That same day lie wrote Clinton in such terms as effectually prevented
any repetition of the latter's ridiculous " flag of truce" plea, to which Andre's
own explicit testimony had just given its quietus:
Sir,—In answer to your Excellency's letter of the 26th instant, which I had the
honour to receive, I am to inform you that Major Andre was taken under such circum-
stances as would have justified the most summary proceedings against him. I determined,
however, to refer his case to the examination and decision of a Board of General Officers,
who have reported on his free and voluntary confession and letters.—(Here follows the
sentence: "That he came on shore from the Vulture," etc., as on page 62, and the
finding of the Board.)
From these proceedings it is evident that Major Andre" was employed in the
execution of measures very foreign to the objects of flags of truce, and such as they were
never meant to authorize or countenance in the most distant degree; and this gentleman
confessed, with the greatest candor, in the course of his examination: "That it was
impossible for him to suppose he came on shore under the sanction of a flag.''
I have the honour to be, etc., etc.,
(With this was enclosed Andre's letter to Clinton.)
That day the Chief received a letter from an officer high in Clinton's
confidence, and at the time Commandant of New York:
New York, 29th September, 1780.
Sir,—Persuaded that you are inclined rather to promote than to prevent the
civilities and acts of humanity which the rules of war permit between civilized nations, I
find no difficulty in representing to you, that several letters and messages sent from here
have been disregarded, are unanswered, and the flags of truce that carried them, detained.
As I ever have treated all flags of truce with civility and respect, I have a right to hope
that you will order my complaint to be immediately redressed. Major Andre\ who
visited an officer commanding in a district, at his own desire, and acted in every
circumstance agreeable to his direction, I find is detained a prisoner; my friendship for
him leads me to fear he may suffer some inconvenience for want of necessaries; I wish to
be allowed to send him a few, and I shall take it as a favor if you will be pleased to
permit his servant to deliver them.
In Sir Henry Clinton's absence it becomes a part of my duty to make this
representation and request.
I am, etc., etc., etc.,
It is remarkable that a man holding such an office as Washington's found
time to write—frequently with his own hand—as often and at as much length
as he did. The prompt reply to Robertson is an instance:
Tappan, September 30, 1780.
Sir,—I have just received your letter of the 29th. Any delay which may have
attended your flags, has proceeded from accident, and the peculiar circumstances of the
occasion—not from intentional neglect or violation. The letter that admitted of an
Click tabs to swap between content that is broken into logical sections.