|Please your Excellency||New York prison Feby 27th 1797|
I in behalf of a Numbers of prisoners at present Confined in the Goal of this City who have at Different Courts within a year past Received Sentence of Confinement for Life to hard Labour and Solitude the Charges or Indictments are all one or two Excepted that of Forgery, Numbers for that of Uttering Bank Paper which was said to be Counterfeit and I believe from the Conversation I have had with them as fellow prisoners that some know not whether the sd Notes were Counterfeits or not. A hard Case that in a free Country Innocence should Suffer, but the Arbitrary power which Invests the Breasts of some of the Officers in this State is unequalled in any Government an Instance has Come to public enquiry in the Case of Richard Varick Mayor of this City, whereas he has been the instigation of unlawful punishment and publicly Arraigned for the Same, the prayer of us all is as we are Young men who with the Assistance of God will become good members of Society, if liberated from this Cruel Confinement, and as your Excellencys presidency will soon be resigned to the great Grief of many, that you will think proper to remember us unfortunate Sufferers as many of us bled in the late war wherein We laboured for freedom.
A proclamation or other Order for our liberty would never be forgot with the Ardent prayers of many. I remn yr Excellency most Obt humble and Devoted Servant, but unfortunate Sufferer
Alexander Howard In behalf
of 17 Convicts
for Life to hard
Labour and Solitude, with
many others for a stipulated
DLC: Papers of George Washington.