Chillicothe 2d of June 1813
Since writing you last I have seen the Cartel for the exchange of prison- ers of war, between Great Britain & the United States of America.
Should the British government, not confirm this cartel, but adhere to the principles contended for by Governor Prevost, that officer can only be exchanged for officers of the same rank & that sea and land forces cannot be exchanged for each other, some of the American officers will continue pri- soners of war. In this event I will claim my privilege of being exchanged in my proper turn: that is, agreeably to the rank which I held in the army at the time of surrender & claiming a pr eference of those who have been sub- sequently captured. This rule was established by Genl. Washington, and as it is an equitable one I presume it will be adopted by our government. Should government think proper to make a difference between the regular officers & those of the volunteers & militia I can make no objection. I would also yield in favor of Major Madison because he is in actual confinement.
I rank all the officers of my grade in tile line, except Major Denny, and all those who have received appointments.
I am sorry that in appointments & promotions so little respect should be aid to former ranlc. It will produce great uneasiness & perhaps cause many valuable officers to leave the service.
Genl Washington, for whose opinions I have the greatest veneration, in a letter to the president of Congress, dated December 1st 1777 expresses himself on this subject in the following manner.
In respect to .raomotious for merit and intrepedity I would beg leave to observe, that, though these are proper considerations to found them upon, yet they should be made with the greatest caution and attention, and only in cases of the most eminent and distinguished services. Every promotion or rise out of common course cannot fail to excite uneasiness in a greater or lesser degree: and nothing will reconcile them to the army at large, and particularly the officer more immediately affected by them, but where the causes are known and acknowledged. This I mention from my wishes to promote the publick interest, from my knowing that harmony is essential to this end, and from no other motives whatever."
Should you take the trouble to enquire what prospect there is of my being speedily exchanged and inform me accordingly it will be very acceptable to [ed. the rest is cut out, but looks like McArthur's handwriting.]
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