George Washington Papers

From George Washington to the Queens County Committee of Safety, 11 August 1776

To the Queens County Committee of Safety

Head Quarters New York Augt 11th 1776


The Publick Exigences having required my apprehending a number of Suspected persons in your County & Sending them into another Colony for a Short time, they have expressed some Apprehensions that in their Absence their Property may be Exposed to Injury & their Families deprivd of the support they would Otherwise derive from it1—I therefore beg leave to acquaint you that a Temporary Restra[i]nt of their Persons is all that is entended by the present measure & that it would give me much pain if it should be Construed to Extend to any Depridation of Property—that matter Resting entirely within the Jurisdiction of the Civil Authority of the Province. Untill therefore some Orders are Received from them to that Effect I shall be happy in beleiving you will exert your whole Power & Influence to prevent the Mischief which these Gentlemen seem to apprehend. I am with Respect Gentlemen Your most Obdt Humb. Servant


LB, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

1Hugh Wallace (d. 1788), a Loyalist merchant who had come to New York from Ireland in 1752 and had settled subsequently at Jamaica on Long Island, wrote GW from New York City on 9 Aug.: “Lord Stirling has acquainted the Prisoners brought from Long Island that they are to attend Your Excellencys Orders tomorrow morning at 9 oClock, & to be then ready to be sent out of the Province.

“I beg to lett Your Excellency know the unfortunate Situation my Brother & Partner & I are under. Our Books, Papers &c. are at the House at Jamaica chiefly where they are verry unsafe, only Women to take care of the House & them, that we have also many Valuable Papers &c. here, which we must leave behind, In short this Affair may probably ruin us.

“Could Your Excellency in Compassion to our distress allow my Brother to stay with his small helpless Family, he could take care of our widely scatterd Affairs, & he is satisfied to give Security to remain on his Farm, As for me tho’ in a verry infirm & disagreable Situation I must be content.

“If Your Excellency cannot indulge us in this request Will you be so good as to allow one of us to go to Jamaica this day, to bring Cloaths & Necessary’s for our Journey & to secure our Books & Papers there in the best way we can, Engaging by all thats sacred & honorable to be here by 9 oClock tomorrow to receive Your Excellencys Commands” (DLC:GW).

Hugh Wallace’s brother and business partner was Alexander Wallace (d. 1800), who had immigrated to America from Ireland in 1757. In February 1776 the Wallaces provided Sir Henry Clinton with £4,000 in gold and silver for his southern expedition, and that fact apparently was used to justify their arrest as suspected Loyalists on 8 August. Both brothers were sent to Middletown, Conn., and were released on parole in December 1776. For an account of Alexander Wallace’s persistent efforts to persuade GW to release him from arrest earlier, see his petition to the New York convention or committee of safety, 6 Dec. 1776, in Force, American Archives description begins Peter Force, ed. American Archives. 9 vols. Washington, D.C., 1837–53. description ends , 5th ser., 3:1099. Hugh Wallace, who had been a member of the provincial council since 1769, continued to serve on the royal council in British-occupied New York City during the war, and in 1782 Guy Carleton appointed him a member of the board of accounts. Alexander Wallace served as lieutenant colonel commandant of the 2d Battalion of New York Loyalist Militia during the war. The Wallaces sailed to England when New York City was evacuated in 1783, and they subsequently lived at Waterford, Ireland.

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