Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 4
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To LORD STIRLING 13 Cambridge, January 10, 1776.

[Note:Col. William Alexander, called Lord Stirling. His claim to the earldom of Stirling was denied by the House of Lords. He was a native of New Jersey and at this time colonel of the First New Jersey Battalion. In March, 1776, he was raised to the rank of brigadier general. ]

    My Lord: Having received undoubted Intelligence of the fitting out of a Fleet from Boston, and of the Embarkation of Troops from thence, which from the Season of the Year and other Circumstances must be destined for some Expedition south of this; and having such Information as I can rely on, that the Inhabitants of Long Island or a great Part of them, are inimical to the Rights and Liberties of America, and by their Conduct and Professions have discovered an apparent Inclination to assist in subjugating their Countrymen and Fellow Citizens, to the System of Tyranny, Administration are attempting to establish; there is the greatest Reason to apprehend, that this Armament, if not immediately designed against the City of New York, is nevertheless intended for Long Island. Knowing it to be of the last Importance to the Interest of America, to prevent the Enemy from getting Possession of these Places, and the North River, which would give them the Command of the Country and a free Communication with Canada, I have dispatched Major General Lee with Orders to repair to New York, with such Volunteers as he can raise on his Way (having no Troops to spare from hence) to put the City and the Fortifications up the River in the best Posture of Defence, the season and Situation of Affairs will admit of; and for taking proper Steps against such Persons on Long Island and elsewhere, whose Conduct hath rendered them suspected of Designs unfriendly to the Views of Congress. I have directed him to apply to you for the Troops of New Jersey under


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your command in the Continental Pay or such of them as he may think necessary for effecting the Purposes of his going. I beg and am assured that you will afford him every Assistance in your Power, for facilitating this Business, as far as may be consistent or not repugnant to the Orders you shall have received from Congress, and with all possible Expedition. I am, My Lord, etc.