Your Letter of the 10th Instant came to my hand on the 12, and I should instantly have returnd an Answer upon an Affair, in the Dispatch of which you must feel yourself so nearly interrested, had an opportunity presented.
Colo Allens Exchange, it is probable, may not so easily be negotiated as that of Colo Webb; But this Gentleman has been much longer in Captivity than the other. And although I have no personal Acquaintance with him, yet I am well assured that he is a brave Soldier. Such a Character, you, Sir, must esteem; and this is also the Character of Colo Webb. I have not been insensible of the Obstruction which may have hitherto prevented the Exchange of Colo Allen, and the true Source of it. If private or partial Motives have prevaild in the Mind of any Gentleman in New York, to the Prejudice of a Man of distinguishd Merit, I can only observe, that it is totally inconsistent with those pure Principles, which you will allow me to say, have, and I trust ever will actuate Americans in the present Contest. You will excuse my saying any more to you on so delicate a Point.
I sincerely wish the Release of every man in Captivity; and shall for my own part be well pleasd with your availing your self of an Exchange with either of the above mentiond Gentlemen, if it may be consistent with the Sentiments of Congress.
My first Concern is for the Honor & Safety of my Country. Having premised this, I can readily subscribe with due Respect,
Yr very hbl Servt,
1 An officer in the English army.
[Ms., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]
Boston Jan 14 1778
Yesterday I took the Liberty of writing to you by the Baron De Steuben a Native of Prussia who I doubt not will deliver the Letter into your Hand. He will previously wait on Gen1 Washington to whom he has Letters of warm Recommendation from the Commissioners of America in France. He has also Letters to Mr President Laurens and other Members of Congress from gentlemen of Note in that Country. He offers his Services to America as a Volunteer; wishing to give no Offence by interfering in Command. He appears to me to be a modest, candid & sensible Gentleman; and, I have Reason to think, from the Letters I have seen, he has great military Merit. Of this you will be able to form a decisive Judgment.
There is a certain Canadian Officer, by the Name of Laurens Olivier, a Captain, whose Character and warm Attachment to our Cause while he was an Inhabt of Canada, my Friend Mr Thos Walker a Gentn well known to Mr Gerry, speaks highly of. This Officer will make known certain Difficulties he is under to you. I am told he is a deserving Man; Such a Character I may with Confidence recommend to your patronage. You may rely upon it I will never willingly trouble my self or you with persons of a different sort.