• The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia

The Lee Family Digital Archive is the largest online source for primary source materials concerning the Lee family of Virginia. It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online. We are always looking for new letters, diaries, and books to add to our website. Do you have a rare item that you would like to donate or share with us? If so, please contact our editor, Colin Woodward, at  (804) 493-1940, about how you can contribute to this historic project.


 

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Dear Sir

 

I will not omit this Oppy. of sendg. a few Lines to you, though my first Intents were only to put under Cover the Gazettes, and the Journals of Congress. From Those you will learn how Questions relative to you have been agitated.

May 3 For your Recall 4 to 4 & 4 dividd.1

June 92 Ordr. of the day called for, vizt Rept. of the Comtee of 13. A motion made by Mr. Burke 2dd by Mr Laurens that the Considn. Of the Rept. be postp’d. till order be taken on Mr Deane’s Letter of May 22d and a Decission of the Resolution moved thereon by a Member from Nth. Car. 2dd. by a Membr. from 5th Car. Question by Yeas & Nays demandd. by Burke. 5 a[yes], 4 n[ays], 3 divd.

Motion that Silas Deane Esqr. be ordered not to depart the United States without the special permission of Congress and that Arthur Lee Esqr be directed to repair forthwith to America in order the better to enable Congress to enquire into the Truth of the several Allegations & Suggestions made by the said Ar. Lee in his Correspondence with Congress against the said Silas Deane.

Previous Question called by Gerry 2dd. by S Adams. A Division of the main Question demanded. Previous Question on the 1st Part, Yeas & Nays by Mr. Laurens, 5 a[yes], 5 n[ays], 1 dividd.

Yeas & Nays by Mr. Holton on the 1st Part,4 a[yes],4 n[ays], 3 dd. Previous Question on the 2d pt. yeas & nays by Ellery 11 ays.

The Term recalled having been used with regard to Wm. Lee & Rph. Izard, with an Idea strenuously supported by some of bringing them to America though others who were affirmative meant only vacating Commissions, a 2d Resolve passed That it is the Sense of Congress that Mr. Wm. Lee & Mr R Izard need not repair to America.3 I give them no oficial Notice now,4 nor shall I without the special order of Congress, because, I am again left alone of the Comtee. of for. Affrs. Yr. Brother R H having resigned as I hear, and gone home; and further because something definite ought to be decided in regard to Compensation for Services of the Commissioners. An Attempt has several Times been made lately to chuse a new Comtee instead of filling up the old one. This you will perceive to be singularly decent towards the one who has steadily attended. Nay it is said that such a Comtee. is useless. I am sure I find an immense Deal that ought to be done and a great Burthen in what has been done by a Member of Congress without Secretary or Clerk, little as you & the other Gentlemen abroad may have been benefitted by my Labors.5 Quires of my Writing have been sunk in the sea, most of it near these Capes.

I expect further Attempts to get rid of you. It was a Fear of that and a Strong Desire to scrutinize Mr. D6 that made Mr. Laurens I imagine give into the late Motion.7 But I think you will rise above the Malice of the Faction which you have long known, or, if you find yr. Usefulness destroyed by their accts you will readily tell us so, and desire to make way for some other Person. I have by me large Packets left by your Brother with Copies of Proceedings affecting you, but I will not venture them round about, as a Frigate must soon go directly from hence, or at least a Pacquet boat. I tell Mr. J Adams more on that Head. I suspect much Roguery in the Stoppage of yr. Letters; how else is it that we have not a line from any of you?

Mr. S Adams goes home Tomorrow for good and all, as he says.8 This is intended Via Cadiz, a Copy Via Martinique.

Your Friend & humble servant,

 

J L
 
 

Vid Journals: Apr. 6, 15, 20, 21, 26, 28, 30, May 3, 22, 25, 27, June 9.9

 

 

Endorsed by Arthur Lee: "Receivd thus from Mr Adams the 11th Feby. 1780, i.e. with the wax fingerd not open’d. Mr. Adams had it from Dr. Franklin."

 

 

1 JCC, 14:542 - 43. See also William Carmichael’s Statement, May 3, 1779.

2 The action Lovell described here actually occurred in Congress on June 10. See JCC, 14:711 - 14; and Henry Laurens’ Notes of Proceedings, 11 June 1779.

3 The votes to recall Ralph Izard and William Lee were taken on 8 June. JCC, 14:700 - 705.

4 For the official notices, see Committee for Foreign Affairs to Ralph Izard and to William Lee, 17 July 1779.

5 Two members were finally added to the Committee for Foreign Affairs on 24 November 1779, when William C. Houston and Robert R. Livingston were appointed. JCC, 15:1302. See also Lovell to Arthur Lee, 17 July and 6 August 1779.

6 That is, Silas Deane.

7 Henry Laurens had voted for Arthur Lee’s recall on condition that Silas Deane remain in America. See Laurens’ Notes of Debates, 24 May and 11 June 1779.

8 See Samuel Adams to Richard Henry Lee, this date, note 4.

9 When Lovell extracted this letter in his 17 July 1779, letter to Arthur Lee, he added the date 24 May and changed 9 June to 8 and 10 June, days on which Congress debated the future of Silas Deane and the recall of the American commissioners abroad.

 

 

Source: Lee Family Papers, Houghton Library, Harvard University

 

Uploaded by Colin Woodward, 2015 December 28

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