<br /> Lee Letter: b106

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Samuel Adams

My Dear Sir,

I thank you for your obliging favor of the 26th. of June, it brought me the most circumstantial and satisfactory account of the enemies movements that I have received. As far as distance will allow us to judge of such things, it seems to me as if Gen. Howe designed, by his last sortie from Amboy, to remove our Army to such convenient distance, as to avoid the danger arising from embarkation in the face of a strong force. A proper attentention being paid to the means of rendering this Campaign successful, the next great object is certainly the Confederation. This great bond of Union, will more effectually than anything else, produce present strength, credit, and success; and secure future peace and safety: Nor can any human plan more conclusively establish American Independence. I incline to think that this last effect of Confederation is clearly discerned by the friends of Dependence, because it is obvious, that those generally, who were marked foes to the declaration of independence, are the men that now thwart and delay Confederation, altho they are obliged to act with more reserve and cautious concealment of their true motives. These considerations should urge the friends of America to a firm and persevering union, to finish this all important business quickly as possible. Let the days appointed for this purpose be devoted to that alone, and let the Green mountain, and its Boys too; be sunk in the red Sea, rather than be the occasion of calling you off from the accomplishment of this momentous, and greatest of all earthly considerations. But what occasion can there be my friend, for such an infinity of criticism and care, about that, which is to undergo revision by our Masters before it becomes authentic?

I grant it should be well considered, and digested with judgement; but such excessive refinement, and pedantic affectation of discerning future ills in necessary, innocent, and indeed proper establishments, I cannot hear with patience.

Hitherto Congress has been greatly wanting in not giving quick intelligence to their Commissioners in Europe of events here. You know how heavily they, and our other friends, have complained of this neglect. If the proper Committee does it not, I think Congress should take measures therein. The late movements of Gen. Howe, and their consequences, appear to me sufficiently important to be notified immediately. Slow moving France may have its pace quickned by shewing the weakness of G.B., and removing from her yet smarting apprehension, the dread of British power. If Howe has been obliged to change his situation from Continental to Insular, it will be a striking proof of this weakness. My friend Mr. Lovell informs me that these words are to be inserted in the latter Commissions, “agreable to instructions now and hereafter to be sent” – I am utterly at a loss to know what good can result from this insertion. Are the instructions to be publickly produced, or is any business to be done? The former is without example, and the latter is fraught with most pernicious consequences. Indicision, doubt, and perhaps fraudulent intentions, may be charged upon such a mode of procedure; nor can I think that any sensible Man will be found to undertake a business, that must necessarily expose him to contempt, if not to worse consequences. I incline to think that if you wish to have this business done with propriety and effect, it will be better to agree on a P – n Agent, and one for Vi – n. a – – less exposed to the envy & hatred of a certain sett than your friend the Al – d – n – I hope to be with you early in August, until which time, I wish your leisure may permit you to continue a correspondence so much valued by

your affectionate friend.

Richard Henry Lee


Samuel Adams PapersLenox Library

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762 – 1778, pp. 307 – 9. Addressed to Adams, “Member of Congress at Philadelphia.”