Sunday, March 24, 2013

The High Chancery of Heaven

The August 1, 1778 Pennsylvania Packet (Philadelphia), carried an open letter to Sir Henry Clinton, the commander of British military forces operating in America, and Britain's Peace Commissioners, William Eden, George Johnstone and Frederick Howard, the 5th Earl of Carlisle.  The author was the pseudonymous "Civis."

Civis reminded the Carlisle Peace Commission of the grievances Americans had against British leadership.  In particular, Civis called attention to the mistreatment of prisoners:  "Prisoners of war, who used to be treated with some degree of clemency, have not been entitled to the common rights of humanity....  Hunger, nakedness, cold, cudgels...have been the instruments of destruction."

Civis warned the British, "The cries of these unhappy men, are yet ascending to that throne, where they will most certainly be heard, and when heard, recorded with indelible characters in the high chancery of Heaven."

The essay by Civis was dated July 28, 1778, about a month after British forces withdrew from Philadelphia on June 18.  
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