Head quarters 7th Military District
February 20th. 1815
On the application you made to me, supported by the report of Capt. White in behalf of the owners of slaves taken by the British forces, I beg that you would assure those gentlemen that I have taken and will take every step which my official duty will allow, to procure a restoration of their property.
Having received an intimation from Genl. Lambert that the negroes would be returned, I immediately authorized Capt. Henley to proceed to the fleet & receive them.
To this application no answer was returned-- nothing but the strongest desire to procure a restoration of their property to the suffering citizens, would have induced me after this to expose myself a second time to a slight of the same nature; availing myself however of an other opening which offered I again pressed the subject and at the solicitation of the gentlemen interested, permitted Captn. White to accompany Mr. Livingston; by his report which you communicated to me it appears that fallacious promises were all that could be obtained-- In a day or two an other flag will be sent with the prisoners for exchange, I shall once more demand a categorical answer on the subject by the officer who carries it, if this is refused or evaded the planters may be persuaded that the offers & promises of the English were only made for the worst purposes.
I be you also to state that duty will not permit me to go farther than this, that my government would have reason strongly to reprehend my conduct, should I permit any intercourse with the enemy, except through the regular channel, and that tho' I sincerely lament the losses of the gentlemen concerned I cannot take any step to gratify them which I am convinced would be incorrect-- Should the ratification of the treaty of Peace arrive, the Individual interested may then have permission to try what effect their application can have—til then it cannot be permitted. I am sir, with great consideration your most obedt. Servant
Major Genl. Commandg