<br /> Lee Letter: b168

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: William Whipple

Dear General,

I wish this may find you as happy at Philadelphia as we are at Chantilly – nothing but the want of rain disturbs us, we have neither wicked, perverse or foolish Politicians here whose misconduct makes us fear for the safety of the Country. I have frequently admired the philosophic ease with which you have Contemptuously viewed the proceedings in Congress which I own shocked me exceedingly. I suppose you have fixed your opinion with Mr Pope “what ever is, is right.” I believe indeed the wisdom and goodness of the Creator does not frequently deduce from evil, yet I am exceedingly chagrined when I see wicked and weak men have session in and misconduct the public Councils. I understand that our excellent friend Sam Adams has left Congress – I am truly sorry for I well know that his ability and integrity will be missed from any assembly, but indespensible from the one from which he went. As you are the oldest member & the most skilled in Marine matters I take it for granted that you are now Chairman of the Marine Committee, But whether so or not let me intreat you that you prevail with the Committee to order two Frigates into Chesapeak Bay if it is only for a few days – The Confederacy & the Boston can with infinite ease destroy the enemies vessels that are doing us so much injury, causing us so much expence by frequent calls for Militia – They have already burnt several private houses and one public warehouse with between 2 & 300 hhds of Tobo. and carried off much plunder & many negroes – Soon as they see the Militia gathering they embark and go to another unguarded place. They have 6 Vessels, Otter 16, Harlem 12 Guns Kings Vessels – Dunmore 16, Schooner Hammond 14, Lord North 12 Guns & Fin Castle 2 three pounders. The 4 last are Guntridges Pirates. They say the orders are to burn and destroy all before them – an Eastern Man whom they had captured and claimed escaped from them when they were burning the Warehouse and gave us the above account of their force, which is confirmed by others – They land between 60 & 70 men when they mean to do mischief – I do not think I can be charged with excess of opinion in favor of our Navy when I say that the frigates already mentioned could destroy these Pirates and return to their Stations after thus relieving our water bound Country and removing the cause of great expence. The frigates by calling at Hampton can get the best intelligence of the enemies situation & force – Do me the favor Sir to convey the enclosed to Mr Bradford as soon as you can) I shall thank you for your foreign & domestic news as well as to know what tunes the fiddle party are playing. My best respects attend my Whig friends in Congress. With sin – I am dr Sir

your affct friend and obt servant.

Richard Henry Lee


Langdon CollectionHistorical Society of Pennsylvania

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 2, 1779 – 1794, pp. 80 – 82.