George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 2 January 1773]

2. Doctr. Rumney went away after Breakfast. Lord Sterling & Captn. Foy with Colo. Fairfax came to Dinner. The latter went away afterwards. The other Gentlemen stayd.

Capt. Edward Foy was secretary to Lord Dunmore. William Alexander (1726–1783) of New Jersey called himself Lord Stirling, although his claim to a Scottish earldom was disallowed by the House of Commons. He had served as aide and secretary to Gov. William Shirley of Massachusetts during the French and Indian War, and in the coming Revolution he was to serve throughout the war as a major general in the Continental Army. Stirling was a man of wealth and social prominence, but for several years he had overextended himself and was currently attempting to solve his financial difficulties by holding a lottery. It was to promote this “Delaware Lottery” that he visited Mount Vernon. He put 60 tickets into GW’s hands, 6 of which GW kept himself, 12 were given to Walter Magowan to sell, and 42 were sent, by Stirling’s instructions, to James Cocke, mayor of Williamsburg (General Ledger B description begins General Ledger B, 1772–1793. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers. description ends , folio 83). The venture, however, was a failure, and Stirling eventually refunded the money to those who had bought tickets. George William Fairfax had written GW earlier to make arrangements for Stirling’s and Foy’s visit (GW to Fairfax, 19 Jan. 1773, DLC:GW).

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