<br /> Lee Letter: b060

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Samuel Adams


Since my letter to you of December the last, I have not been favored with any from you, and now, in a few days, I shall go to Williamsburg, where our Assembly will be convened on the 4th. of next month. There we shall remain I expect, until the last of June, during which time, should any material information concerning the American cause reach Boston from Parliament or Administration, I should be glad to have particular intelligence from you. At the same time, it will be highly conducive to the general good, that your Corresponding Committee write a public letter to Ours on any such occasion. Its reception whilst the Assembly is sitting will be the most fit time for information coming to hand. I am led to suppose that something material may happen, in consequence of the well deserved fate which befel the Tea on your quarter, and which I see has so mooved the Spleen of some ill judging Writer in the Public Advertiser, as to induce him to persuade the adoption of harsh measures against America. However consonant this advice may be the opinion of our Tory Ministers, yet I think two considerations will secure the quiet of the British Empire against the effects of their despotism.

The extreme difficulty of fixing on any plausible mode of of resentment and the approaching General election in England. The wise and good in Britain are too well convinced of the unmerited abuse we have received for 10 or 12 years past not to produce consequences from a dispute with America, fatal to the views of Ministry at a general election. – A few days since came to my hands a letter from London dated January 29th. 1774 in which the Gentleman says “I have just come from the Privy Council, where the petition from the house of Representatives in Massachusetts Bay praying for the removal of Govr. Hutchinson & Lieut. Govr. Oliver was enforced by Mr. Duning and Councillor John Lee. The Govrs were vindicated by Wedderburne who was exceedingly abusive of the New England & Rhode Islanders, calling them factious, seditious, disaffected, and even rebellious. In short, I never hear’d a man speak for two hours so very little to the purpose respecting the case before the Council, or more insolently abusive of every person whom he thought of different sentiments from himself. Duning was very unwell, however, in his reply, he gave the N. Briton some smart wipes. The Board was very full, and the Room exceedingly crowded. I do not yet know the Councils report.” He concludes however With fearing that it will be unfavorable to America!

The truth is Sir, that we have only to be cool, firm, and united, to secure as well ourselves, as our fellow Subjects beyond the Water, from a Systematic plan of despotism, that has already fallen with a heavy hand on every part of the Empire. Unless N. Britain may be excepted, the Inhabitants of which Country are much favored indeed, altho the most accurate Searchers into their history, can find no peculiar merits they have with the present reigning family. I am, with very particular esteem, Sir

Your most humble and obedient Servant.

R. H. Lee


Samuel Adams PapersLenox Library

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762 – 1778, pp. 106 – 8.