Excerpt from Washington, Our Example: The Father of a Nation Will Restore It to Peace
In June, 1775, General Washington was sent to the relief of Massachusetts, the harbor Of Boston having been blockaded by a British ﬂeet, and in December fol lowing he wrote to Congress as follows: It has been represented to me that the free negroes, who have served in the army at Cambridge, are very much dissatisfied at being discarded. As it is to be apprehended that they may seek employ in the ministerial army, I have pre sumed to depart from the resolution respecting them, and have given license for their being enlisted. If this is disapproved of by Congress, I will put a stop to it. Mr. Sparks, the publisher of the writings of Washing ton, explains the above letter as follows: At a meeting of the general Officers previously to the arrival of the Committee from Congress in camp, it was unanimously resolved that it was not expedient to enlist slaves into the new army, and by a large majority, negroes Of every description were excluded from enlistment. When the subject was referred to the Committee in conference, this decision was confirmed. In regard to free negroes, however, the resolve was not adhered to, and probably for the reason here mentioned by Washington.
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