Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Great Clemency

Chatham, New Jersey, January 29, 1783
   “Sir Guy Carleton has, in his great clemency, paroled near one hundred of our marine prisoners, upwards of sixty of whom came over to Elizabeth Town last Sunday [
January 26].”
The Freeman’s Journal: Or, The North-American Intelligencer (Philadelphia), 5 February 1783

   After Britain received news of the British Army’s October 19, 1781 surrender to George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia, a new ministry pursued a more conciliatory policy toward the United States.  In 1782, Parliament recognized American detainees as Prisoners of War and appointed Irish nobleman Sir Guy Carleton as commander-in-chief of British forces in North America. 
   Carleton became noted for his civility to prisoners late during the evacuation of the Continental Army from Canada in 1776, a clemency that continued after his 1782 appointment as command of British forces.  For American gratitude for French support at Yorktown and throughout the war, please consult Rev. John Witherspoon’s sermon of Thanksgiving, November 28, 1782.
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