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The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revo

Lady asgill to count de vergennes


sincerely wish, Sir, that my intercession may meet success; the sentiment which dictates it, and which you have not ceased to manifest on every occasion, assures me, that you will not be indifferent to the prayers and to the tears of a family, which has recourse to your clemency through me. It is rendering homage to your virtue to implore it.

I have the honor to be, with the most perfect consideration, Sir, yours, &c.


* * * * *


[Enclosed in the preceding.]

London, July 18th, 1782.


If the politeness of the French Court will permit an application of a stranger, there can be no doubt but one in which all the tender feelings of an individual can be interested, will meet with a favorable reception from a nobleman whose character does honor, not only to his own country, but to human nature. The subject, Sir, on which I presume to implore your assistance, is too heart-piercing for me to dwell on; and common fame has, most probably, informed you of it; it therefore renders the painful

task unnecessary.

My son, (an only son) as dear as he is brave, amiable as he is deserving to be so, only nineteen, a prisoner under the articles of capitulation of Yorktown, is now confined in America, an object of retaliation. Shall an innocent suffer for the guilty? Represent to yourself, Sir, the situation of a family under these circumstances; surrounded as I am by objects of distress, distracted with fear and grief, no words can express my feeling, or paint the scene. My husband given over by his physicians, a few hours before the news arrived, and not in a state to be informed of the misfortune; my daughter seized with a fever and delirium, raving about her brother, and without one interval of reason, save to hear heart-alleviating circumstances.

Let your feelings, Sir, suggest and plead for my inexpressible misery. A word from you, like a voice from Heaven, will save us from distraction and wretchedness. I am well informed General Washington reveres your character; say but to him you wish my son to be released, and he will restore him to his distracted family, and render him to happiness. My son's virtue and bravery will justify the deed. His honor, Sir, carried him to America. He was born to affluence, independence, and the happiest prospects. Let me again supplicate your goodness; let me respectfully implore your high influence in behalf of innocence; in the cause of justice, of humanity; that you would, Sir, despatch a letter to General Washington, from France, and favor me with a copy of it, to be sent from hence.

I am sensible of the liberty I have taken in making this request; but I am sensible, whether you comply with it or not, you will pity the distress that suggests it; your humanity will drop a tear on the fault, and efface it. I will pray that Heaven may grant you may never want the comfort it is in your power to bestow on

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