<br /> Lee Letter: b120

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee, for the Virginia Delegates in Congress
Recipient: Patrick Henry

Sir,Conversing with Monsr Loyeaute, on the subject of what you are pleased to say the assembly have in contemplation for him, we find the plan quite the reverse of his wishes, and inconsistent with his ideas of being personally and quickly useful in the field. Of good family, and early trained to war by his father, who is a general in the Artillery of France, he wants to be in action, and hopes to acquire glory by the good services of himself and the Corps he shall instruct. The probability of the war going south next Campaign, and the character he had learnt of Virginia, made him readily agree with the views of the Delegates to remain behind his Companions who are returning to France, in expectation of serving our country by introducing the knowledge of Artillery, in a manner consistent with his ideas of military character. We may yet avail ourselves of this Gentleman’s abilities as you will see by the enclosed proposition,1 which we pray you, Sir, to lay before the honorable Houses. We have many reasons for wishing this plan may meet with approbation. Because we are well convinced of its public utility. Because of the generous cordiality with which this gentleman accorded with our proposals, contrary to earnest solicitations of his countrymen to the contrary, and of others who wanted him to go to other States, and whom he has offended by giving ours the preference. And because, lastly, he is here left behind the rest of his Corps, who were departed before your answer arrived here. As Monsr Loyeauté has been informed that the number of British Cruisers in the Bay of Boston renders it difficult to get safely out of that Harbour, he has agreed to accept the invitation of R. H. Lee to pass some time with him at Chantilly this winter, so that if the Houses accept his proffered service, a letter sent to him there, will occasion his immediate attendance in Williamsburg. He is of opinion that for the business of instruction it will be quite proper that we should be provided with six field pieces, and as there are many belonging to the Continent now laying idle at Charles Town, we have no doubt but that Congress will indulge our Commonwealth with six or eight pieces on application being made by desire of our Assembly. We have the honor to be sir,

your Excellency’s most obedient and most humble servants.

Richard Henry Lee
Jos: Jones
Francis Lightfoot Lee

His Excellency Patrick Henry Esq. Governor of Virginia at Willamsburg.



William Wirt Henry, Patrick Henry, 3:128. Printed also in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762 – 1778, pp. 367 – 69.

1 The enclosure reads: “Monsieur Loyeauté being desirous of proving by real service his zeal and ability to promote the cause of America, conceives that the view of the Assembly in appointing him to the Directorship of a Military Academy, may be effectually answered by adopting the following method, and which will better correspond with his wishes of being quickly serviceable in war should the enemy turn their attention to Virginia the next Campaign.

“Monsieur Loyeauté would propose that one hundred men, in two Companies, each commanded by one Captain & two Lieutenants, be put under his command and direction to be instructed in the knowledge of Artillery. The men to be pickt, and chosen for this particular business, it requiring persons of nimbleness and address to manage Artillery. The Officers of this Corps, Monsr. Loyeauté would wish to be industrious men, and cordially disposed to learn the a n By this method Capt. Loyeauté hopes to convince the honorable Assembly of Virginia, that in a reasonable time he will furnish them with a useful and a respectable Corps of Artillery.

“Capt. Loyeauté is very willing to submit to the Assembly the future increase of this Corps and of his Command, after they shall have had an opportunity of judging concerning his merits by what he has actually performed. Well earned military fame, and being of real use to America being the sole motives that brought him here, and which alone can induce him to continue in this Country” (Executive Communications, Library of Virginia).