On May 18, 1779, Washington sent an answer from Middlebrook, New Jersey, to Theodosia's request for intervention on behalf of her stepbrother Peter De Visme:
It is much to be regretted that the pleasure of obeying the first emotions in favour of misfortune is not always in our power. I should be happy could I consider myself at liberty to comply with your request in the case of your brother, Mr. Peter De Visme. But, as I have heretofore taken no direction in the disposal of marine prisoners, I cannot, with propriety, interfere on the present occasion, however great the satisfaction I should feel in obliging where you are interested. Your good sense will perceive this, and find a sufficient excuse in the delicacy of my situation.
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