New York, Sept. 30, 1780.
Sir,—From your Excellency's letter of this date I am persuaded the Board of
General officers, to whom you referred the case of Major Andr6, can't have been rightly
informed of all the circumstances on which a judgment ought to be formed. I think it of
the highest moment to humanity that your Excellency should be perfectly apprized of the
state of this matter, before you proceed to put that judgment in execution.
Eor this reason I shall send His Excellency I4eut. General Robertson, and two
other gentlemen, to give you a true state (sic) of facts, and to declare to you my
sentiments and resolution. They will set out to-morrow as early as the wind and tide
will permit, and will wait near Dobbs's ferry for your permission and safe conduct, to
meet your Excellency, or such persons as you may appoint, to converse with them on
I have the honour to be, etc., etc.,
P. S. The Hon. Andrew Elliot, Esq., I^ieut. Governor, and the Hon. William
Smith, Chief justice of this province, will attend His Excellency I^ieut. General
The execution was consequently postponed until the next day—October
second1—and Robertson, Blliot and Smith arrived in a flag vessel—the schooner
Greyhound. Robertson alone, as a soldier, was allowed to land, and met Greene,
as Washington's representative, who forestalled any lengthy discussion by saying,
" Let us understand our position: I meet you only as a private gentleman, not as
an officer, for the case of an acknowledged spy admits of no discussion." As
nothing was produced which Greene deemed material to the point, Robertson
proposed that Rochambeau and Knyphausen should be appointed a committee to
decide. This was naturally refused, and then, apparently as a last resort,
Robertson produced a letter from Arnold, addressed to Washington:
New York, October 1, 1780.
Sir,—The polite attention shown by your Excellency and the Gentlemen of your
family to Mrs. Arnold, when in distress, demands my grateful acknowledgment and
thanks, which I beg leave to present.
From your Excellency's letter to Sir Henry Clinton, I find a Board of General
officers have given it as their opinion that Major Andre1 comes under the description of a
spy. My good opinion of the candor and justice of those Gentlemen leads me to believe
7 That night, AndrtE's sister, in England, dreamed of his arrest and execution. The story is told at length in
Ainsworth's Magazine, but has since been denied in Notes and Queries.
1 On the same day Arnold's resignation of bis commission was received by Washington :
New York, October 1, 1780.
Sir,—I take this opportunity to inform your Excellency that I consider myself no longer acting under
the commission of Congress. Their last to me being among my papers at West-point, you, Sir, will make
such use of it as you think proper.
At the same time, I beg leave to assure your excellency that my attachment to the true interest of
my country is invariable, and that I am actuated by the same principle which has ever been the governing
rule of my conduct, in this unhappy contest.
I have the honour, etc., etc.,
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