Richard Henry Lee.

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was chairman; and both letters were reported and approved July 8,
1775. See Ford, Journals of Congress, II. 80, 157, 163, 170. The
text of the former was first printed in the Pennsylvania Packet,
December 11,1775. /^'W., II. 171, note. A text with variations is
found in R. H. Lee, Memoir of Richard Henry Lee, I. 153. See Ford,
Journals of Congress, II. 170, for another text, with slight variations.
Several other endorsements appear on folds of the Ms., such as :
" Fasher's Legacy to/his/Daughter/by D^ Gregory," " Robt Eden/
Dan! Dulaney /Robert Eden Gov^of Maryland/Dan} Dulaney."
The following misleading heading has been written by some one on



which you are head a' just tribute of gratitude and
thanks for the virtuous and unsoUcited resentment *
you have shown to' the violated rights of a free people.
The City of London my Lord, having* in all ages ap-
proved itself ® the patron of liberty, and the support of
just government, against lawless tyranny & usurpa-
tion; cannot fail to make us deeply sensible of the
mighty aid our cause receives from such" advocation.
A cause my Lord worthy the support of the first ^ City
in the world, as it involves * the fate of a great Conti-
nent, and bids fair to shake the foundations of a flour-
ishing, and until lately, a happy empire.

North America My Lord wishes most ardently for a
lasting connection with G. Britain on terms of just and
equal liberty* less than which '" generous minds would
not offer," nor brave and free ones be willing to receive.

A cruel war has at length been opened against us,
and whilst we prepare to defend ourselves like the
Descendants of Britons, we still hope that the medi-
ation of wise and good Citizens, will at length prevail
over '^ despotism and restore peace & harmony on per-

the Ms. at the beginning of the letter : " 1775. — May. Letter written
by R. H. Lee on behalf of the Delegates of the City of London to
the Lord Mayor."

' Substituted above the line for " the " erased.

^ Substituted above the line for " regard " erased.

' Written above the line and substituted for " for " erased.

* Substituted above the line for " hath " erased.

° Preceding this word on the line " themselves " is erased.

* Written above the line and substituted for " their " erased.
^ Substituted above the line for " greatest " erased.

* Following this word " in it " is erased, and before the word
"fate," an "f" is erased.

* The words " We think a generous mind " are here erased on the

" " a " is here erased on the line.
*' The word " and " here on the line is erased.
'* The word " vicious," following here upon the line, is erased.



manent principles, to to an oppressed and divided

We have the honor to be

[The remainder of the page is covered with figures.]


Philadelphia 24 July 1775.


Attention to the public business, and an immediate
answer to your letter not being necessary, will, I hope
be my excuse for not sooner acknowleding the receipt
of your favor of June the 5-. The case you mention
has not yet come under consideration of the Congress.
It is a hard one no doubt, but how to give relief, without
again introducing that Cornmodity to public use, is
a question of much difficulty. New York is not a sin-
gular instance of such suffering, they ^ are plentifully '
scattered thro all the existing Colonies. Should Con-
gress determine to admit the sale and the use of what
tea is on hand, may not bad men take the advantage
of the impossibility of distinguishing this from newly
imported Tea & exerting their wits conceal the importa-
tion, and thus render abortive * our Association against
this article, the hateful cause of the present disagreeable
situation of N. America. I fear this case, is among the
number of those unavoidable evils introduced into

'A. dr. L. S. University of Virginia, Lee Papers, reverse of Ms.
No. 76. Answer to McDougal's letter of June 5, 1775. McDougal,
Merchant of New York, presided in 1774 at the meeting preliminary
to the election of delegates to the Continental Congress. He was
Colonel of the ist New York Regiment in 1776, and was made
Brigadier-General in August, 1776, and Major-General October, 1777.

^Substituted for "the equal instances" erased.

^ Substituted for "to be found" erased.

* The words "the whole of " are here erased.



Society, by the want of public virtue. I am acquainted
with very many instances of large quantities of stopt
Teas in Virginia, but I am happy to find that the
Sufferers bear their misfortune with much patience in
consideration of the pubUc good resulting therefrom.
It is more than a year now, since the use of Tea has
been totally banished from Virginia. Do you not think
Sir, that Gen. Gage will turn his eyes to N.York for
winter quarters for part of his Army, and * may it not
be wise to be prepared for resisting a plan caculated
to afford shelter in ^ cold weather to Men who will
certainly enter upon our destruction when the Season
changes ?

I am, with much regard. Sir your most obedient
humble Servant.

Alex. M' Dougal Esq. N. York.


Dear Sir, Philadelphia 26 July 1775

With most cordial warmth we recommend our
Countryman M? Edmund Randolph to your patronage
and favor.

This young Gentlemans abilities, natural and ac-
quired, his extensive connections, and above all, his
desire to serve his Country in this arduous struggle, are
circumstances that cannot fail to gain him your coun-
tenance and protection.

' The words " if so " above the line are erased.

^ The word "the" above the line is erased.

' A. L. S. by Lee. Library of Congress, Letters to Washington,
VL 157. Signed in autograph also by Patrick Henry and Thomas
Jefferson. A printed text is in Sparks, Correspondence of the Revolu-
tion, 1. 24.



You will readily discern Sir, how important a con-
sideration it is, that our Country should be furnished
with the security and strength derived from our young
Gentry being possessed of military knowledge, so neces-
sary in these times of turbulence and danger.

Encouraged by your friendship, and instructed by
your example, we hope Mr Randolph will become
useful to his Country and profitable to himself.

We most heartily wish you health and success, with
a happy return to your family and Country, being with
great sincerity dear Sir Your affectionate friends and
obedient Servants.


Dear Sir, Philadelphia, i^. August 1775

After the fatigue of many days, and of this in par-
ticular, I should not sit down at eleven o Clock at night
to write to a Gentleman of whose goodness of heart I
have less doubt than I have of yours. But well knowing
that you will pardon what flows from good intentions,
I venture to say that my hopes are, you will find from
what Congress has already done, and from what I hope
they will do tomorrow, that it has been a capital object
with us to make your arduous business as easy to you
as the nature of things will admit. The business imme-
diately before us being finished, the approaching sickly
season here, and the great importance of our presence

*A. L. S. Library of Congress, Letters to Washington, VL 175.
A text with alterations is printed in Sparks, Correspondence of the
Revolution, L II. Lee voted for Washington as general and com-
mander-in-chief and was chairman of the committee appointed, June
15, 1775, to draft his commission and instructions as General. See
Ford, Journals of Congress, IL 91,93, 96. Lee's letters of this period
show an affectionate regard for Washington.


in the Virg!^ Convention, have determined a recess of a
Month, it standing now, that the Congress shall meet
here again on the 5- of September. The capital object
of powder we have attended to as far as we could by
sending you the other day six Tons, and tomorrow
we shall propose sending six or eight Tons more, which,
with the supplies you may get from Connecticut, and
such further ones from here, as future expected impor-
tations may furnish, will I hope enable you to do all that
this powerful article can in good hands accomplish.
We understand here, that Batteries may be constructed
at the entrance of the Bay of Boston so as to prevent
the egress & regress of any Ships whatever. If this be
fact, would it not Sir be a signal stroke to secure the
Fleet & Army in and before Boston so as to compel a
surrender at discretion. While I write this, I assure
you my heart is elated with the contemplation of so
great an event. A decisive thing, that would at once
end the War, and vindicate the injured liberties of Amer-
ica. But your judgment and that of your brave Asso-
ciates, will best determine the practicability of this
business. I think we have taken the most effectual
measures to secure the friendship of the Indians all
along our extensive frontiers, and by what we learn of
the Spirit of our Convention, now sitting at Richmond,
a spirit prevails there very sufficient to secure us on that
quarter — The particulars of their conduct I refer you
to Mr Frauer [?] [* * *]* for, who comes fresh from
thence, & who goes to the Camp a Soldier of fortune —
You know him better than I do, and I am sure you
will provide for him as he deserves.

We are here as much in the dark about news from
England as you are, the London Ships having been
detained long beyond the time they were expected.

* Illegible omission.


The indistinct accounts we have, tell us of great con-
fusion all over England, and a prodigious fall of the
Stocks. I heartily wish it may be true, but if it is not
so now, I have no doubt of its shortly being the case.

I will not detain you longer from more important
affairs, than to beg the favor of you, when your leisure
permits, to oblige me with a line by Post, to let us know
how you go on —

There is nothing I wish so much as your success, hap-
piness, and safe return to your family and Country,
because I am with perfect sincerity dear Sir Your
Affectionate friend and countryman.


Dear Brother, Chantilly 5'-^ SeptJ 1775.

Mf Browne having promised me a few days ago to
see me here before he sailed, I had not began a letter to
you expecting first to converse with him. But I have
this moment at 6 "Clock in the evening, received a line
from him, informing me that he must leave Hobbe's
Hole early tomorrow morning for York, to sail imme-
diately for England. You must in this hurried state
expect a letter of much confusion, and many things
omitted that I should have written, and which you per-
haps might expect. From the 10- of May to the 4-
of August I was confined at Philadelphia, and as the
Congress adjourned to this day, I seized the oppor-
tunity of visiting my family. And since my return to
this Colony, great part of my time has been spent at our
Convention in Richmond Town where I was obliged
to go. You can therefore expect little from me on the

' A. L. S. Lenox Library, Ford Collection.



subject of your business. I suppose the Squire has
written you concerning the Servants ballance but at all
events, I will take care to have this business settled.

Upon the whole as things were circumstanced, your
two Ships have come pretty well off — The loolifids that
I luckily engaged from Col? Geo. Mason put Capt.
Brown finely forward. You no doubt will have a Ship
here as early as any other when we are so fortunate as
to have peace again restored. At present, you may
depend that a most faithful adherence to our Non-
Export will be observed. This takes place now in 5
days. All who have seen M.'. Edw. Browne like him
much, he is very clever, and I approve most heartily
of your union with him. Capt. Browne tho, like another
North Briton, got himself into a fray up Rappahanock,
calling some people Rebels and asking the Negroes
if they w? not fight for the King against such Rebels,
and actually fired his Gun on the people — He got
rufly handled and his conduct gave much Offence — I
dont think he will do. This story our brother Thomas
& several Gentlemen in Fredericksburg affirmed to
me was true. I observe you are satisfied that I ought to
have credit for the £g. bill — -It was drawn by Thomas
Montgomerie 8 June 1771 — I am contented to be
credited an hundred Sterling for the dollars I paid to
Col? Loudon. You have not credited me for ;^
sterling, which our brother Frank wrote me in 1773
he would desire you to do on his Account. The ex-
change in Seldens bill for the Servant, was, I assure
you on my honor, the established exchange of the Court
but a few days before I settled with him, for I saw him
on my way home from Williamsburg. I am very sorry
that some of the Tob? for the Servants turned out so bad,
but if Inspectors will be Villains, it is not easy to guard
against them without previous reason to suspect them.
Our Inspection Law is now expired, and will not be



revived until peace takes place. This will be one
effectual security for the Non-Exportation.

I thank you and the Doctor much for your letters,
they have been of great use to me, tho some of them
did not reach me until very lately. I have inclosed
you a packet for my dear boys left open for your inspec-
tion — There are some politics for them — Please seal,
pay the postage, and send the packet. On you and
my brother I depend solely for the care and protection
of my dear Boys in this tempestuous Season, when I
can do little for them — I hope their gratitude and vir-
tue will prevent your having much trouble with them —
M^ Ponsonby has never sent me any of their Ac-
counts. The Greenspring Tob? you complain of
having been put up dirty, was done by Gary Wilkeson;
for he insisted on finishing his own Crop. The Tob°
that comes this year is the first of Fauntleroys. I had
just sent an Express to him and expected a full account
of all your affairs, but Mf Brownes sudden departure
will prevent your getting it by this opportunity.

Our best love to M- Lee & kiss your little Patriot
for me.

Your affectionate.

P.S. The Barrister has all my Politics & papers,
refer to him.


Dear Sir, Philadelphia 26- Septf 1775

Two days ago I arrived here from Virginia, which the
late short adjournment just allowed me time to visit and
return from. I brought two letters from thence for you

' A. L. S. Library of Congress, Letters to Washington, VL 357.
Endorsed, "From/The Hon. R* W Lee Esq'/ad Sep 1775/
Answered 13'i Octr/1775."



which come with this. Having some business with
Col? Mason, I travelled that road and having sent to
your Lady to know if she had any commands this way,
had the pleasure to learn that all were well at Mount
Vernon. As I suppose it will be agreable to you to
know what is passing in Virginia, I have inclosed you
the proceedings of our last Convention, with two of
Purdies Gazettes. I am greatly obliged to you for your
favor of August the 29-, and you may be assured I shall
pay great attention to it. When I mentioned securing
the entrance of the harbour of Boston, it was more in
the way of wishing it could be done, than as conceiving
it very practicable. However the reasons you assign
are most conclusive against the attempt. I assure you,
that so far as I can judge from the conversation of Men,
instead of their being any who think you have not done
enough, the wonder seems to be that you have done so
much. I believe there is not a Man of common sense
and who is void of prejudice, in the world, but greatly
approves the discipline you have introduced into the
Camp ; since reason and experience join in proving, that
without discipline Armies are fit only for the contempt
and slaughter of their Enemies. Your labors are no
doubt great, both of mind and body, but if the praise of
the present and future times can be of any compensa-
tion you will have a plentiful portion of that. Of one
thing you may certainly rest assured, that the Congress
will do every thing in their power to make your most
weighty business easy to you. I think you could not
possible have appointed a better Man to his present
office than MT Mifflin. He is a singular Man, and you
certainly will meet with the applause and support of
all good men by promoting and countenancing real
merit and public virtue, in opposition to all private in-
terests, and partial affections. You will see in the pro-
ceedings of our Convention, that they have agreed to



raise the pay of our Rifle Officers & Men to the Vir-
ginia standard — It may perhaps encourage them to
be told this.

We have no late accounts from England, but from
what we have had that can be relied on, it seems almost
certain, that our Enemies there must shortly meet with a
total overthrow. The entire failure of all their schemes,
and the rising spirit of the people strongly expressed by
the remonstrance of the Livery of London to the King,
clearly denote this. The Ministry had their sole re-
liance on the impossibility of the Americans finding
money to support an army, on the great aid their cause
would receive from Canada, and consequent triumph of
their forces over the liberties and rights of America.
The reverse of all this has happened, and very soon now,
our Commercial resistance will begin sorely to distress
the people at large. The Ministerial recruiting business
in England has entirely failed them, the Shipbuilders in
the royal yards have mutinied, and now they are driven
as to their last resort to seek for Soldiers in the Highlands
of Scotland. But it seems the greatest willingness of
the people there cannot supply more than one or two
thousand men, A number rather calculated to increase
their disgrace, than to give success to their cause.

I beg your pardon for engaging your attention so long,
and assure you that I am with unfeigned esteem dear
Sir Your affectionate friend and Countryman.


Dear Sir, Philadelphia 8* Oct? 1775

A Ship in 7 weeks from London brings us pretty per-
fect intelligence of the infernal designs of our Minis-

* A. L. S. Library of Congress, Letters to Washington, VIL 16.



terial enemies, as you will see by the inclosures in Dt
Shippens"^ letter. I believe they are the most perfect
that could be obtained, and so may be much relied on.
God grant that our successes at Boston and in Canada
may disappoint, and thereby ruin these fatal foes to the
liberty and happiness of the British empire.

My love, if you please, to Gen. Lee, Mifflin, Griffen,
and my other friends with you.

May heaven preserve you, and give your Army success
in the most glorious cause that was ever contended for
by human nature.

I am dear Sir your affectionate friend and obedient


Dear Sir, Philadelphia 22? October 1775

I thank you for your obliging favor of the 13- and I
assure you that no Man living approves the vigorous
measures you mention more than myself. Great bodies,
you know, move slow; and it is as sure that the most
palpable and glorious events may be delayed, and the
best causes finally lost by slow, timid, and indecisive
counsels. We must be content however to take human
nature as we find it, and endeavor to draw good out
of evil. You will, no doubt, have beared the disgrace-
ful conduct of our Norfolk, in suffering Lord Dunmore,
with a few men to take away their printing press ! It
happened when the good men of that place were all
awy, and none but Tories & Negroes remained behind.
Virginia is much incensed, and 500 are ordered im-

* Doctor William Shippen, Jr., of Philadelphia.

' A. L. S. Library of Congress, Letters to Washington, VIL 68.
Addressed, " His excellency/ General Washington/at the Camp at
Cambridge &/near/Boston." Endorsed, "Answer'd 8*? Nov^"



mediately down to Norfolk. I expect, by every Post,
to hear of the demolition of that infamous nest of

By a Vessel in 20 days from Quebec, which I believe
brings us later intelligence than you had from thence
when the last Express left Gamp, we learn that the D.
Governor had 12 Companies of Canadians in training
and that they were generally on their guard. But the
same acco[unt] says, the Government was so suspicious of
the attachment of its Troops, that they were trusted with
no more than 4 rounds of Cartridge. This still gives
us some hopes of success on that quarter. Before this
reaches, you will have heard of Col? Aliens unlucky,
and unwise attempt upon Ml Real, nor have we, from
the last accounts, much prospect of success from S? Johns.
The Ministerial dependance on Canada is so great, that
no object can be of greater importance to North America
than to defeat them there. It appears to me, that we
must have that Country with us this winter cost what
it will. Col? Stephen writes me from Fort Pitt, that the
Indians on that quarter come slowly in to the Commis-
sioners, and that they evidently appear to be waiting the
event of things in Canada, when they will surely according
to custom join the strongest side. We have so many
resources for powder, that I think we cannot fail of
getting well supplied with that most necessary article.

Remember me, if you please, to Gen. Gates, and to
all my acquaintances with you.

I am with great esteem and sincerity, dear Sir Your
affectionate and obedient Servant.

P.S. Monday morning — 'Tis with infinite concern
I inform you that our good old Speaker Peyton Ran-
dolph Esql went yesterday to dine with M' Harry Hill,
was taken during the course of dinner with a dead
palsey, and at 9 ?Clock at night died without a groan —



Thus has American Hberty lost a powerful Advocate,
and human nature a sincere friend.


To Silas Deane, Esq! [November 7, 1775.]

You are desired to repair immediately to the City of
New York, and there purchase a Ship suitable for car-
rying 20 nine pounders upon one deck, if such a Ship
can there be found. Also a Sloop, suitable to carry
ten guns, which we would choose should be Bermudian
built if such a one can be had. If you succeed in pur-
chasing both, or either of these Vessels, you will use all
possible expedition to procure them to be armed and
equipped for the Sea. For this purpose you will apply
to, and employ such persons as can carry this business
into the most speedy execution. Should there be danger
in fitting these Vessels at New York from the Kings
ships, you may then send the Vessels eastward thro the
Sound to New London or Norwich in order to be
armed and fitted. Should this be the case you will
repair immediately to the place where the Ships are to
be fitted, and there use every means in your power to
procure this to be done with the utmost expedition. In
the Colony of Connecticut you are to procure powder for
both these Vessels, and such other Military Stores as can
there be had. "You will procure the Cannon and other
Stores at New York or any other place where it can be
done in the best and most expeditious manner. You

' A. L. S. Connecticut Historical Society, Silas Deane's Accounts,
No. 19. The body of the letter is in the autograph of Richard Henry
Lee, but it is signed also in autograph by " Step. Hopkins, Christ.
Gadsden, Joseph Hewes, John Adams, Jn? Langdon." Lee signs
third. The postscript is in a different handwriting.



will also procure Officers and Men suitable for these
Vessels.^ As soon as these Vessels can possibly be fitted
for the Sea, you will order them immediately in to
Delaware Bay. You will by every opportunity give us
the most exact intelligence of all your proceedings by
conveyances the most safe and secure that can be ob-
tained. You are empower'd to draw on Governor Hop-
kins for such sums of money as may be necessary for
the above business.

Philadelphia November the 7— 1775

P.S. In the course of your Journey at New York,
or elsewhere you are to employ proper persons to engage
experienced and able-bodied seamen to man the Ships
now fitting out who must repair to Philadelphia with
all possible dispatch. ^

Online LibraryRichard Henry LeeThe letters of Richard Henry Lee → online text (page 12 of 36)