Radfield and tried to rape her.  In her sworn statement recalling the assault, Mrs. Radfield said the "three men...seized me and dragged me to the bed and attempted violence, but thanks to God there appeared that instant to come two persons who rescued me from their violence, one of whom told me he had been a prisoner in this town, and that he had received great civility from the inhabitants, and that he had an opinion of their being a worthy kind people, and those two persons protected me thro' the remainder of the night."

Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 27 April 1777 [electronic edition]. 
Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society. J. Hoadley, editor, The Public Records of the State of Connecticut, From May, 1778, to April, 1780, inclusive, with the Journals of the Council of Safety From May 18, 1778, to April 23, 1780, and an Appendix (Hartford: The Case, Lockwood & Brainard Company, 1895), page 559.
Post a Comment