Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Paca, William (1740-1799) to George Washington

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03937 Author/Creator: Paca, William (1740-1799) Place Written: s.l. Type: Autograph letter Date: 21 February 1783 Pagination: 2 p. : docket ; 33.5 x 21 cm.

Written by Paca, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, as Governor of Maryland to General Washington. Signature has been clipped and added. Says there is reason to believe the British crown has prohibited offensive operations on the continent. Claims that if that is true, it has been violated by armed vessels in the Chesapeake. Says a party under Wheland landed and plundered the town of Benedict, Maryland. Mentions that Colonel Plater's negroes were plundered. Wants Washington to know about these violations so he can bring them up in any future negotiations with British officers.

In Col. [illegible] 21 Feby 1783
From the [struck: late Correspondence] [inserted: Letters which lately passed] between your Excellency & Genl. Carleton and from the speech of the British King to his Parliament of the 5th. of December last there is some Reason to think that orders have been given by the British Crown prohibiting offensive Operations on the Continent. Under this Impression we beg Leave to inform your Excellency that if such orders now are given they have been most shamefully violated by the Enemy's Barges and armd vessels in the Bay of Chesepeake. There are now in the Bay Eleven Barges and one sloop and two schooners who <?> the detachd parties not only capturing [strike-out] our vessels but landing on our Shores and wasting and plundring the property of the people of this State. On Tuesday last [struck: the] a Party [inserted: under the Command of Wheland] went up <?>, plundered the Town of Benedict and burnt & destroyed the dwelling Houses & Out Houses of M. <?> Mackall with [struck: most of] [inserted: most] his [struck: movable property] Furniture, Tobacco Corn & other moveable Property. [2] Col. Plater [struck: his also <?>] [inserted: was also] plundered of some of his negroes. Another Party the Day before Yesterday consisting of five Barges and a Sloop came as high up as Kent Point nearly opposite to this City and [struck: and now] were cruizing by last <?> in the Eastern [inserted: Bay] & about Poplar Island. The most of the barges <?> about the Tangier Islands & from there [strike-out] make Excursions up the River or the Eastern Shore robbing & plundering on the shores
The Intention of this address is to posess your Excellency [inserted: with Information] of the Enemy's Conduct & Operations in this State in order that if your Excellency should [strike-out] be of Opinion that such Outrages are not authorized by the British Crown or his officers your Excellency may be enabled to make such a Communication to the British General & Admiral as [inserted: struck: think proper][struck: may benefit them to put a stop to further Depredations] your Excellency may consider proper and likely to put a Stop to further Depredations.
Wm Paca
His Excy Genl Washington
21st. Febry. 1783
His Exy. Genl. Washington
[struck: 101]
[struck: 103]

Order a CopyCitation Guidelines for Online Resources