Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO MAJOR-GENERAL LEE. - The Writings of George Washington, vol. III (1775-1776)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
TO MAJOR-GENERAL LEE. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. III (1775-1776) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1889). Vol. III (1775-1776).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
TO MAJOR-GENERAL LEE.
Cambridge, 30 January, 1776.
I wrote to you the 23d instant, and then informed you, that General Clinton had gone upon some expedition with four or five hundred men. There is good reason to believe, that Tryon has applied for some troops, and that he would join them with a great number of inhabitants; so that you will see the necessity of your being decisive and expeditious in your operations in that quarter. The Tories should be disarmed immediately, though it is probable that they may have secured their arms on board the King’s ships, until called upon to use them against us. However, you can seize upon the persons of the principals. They must be so notoriously known, that there will be little danger of your committing mistakes, and happy should I be if the Governor could be one of them.
Since writing the above, your favor of the 24th has come to hand, with the sundry enclosures, which I have with attention perused, and very much approve of your conduct. I sincerely wish that the letter you expect to receive from Congress may empower you to act conformable to your own and my sentiments on this occasion. If they should order differently, we must submit, as they doubtless will have good reasons for what they may determine.1
The Congress desire I should send an active general to Canada. I fancy, when they made the demand, that they did not think General Schuyler would continue in that station, which he has given me to understand, in some late letters from him, that he would. Should they not approve of the New York expedition, and think another general necessary for the northern department, it is probable they will fix on you to take the command there. I should be sorry to have you removed so far from this scene; but if the service there requires your presence, it will be a fine field for the exertion of your admirable talents. There is nothing new here. Let me hear often from you, and believe me, &c.2
[1 ]General Lee was now at Stamford, in Connecticut, where he was preparing to enter New York with such troops as he had collected. In his letter to Congress from Stamford, he had strongly urged the expediency of disarming the Tories, requiring an oath of them to act offensively and defensively in support of the common rights, and a pledge of one half of their property as a security for their good behavior. Congress appointed a committee (Harrison, Lynch and Allen) to repair to New York, to consult and advise with the council of safety and General Lee on the defence of the city. Journals of Congress, 26 January, 1776.
[2 ]Lee arrived in New York on February 4th “almost at the same instant” with Clinton. “He (Clinton) has brought no troops with him, and pledges his honor that none are coming. He says it is merely a visit to his friend Tryon. If it is really so, it is the most whimsical piece of civility I ever heard of. He informs us that his intention is for North Carolina, where he expects five regiments from England; that he only brought two companies of light infantry from Boston. This is certainly a droll way of proceeding; to communicate his full plan to the enemy is too novel to be credited.” Lee to Washington, 5 February, 1776. It would appear, however, that Clinton spoke truly. “I have furnished him (Clinton) with such information of the southward colonies as I am hopeful may be of some service.” Governor Tryon to the Earl of Dartmouth, 8 February, 1776.