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Lady Asgill, whose situation has been very distressing, is very anions to have the enclosed letter transmitted to General Washington. I think I convinced her that it was impossible that the letter could arrive in America time enough to be of any use ; but yet she was unwilling to give up sending it. I have therefore taken the liberty of enclosing it to your Excellency, that you may determine whether it ought to be sent to General Washington, if, contrary to all probability, you should receive it before that unfortunate transaction is finally settled.
I mentioned in a former letter how my exchange was circumstanced ; but lest that packet should have miscarried, I will again trouble you with a repetition of it.
Mr. Laurens, on obtaining his liberty, engaged to procure me a release from my parole ; and as Dr. Franklin had been employed by Congress to offer Lieut.-General Burgoyne in exchange for him, and as that General had already been exchanged in America, he requested the Doctor to give me an immediate release, that I might not be under the necessity of waiting for an answer from America. The Doctor said that he had no authority from Congress to propose any person in exchange for Mr. Laurens but General Burgoyne ; but that, as he was of opinion that in justice and equity I ought to be released, and that it was for the honour of his country that it should be so, he would take it upon himself to do it ; but he still seemed to entertain some doubts whether the Congress would confirm it. He likewise concurred with the Marquis De Lafayette in giving their liberty to my aides-de-camp, Lord Chewton, Major Ross, and Lieutenant Haldane, who are still, however, to be exchanged whenever a cartel shall take place, as a civility of nearly a similar nature was done to General Lincoln.
I shall take it as the greatest favour if you will give every assistance in your, power for the final settlement of this business. I most heartily beg pardon for giving you so much trouble about my affairs, and can only assure you, that if it ever should be in my power to obey any commands of yours, it will give me the greatest satisfaction to do it.
I have the honour, &c.,
- Charles Cornwallis
- Correspondence of Charles, first Marquis Cornwallis, Vol I, Charles Ross, Esq., London, 1859