Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO LIEUTENANT-GENERAL GAGE. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. III (1775-1776)
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TO LIEUTENANT-GENERAL GAGE. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. III (1775-1776) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1889). Vol. III (1775-1776).
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TO LIEUTENANT-GENERAL GAGE.
Head-Quarters,Cambridge, 20 August, 1775.
I addressed you, on the 11th instant, in terms which gave the fairest scope for that humanity and politeness, which were supposed to form a part of your character. I remonstrated with you on the unworthy treatment shown to the officers and citizens of America, whom the fortune of war, chance, or a mistaken confidence had thrown into your hands.
Whether British or American mercy, fortitude, and patience are most pre-eminent; whether our virtuous citizens, whom the hand of tyranny has forced into arms to defend their wives, their children, and their property, or the mercenary instruments of lawless domination, avarice, and revenge, best deserve the appellation of rebels, and the punishment of that cord, which your affected clemency has forborne to inflict; whether the authority under which I act is usurped, or founded upon the genuine principles of liberty, were altogether foreign to the subject. I purposely avoided all political disquisition; nor shall I now avail myself of those advantages, which the sacred cause of my country, of liberty, and of human nature, give me over you; much less shall I stoop to retort and invective; but the intelligence you say you have received from our army requires a reply. I have taken time, Sir, to make a strict inquiry, and find it has not the least foundation in truth. Not only your officers and soldiers have been treated with a tenderness due to fellow citizens and brethren, but even those execrable parricides, whose counsels and aid have deluged their country with blood, have been protected from the fury of a justly enraged people. Far from compelling or permitting their assistance, I am embarrassed with the numbers, who crowd to our camp, animated with the purest principles of virtue and love to their country. You advise me to give free operation to truth, to punish misrepresentation and falsehood. If experience stamps value upon counsel, yours must have a weight, which few can claim. You best can tell how far the convulsion, which has brought such ruin on both countries, and shaken the mighty empire of Britain to its foundation, may be traced to these malignant causes.
You affect, Sir, to despise all rank not derived from the same source with your own. I cannot conceive one more honorable, than that which flows from the uncorrupted choice of a brave and free people, the purest source and original fountain of all power. Far from making it a plea for cruelty, a mind of true magnanimity and enlarged ideas would comprehend and respect it.
What may have been the ministerial views, which have precipitated the present crisis, Lexington, Concord, and Charlestown can best declare. May that God, to whom you then appealed, judge between America and you. Under his providence, those who influence the councils of America, and all the other inhabitants of the United Colonies, at the hazard of their lives, are determined to hand down to posterity those just and invaluable privileges, which they received from their ancestors.
I shall now, Sir, close my correspondence with you, perhaps for ever. If your officers, our prisoners, receive a treatment from me different from that, which I wished to show them, they and you will remember the occasion of it. I am Sir, your very humble servant.1
[1 ]“General Washington’s letter I think a very good one, but Gage certainly deserved a still stronger one, such as it was before it was softened.”—Charles Lee to Benja. Rush, 10 October, 1775. I am unable to trace any copy or draft other than that printed. General Washington’s first letter to General Gage (August 11th), and his answer, were published by the British government in the London Gazette, about six weeks after they were written; but the above reply was withheld.—Remembrancer, vol. i., p. 179; ii., 60. The three letters were published together by order of Congress in October.