<br /> Lee Letter: b133

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Samuel Adams

My Dear Sir,

Your favor of January the 5th. came to hand 10 days ago, and gave the same pleasure that I always receive when attending to your sentiments. The important objects you animadvert upon deserve the closest attention of every American, but those more especially to whom the public councils are intrusted. God grant them fortitude, wisdom and perseverance to guide us safely thro the storm that surrounds us. I came here for repose, but I have not be able to find it. Our Assembly being sitting called me to Williamsburg where I became busied in the public councils, and since that, much engaged in the country with the execution of a very important Act, for making drafts from the single men to recruit our regiments in service of the Continent. From this draft, added to one of our State regiments ordered to be made complete, we shall furnish very certainly, and pretty speedily about 2500 recruits. We have also proposed to raise 5000 Volunteers for six months, and an Act passed to encourage the project; but I am not able to say that many men will be produced by this plan. The design was, to make early and vigorous impression upon the enemy before reinforcements can arrive. Let this latter plan succeed or not, the former will, and if the other States reenforce the Army in proportion to our 2500 men, we shall be strong enough to undertake the most decisive measures. I make no doubt but the virtue and vigor of our eastern brethren will fully equal Virginia on this all important occassion. We certainly may be able to finish the war on land if we so manage as to be in condition to take the field with a strong army by the middle of April. As things are now circumstanced, our enemies must either give up the contest by land armies and have recourse to arts, or they will make one last and vigorous effort to subdue. Amidst a thousand artful designs, this latter intention is obvious in a lately arrived Speech. We ought always to be ready my friend to oppose Art with wisdom and to repel force by force. From the first moment, I have been opposed to the new Commissari<es> plan, and wish things were restored to their first simple and effective State, but in the meantime every State whe<re> provisions are must exert every nerve or our danger wil<l> be extreme. Ample magazines in safe place should wit<h> all speed be formed, and effectual modes fallen upon for speediest transportation. It must never be that the cause of human nature fall sacrifice to a few venal or vicious Commissaries. Our executive is with all its energ<y> engaged in this business, and the Legislature has enabled them by law to seize what shall be necessary for the Army from Engrossers & Forestallers. We have passed a law to prevent forestalling, and a very extensive taxation has taken place. Our courts of Justice are opened, and the best Judges we can find appointed to fill them. This Assembly has adopted exactly your sentiments respecting the Confederation, having passed it Nem. Con. altho many wished it were changed in some respects. But the great Object of Union overcame lesser considerations, and their Delegates are ordered to ratify it in Congress.

I shall be in Congress about the 15th instant, and I hope, because I see the greatest necessity for it, that we shall have a full congress. Your presence I am sure will greatly promote the public good – Farewe<ll>

My dear Sir and be happy as you deserve most certainly to be.

Richard Henry Lee

P.S. I shall get my daughter to direct this letter to avert Tory curiosity

Notes:

Samuel Adams PapersLenox Library

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762 – 1778, pp. 390 – 91.