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Letter from Lord Stirling to General Washington



New-York, March 11, 1776.

MY DEAR GENERAL: General Lee left this place on Thursday evening last for Philadelphia, in his way for Virginia, where he is to command. This has thrown a heavy load on my shoulders, and very unexpectedly; but I am like soon to be relieved from it, as I hear Brigadier-General Thompson is to be here in a day or two.

The sudden departure of the post prevents my saying anything at present relative to the situation of this place;


and will only inform you that, last night; three gentlemen landed here from on board a packet, nine weeks out from Falmouth. They say that seven regiments of Foot, amounting to about four thousand men, were embarked and ready to sail from Cork about the 6th of January, bound to the Southern Colonies. That Great Britain had engaged four thousand Hanoverians and six thousand Hessians, for the American service, and were in treaty for ten thousand Russians. That the French Ambassador at London had declared to the English Ministry, that his master did not mean to meddle with the quarrel between Great Britain and her Colonies, while it was carried on with its own force; but that he could not be an idle spectator if any foreign aid was made use of. (It was not then known in London, that the French had any troops in the West-India Islands.) That it was not likely any more British Troops would be sent out, for they had them not to spare,

If these things should -be true, I am in hopes we shall have an easy summer' s work to secure the whole Continent. The Commissioners, whose number is reduced to twenty, were to embark about the middle of January. It was said that they were to endeavour to treat with the Assemblies of Colonies separately, if possible; and even to retail out corruption to single towns or families; but if this could not succeed, they were to swallow the bitter pill, and treat with Congress.

Adieu, my dear General; the post waits. But yet, present my best regards to Mrs˙ Washington, Mr˙ and Mrs˙Custis, Palfrey, &c˙; and am, with the highest esteem and regard, your most humble servant,

To General Washington.