George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Brigadier General William Irvine, 1 January 1780

To Brigadier General William Irvine

Head Quarters Morris Town 1st Jany 1780

Dear Sir

I have recd your favr of this date inclosing Colo. Olney’s letter. I would not advise you to put any great confidence in H——1 he is very capable of gaining intelligence if he pleases, but I fancy he carries as much as he brings. Trade I beleive is his principal object.

Nothing will be more agreeable to me than to devise some means of stopping the intercourse carried on by the Flag Boats. I do not know under what pretence they make such frequent Visits, and you will oblige me by informing yourself, whether there is any real occasion for it, and whether the practice cannot be prevented without impeding the public and necessary Business. In the mean time you will be pleased to direct th⟨e⟩ search of every letter and packet coming and going, except to and from public Bodies, and prevent the landing any Effects unless they are accompanied by regular permits. I shall depend very much upon your own good sense and discretion in the conduct of the above. I am Dear Sir Your most obt Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Tench Tilghman’s writing, PHi: Papers of William Irvine; Df, DLC:GW; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. GW signed the cover of the LS.

1GW probably is referring to Morris Hatfield (1757–1820) of Elizabeth, N.J., some of whose relatives were active Loyalists. GW suspected Hatfield of being a double spy (see his first letter to Irvine of 9 Jan.; see also GW to Moses Hazen, 24 Jan., and to Samuel Holden Parsons, 23 Dec. 1779).

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