George Washington to Alexander McWhorter: Care For Their Souls and Get Some Intelligence While You’re At It

Here is an interesting letter I ran across today.  It is written from George Washington to Alexander McWhorter, the Presbyterian minister of the church at Newark, NJ.

Sir.  Head Qrs Fredericksburg 12th Otbr 1778

There are now under sentance of death, in the provost, a Farnsworth and Blair, convicted of being spies from the enemy, and of publishing counterfeit Continental currency. It is hardly to be doubted but that these unfortunate men are acquainted with many facts respecting the enemys affairs, and their intentions which we have not been able to bring them to acknowledge. Besides the humanity of affording them the benefit of your profession, it may in the conduct of a man of sense answer another valuable purpose—And While it serves to prepare them for the other world, it will naturally lead to the intelligence we want in your inquiries into the condition of their spiritual concerns. You will therefore be pleased to take the charge of this matter upon yourself, and when you have collected in the course of your attendance such information as they can give you will transmit the whole to me. I am Sir &c.

G. W——n

Papers of George Washington