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office.who shall have given any bribe to obtain such office, or who shall not previously take
an oath of fidelity to the state. None of these fundamental None of these fundamental laws & principles of govern- laws and principles of government shall be repealed or alt or ment shall be repealed or alaltered but by the personal con- tered, but by the personal consent of the people to be on sent of the people on summons summons to meet in their re- to meet in their respective spective counties on one & the counties on one and the same same day by an act of Legis- day by an act of Legislature lature to be passed for every to be passed for every special special occasion : and if in occasion : and if in such county such county meetings the peo- meetings the people of two ple of two thirds of the counties thirds of the counties shall give shall give their suffrage for their suffrage for any particular any particular alteration or re- alteration or repeal referred to peal referred to them by the them by the said act, the same said act, the same shall be ac- shall be accordingly repealed or cordingly repealed or altered altered, and such repeal or alor repealed, and such repeal teration shall take it's place or alteration shall take it's among these fundamentals and place among these fundamen- stand on the same footing with tal partlacking) the same foot them, in lieu of the article reting with them in lieu of the pealed or altered. article re- (part lacking).
The laws heretofore in force The laws heretofore in force in this colony shall remain still in this colony shall remain in in force except so far as they force, except so far as they are are altered by the foregoing altered by the foregoing fundafundamental laws, or so far as mental laws, or so far as they they may be hereafter altered may be hereafter altered by by acts of the legislature. acts of the Legislature.
It is proposed that the above bill, after correction by the
(June 17, 1776.] The Committee to whom were re-committed the Cartel between Brigadier General Arnold & captain Forster for the exchange of prisoners & the several papers relating thereto have had the same under their consideration and agreed to the following report.
Your committee having proceeded to make enquiry into the facts relating to the agreement entered into at St. Anne's between Brigadier General Arnold & Capt. Forster, find a part of them well authenticated and others not, yet being apprehensive that silence on the part of Congress may be construed by some into a ratification of the said agreement they have thought it best to state the same as they appear at present, with such resolutions as they will justify if found true, reserving final decision till the whole truth shall be accurately enquired into & transmitted to Congress.
Your Committee on the best information they have been able to obtain find :
That on the 24th day of May last a party of the enemy consisting as is said of about 600 men under the command of capt. Forster attacked a post at the Cedars held by a garrison of 350 Con[tinental for]ces, then under the command of Major Butterfield.
1 On June 16th Congress referred this matter to Jefferson, Braxton, Paine, and Middleton. They made this report on June 17th, when it was read and laid on the table. On June 24th it was recommitted, and again reported to the Congress on July roth, when it passed in a much modified form. Cf. Journals of Congress, II., 256.
That the said post was secured by a Stoc[kade of wood ? ] to cover the garrison from the enemy's musquetry, that there were mounted therein two field pieces, & that the enemy had no cannon.
That the said garrison had ammunition & provisions sufficient to have lasted them ten days, that they had reason to expect immediate reinforcements in a few days,' which on a requisition from themselves, was actually on it's way from Montreal, and moreover were so near the main body of the army that they could not doubt being joined by detachments from thence sufficient to oblige the enemy to retire.
That the enemy for two days kept up only a scattering fire, by which not a single man of the garrison was killed or wounded, & that on the third day the garrison surrendered themselves prisoners of war having capitulated for the preservation of their own baggage from plunder, & that their persons should not be deliver'd into the hands of the savages.'
That the enemy broke the capitulation utterly & immediately on their part. Plundering the garrison of their baggage & stripping the cloathes from their backs, & Delivering the Prisoners into the hands of the Savages.'
That they then proceeded against the reinforcement which was on it's way consisting of about 150 men under the command of Major Sherburne, that Major Sherburne & his party engaged & fought them with bravery: but being at length surrounded by numbers greatly superior and informed that the fort and garrison were already in the hands of the enemy, they were obliged to surrender themselves prisoners of war also ; but whether on capitulation or not your committee are not informed.
That after they had put themselves into the hands of the enemy, the said enemy murdered two of them, butchering the one with tomahawks & drowning the other; and left divers others exposed in an island naked & perishing with cold & famine.
That by this time Brigadier General Arnold who had been detached by Major General Thomas to relieve the fort at the Cedars, approached & was making dispositions to attack the enemy.
That capt : Forster, thereupon notified' General Arnold, that if
1 Words in italics not in Jefferson's handwriting.
he attacked him, the prisoners, then 500 in number, would every man of them be put to death ; & proposing at the same time an exchange of storn out.]
Arnold was extremely averse to entering on any agreement of that kind, & was at length induced to do it by no other motive than that of saving the prisoners from cruel & inhuman death, threatened in such terms as left no doubt it was to be perpetrated.
That agreement was thereupon entered into between Brigadr. Genl. Arnold & capt. Forster, bearing date at St. Anne's, on the 27th day of May, whereby the śd Forster stipulated that he would deliver
up all the said prisoners except such as were' Canadians, to Genl. Arnold ; who agreed on the other part that so many of equal rank & condition should be returned to the enemy of those taken by our arms on former occasions. That the prisoners so stipulated to be given up to the enemy were not in the possession of Genl. Arnold, nor under his direction but were at that time distributed through various parts of the continent under the orders of this house.
That capt. Forster in violation of this agreement also detained a considerable number of the prisoners he had thus stipulated to deliver, & sent them into the Indian countries for purposes unknown.
Whereupon your Committee have come to the following resolutions. Resolved that it is the opinion of this Committee that plunder
ing the baggage of the garrison at the Cedars, stripping Agreed
them of their clothes, & deliverg the Prisonr into ye hands of the Savages' was a breach of the capitulation on the part of the enemy, for which satisfaction ought to be demanded. Resolved that the murder of two of the prisoners of war was a
gross and barbarous violation of the laws of nature & Agreed
nations, for which satisfaction should be made by the enemy by delivering into our hands either captain Forster or the individuals concerned in committing the murder. Resolved that the agreement entered into at St. Anne's was a
mere sponsion on the part of Brigadr. Genl. Arnold, he Agreed
not being invested with the powers for the absolute dis
Words in italics not in Jefferson's handwriting.
posal of the Continental prisoners in general ; and that therefore it is subject to be ratified or annulled at the discretion of this house, the sole representative of the United Colonies.'
Resolved that it is the opinion of this Committee that Major Sherburne & his party having fought as men should do, so much of the said sponsion as relates to their exchange should be ratified & confirmed by this house ; & that an equal number of captives from the enemy, of the same rank & condition should be restored to them as stipulated by the said sponsion.
Resolved that (torn out] opinion of this com. (torn out] the said sponsion as relates to the exchange of Major Butterfield & the garrison surrendering with him, ought not to be ratified : because we should redeem none but those who will fight, and because too the said sponsion excepted the Canadian prisoners, & we will in no case admit a distinction of countries among men fighting in the same cause.
Resolved therefore that the said Major Butterfield & garrison should still be considered as prisoners of war, appertaining to the enemy; but as by the actual murder of two of the prisoners & the threats at St. Anne's to put the others to death, the enemy are found capable of destroying their captives, the sd prisoners ought not to be put into their hands, but should be permitted to remain in their own country ; that in the meantime they shall not bear arms, nor otherwise act against the enemy, but are bound to demean themselves in all things in the manner of prisoners of war enlarged on their parole, & to hold themselves subject to be recalled by the enemy whenever proper security shall have been given that their lives shall be safe.
Resolved that previous to the delivery of the prisoners to be returned in lieu of majr. Sherburne & those captivated with him, satisfaction be required from the enemy for the murder of the two prisoners by delivering into our hands capt. Forster, or the individuals concerned in perpetrating that horrid act; and likewise restitution for the plunder at the Cedars taken contrary to
Here Jefferson had written “States of America” which has been stricken out by another hand and “Colonies” written in its place.
VOL. II. 3