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"If the British had captured Washington......" Topic

11 Posts

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Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2018 6:46 p.m. PST

….would they have exchanged him?

Bear in mind that they were more than willing to exchange Charles Lee. Conspiracy theorists may speculate.
They also exchanged Sullivan.

So. On the theory that they had little respect for his generalship, would they have been eager to see him back in command, damaged?

Other speculation is invited. Follow the title and first paragraph. Not my looney speculation. grin

Personal logo Narratio Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2018 6:59 p.m. PST

You mean instead of setting fire to it?

Oh…. sorry, I was musing on 1812 not Independence. My bad.

Carry on

Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2018 8:13 p.m. PST

Fortunately this did not really happen, I personally think he would have been executed for treason.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2018 9:03 p.m. PST

Possible, but they didn't hang Lee, who was far more culpable of treason.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2018 3:10 a.m. PST

You mean instead of setting fire to it?

Oh…. sorry, I was musing on 1812 not Independence. My bad.

Carry on

There would be nothing stopping them from setting fire to the man Washington.
Humans burn quite well.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2018 3:30 a.m. PST

I doubt that given Washington's centrality in the Revolutionary cause they would have exchanged him

More likely, a fatal or near-fatal blow to the Revolutionary cause

Dn Jackson22 Jun 2018 7:26 a.m. PST

Well, here's the rub. They knew both men from before the war, hence their willingness to exchange Lee…

I think, given the fact they knew Washington, they would not have exchanged him, but might even have shipped him back to England.

95th Division Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2018 7:36 a.m. PST

Agree with Frederick.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2018 9:24 a.m. PST

I don't think the British considered him all that highly.
With the exception of the Trenton Princeton campaign, they pretty much pushed him around at will.
They didn't respect Lee, which may explain his being exchanged with alacrity. Maybe they were hoping he would supplant Washington and be their bitch.
They may have respected Gates more, considering Saratoga.

I think they may have exchanged Washington because they didn't respect him.

Bill N22 Jun 2018 9:48 a.m. PST

The Rebels had a number of British and Loyalist sympathizes in their custody or within their grasp. Publicly executing a major Rebel leader during the war would have risked a bloody retaliation. If the rebellion had been crushed militarily, I expect a number of its leaders, Washington included, would have been executed. A more likely scenario though would have been a political settlement coming after a major British victory, and I am betting part of that settlement would have involved an amnesty for most rebels with banishment for some.

22ndFoot25 Jun 2018 9:44 a.m. PST

I doubt very much, had the loyalist cause prevailed, that many, if any, rebel commanders would have been executed. There was no political call to do so they actually attracted a good deal of political support in Whig quarters and such a cause of action would have been highly divisive domestically.

Similarly, there was no historical precedence for doing so. Even in the '45 only one leading Jacobite, Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat, was executed. This had more to do with his various acts of extreme criminality and double dealing earlier for which he had already been pardoned once. In short, he had it coming.

The other, practical point, is the lack, for most of the war, of anyone senior enough to exchange him for.

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