George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Lord Stirling, 31 October 1774

From Lord Stirling

Baskenridge (New Jersey) Octor 31st 1774

Dear Sir

The Delaware Lottery haveing been drawn Last Month, I now; (which is as soon as the printer hath put it in my power) send you enclosed some of the printed List of the Numbers of the Tickets which have been so fortunate as to draw the prizes in that Lottery. On the foot Hereof you have the state of the Tickets sent you, out of which you will be pleased to deduct such Cash prizes as are due to any of the Tickets now in your possession; and then be pleasd ⟨to⟩ Transmit the Ballance due with those Tickets to ⟨Ja⟩mes Cocke Esqr. Williamsburg. you will be ⟨ple⟩ased at the same time or as soon as is Convenient ⟨to⟩ you to Transmit to James Cocke Esqr. or to myself the Names of the persons to be inserted in the Deeds for ⟨su⟩ch Land prizes, as the Tickets you had have ⟨be⟩en fortunate enough to Draw; which shall be inser⟨ted⟩ Accordingly.1 and am Your Most Hume Servt

Colonel Washington Dr.
To Tickets delivered 60
By Do returned 42
18 at 10 dollars 180.


1William Alexander, called Lord Stirling, held his Delaware lottery in an attempt to solve his financial problems. Stirling spent the nights of 2 and 3 Jan. 1773 at Mount Vernon, and GW recorded in his ledger having received on 6 Jan. sixty of Stirling’s lottery tickets valued at $10, or £3, each. Twenty of these were for George William Fairfax, but GW was to dispose of the other forty. GW gave twelve of his tickets to the Rev. Walter Magowan, who was visiting at Mount Vernon on 6 Jan., for him to sell in Maryland (see Magowan to GW, 9 May 1773, n.1). GW kept for himself six of the remaining twenty-eight tickets. Unable to sell any of the tickets by the deadline on 1 May 1774, GW at that time sent the twenty-two that he had and the twenty that Fairfax had returned to him unsold to James Cocke in Williamsburg “by yr Lordships direct[io]n” (Ledger B description begins General Ledger B, 1772–1793. Library of Congress, George Washington Papers, Series 5, Financial Papers. description ends , 83). See GW to Stirling, 20 Jan. 1775, and Walter Magowan to GW, 3 Feb. 1775. The lottery was not successful. It not only failed to solve Stirling’s financial problems, but he in fact lost £3,938 on the venture. Stirling had to repudiate the results of the lottery and refund the money to all who had purchased tickets. For an account of the Delaware lottery and its results, see Nelson, Lord Stirling description begins Paul David Nelson. William Alexander, Lord Stirling. University, Ala., 1987. description ends , 57–59. GW did not receive this letter from Stirling for several months, and when he did the printed lists were not in it. See GW to Stirling, 20 Jan. 1775.

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