was invested with the com-
mand of the continental forces south of the Potomac
‘As a Virginian, I rejoice at the change;’ wrote Washington
, who had, however, already discovered that the officer so much courted, was both ‘violent and fickle.’
On the seventh he left New York, but not without one last indulgence of his turbulent temper.
The continental congress had instructed him to put the city in the best possible state of defence; and this he interpreted as a grant of unlimited authority.
He therefore arrested men at discretion, and deputed power to Sears
to offer a prescribed test oath to a registered number of suspected persons, and, if they refused it, to send them to Connecticut
as irreclaimable enemies.
To the rebuke of the New York convention, he answered: ‘When the enemy is at our door, forms must be dispensed with;’ and on the eve of his departure, he gave Ward
the sweeping order, ‘to secure the whole body of professed tories on Long Island
The arbitrary orders were resented by all the New York delegates as ‘a high encroachment upon the rights of the representatives of a free people,’ and were unequivocally condemned and reversed by congress.
Instead of hastening to his new command, Lee
loitered at Philadelphia
, till, on the fifteenth,‘Richard Henry Lee
were directed to request him to repair forthwith to his southern department.’
The expedition to the Carolinas never met the ap-
proval of Howe
, who condemned the activity of the southern governors, and would have had them avoid all disputes, till New York should be recovered.
When Lord Dunmore learned from Clinton