Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gentleness, and Humanity

In December 1776, Congressman George Walton of Georgia wrote to Richard Henry Lee of Virginia, "Our soldiers...taken prisoners by the enemy, are closely imprisoned in New-York...plundered of the better part of a most scanty apparel; and suffered to remain in that condition at this most inclement season."

Walton added, "If we turn our eyes to those who have fallen into our hands, we shall find them free from almost the forms of restraint; fed on the fat of the land, in full possession of their all and quartered in our best barracks.  This is lenity, gentleness, and humanity: but our enemies call it timidity."

For frustration on perceived ingratitude, and how not every enemy prisoners was ungrateful, please read this post about 1779.  George Walton to Richard Henry Lee, Philadelphia, 30 December 1776, in Paul H. Smith, ed., Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789: Volume 5: August 16-December 31, 1776 (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1979), page 707.  For more on the British military occupation of New York, please visit the entry "2000 Corpses."  
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