<br /> Lee Letter: b153

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Patirick Henry

Mr dear Sir,

I’m here in my way to Congress. I have seen the Tyrant’s speech to his corrupt Parliament last November. It breathes war altogether, and renders it of the last importance to be prepared with a strong Army to defeat his wicked purposes. Dr. Lee writes me in Nov’r that Gen. Howe is to return to the command here, and he says “Moloch’s principle prevails with the absolute ruler of these measures, in which if he cannot hope for victory he expects revenge.” Mr. Wm. Lee writes from Frankfort, Oct’r 15, “At all events I am determined to attend to the appointment of Virginia. My brother and myself have already done a good deal, and I am now endeavoring to borrow money to complete their orders, and you may assure the State that I will do everything that is possible to comply with all their orders.” The Emperor and the King of Prussia have gone into winter quarters without having fought a battle. The former winters in Bohemia, the latter Selesia and Saxony. The effort seems to have been to winter the Prussians in Bohemia, but this has been prevented, notwithstanding the very great military Talents of the king of Prussia and his brother. Holland appears much more inclined to our side than that of England – It is probable the latter will fail of getting monied assistance from the Dutch. Mons’r Penet is now on his way to look at our Cannon works near Richmond. This Gentleman combined, I understand, with persons of much ability, have imported and proposed to import more than 200 workmen, the most able in the art of making small Arms complete, and casting all kinds of Cannon. They propose doing everything at their own expense, and to supply on contract any number of completely fitted Muskets or Cannon at a fixed price. They want only a fit place to sit down on. Your wisdom and patriotism will discover in a moment how extensively useful it will be to our Country to have these people fixed with us. A just estimate being put on our works and their Arms, We may thus be repaid in a most useful manner the expense we have already incurred, which will otherways, I fear, be lost altogether. To be independent of external aid for these primary articles of defence, is surely a most capital object. I really think that it would require at least 100,000 stand of good arms, and more than an hundred pieces of Cannon to put our state in a proper posture of defence. If you view this matter in the light that I do, Mr. Penet will, I am sure, meet with all possible encouragement. I have the honor to be with great esteem, dear Sir,

your most affectionate and obedient servant,

Richard Henry Lee

P.S. – The Deaneans I find are aiming at an occlusion of the Press, except for the admission of their libels. Monopolised Press and Monopolised Commerce will never do for a free Country.



Printed in William Wirt Henry, Patrick Henry, 3:223. Printed also in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 2, 1779 – 1794, pp. 27 – 28.