• 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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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 Loudon[1]

            Yr Letters to Mr. Lloyd of Maryland have reachd this place to others, but none from you to me. This is a little unkind especially as I have written frequently to you. By those Letters you seem to be in good spirits wch. rejoices me. For I see nothing but the want of them & of funds wch. can materially injure the great cause. The regulation & credit of yr. paper seems to me to require most of yr. attention, since yr. funds lean upon it, & if they fail the injury may be irreparable. In truth till the public is assured you have specie in yr. Treasury, yr. paper will never have due credit. But if the money holders were once satisfyd you had there one million of hard dollars, they would not hesitate to lend twenty upon it. This is precisely the case with the bank of England, whose Paper certainly exceeds twenty fold its Specie; & it is with that Paper principally that the war is supported against us. Fas est et ab hoste doceri[2]

            But the question is, where are we to get these hard Dollars? Send affects to the Island, collect the Dollars, & dispatch yr. swiftest sailing Frigate to bring them safe. Surely this is not impracticable. And most certainly without some plan wisely laid & vigorously executed, you will be in great danger of finding your measures for the public defense & security impeded, if not entirely obstructed.

            It seems to me that we may rely upon the continuance of countenance & support from certain powers in Europe; but that there will be a war soon, is not I confess my opinion. Things however are in so critical a situation, that it is with great diffidence I give any opinion upon the subject. The circumstances of our enemies are so embarrassed, & their resources so exhausted, that without Aids from Russia, Denmark, & Sweden, of wch. there is at present no likelyhood, they cannot support another campaign.

            I have mentioned to you a Cabal being formed here, under the auspices of Mr. Dean, wch. has given me much disquiet & been very busy to defame me in my absence. I sent you a Copy of a newspaper production of this cast. Among other things they have circulated a report both here & in England, wch. will probably reach America, of dissentions subsisting among the Commissioners. I have taken care to prevent, & most certainly none have yet existed notwithstanding all their diligence in provoking them. Among these Gentlemen I would wish to gaurd you particularly against a Mr. Carmichael of whose art & enmity I have had sufficient proofs to make me distrust him for the future.

            Adieu

Arthur Lee

 

 

Paris    Ocr. 7th 1777

 

 

 

Source: The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 2, M2009.055

 

 

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 March 14

 


[1] As a young man, the area Francis Lightfoot Lee lived in in northern Virginia was renamed Loudon County. Afterward, his brothers nicknamed him “Loudon.”

[2] Latin, meaning “it is right to be taught, even by enemies.”

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