<br /> Lee Letter: b096

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee, for the Committee of Congress
Recipient: Circular to the States

Sir,

Ever attentive to the security of civil liberty Congress would not have consented to the resting of such powers in the military department as those which the inclosed resolves convey to the <illegible> Continental Commander in Chief, if the situation of public affairs did not at this Crisis require a decision & vigor which distance and numbers deny to Assemblies far removed from each other and from the immediate seat of war. The strength & progress of the enemy joined to prospects of considerable reenforcement have rendered it not only necessary that the American force should be augmented beyond what Congress had before designed, but that it should be brought into the field with all possible expedition. These considerations therefore induce Congress to request in the most earnest manner that the fullest influence of your State may be exerted to aid such levies as the General shall direct in consequence of the powers now given him, and that your quota of Batallions formerly fixt may be completed and ordered to head quarters with all the dispatch that an ardent desire to secure the public happiness can dictate.

Notes:

Lee PapersAmerican Philosophical Society

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762 – 1778, pp. 240 – 41. Lee drafted this letter for the committee appointed by Congress on 28 December, consisting of Lee, James Wilson, and John Adams, to inform the states that Congress had granted additional powers to General Washington. The manuscript contains extensive revisions.