<br /> Lee Letter: b173

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Henry Laurens

My Dear Sir,

I had devoted this day proceeding the going out of post, to have written you a long letter, when behold, the great increase of my cold has compelled me to a third bleeding, and has indisposed me so much, that I shall be obliged greatly to abridge this letter. I cannot omit to thank you for your favor of july the 27th. which came duly to hand the 4th. of this instant. You will please observe in my letter by the last post I foretel that the party would not agree to publish Dr. Lee’s vindication &c. He must be a very inattentive observer who does not “clearly” see on what principles these people act, so as on most points “clearly” to pronounce what they will do or not do. It is my opinion that if Mr. “clearly out of order” remains much longer with his Junto to “order” Congress, the united states will rue it most bitterly. I am very sure that I have heared more talk about order and less attention to it, in one week since he came to that Assembly than had taken place in 4 years preceeding his coming. If you have time to read Sully’s character of young Servin and will please to deduct nine tenths of the learning and genius, the rest will furnish a fine Portrait of this pretender to every kind of knowledge. You suppose that I shall get the vindication and the vouchers from the fountain, I believe so too Sir, were it not for the vice of Folgerism, which is disseminated with the partners in most parts of America and many of France. A large packet came lately to me opened at one end and directed in the handwriting of my brother Dr. Lee. the written papers had probably been taken out, as none were there. As every Delegate has a right to a copy of this vindication and the vouchers, should suppose no kind of impropriety in furnishing me with a copy of the copy, for taking which I would most joifully pay a clerk. These papers were inclosed to me, and therefore intended for my perusal previous to that of Congress, which would remove objection if any existed before. As the public will most inevitably be made acquainted with the whole proceedings of Congress in this affair, I wish most earnestly, for the honor of many gentlemen now there, that the journal may distinguish properly – To this end, when “order clearly” obstructs not, cant a motion for publishing be made, and the yeas and nays taken? The same on the questions relative to this man. You alarm me exceedingly when you say “do I not see at this instant a man &c” can it be possible that the late Commissioner is to escape with applause! I would not for a thousand worlds have my name to such a vote. – Infamy will certainly attend it to the latest posterity. I will pledge my life upon this. Capt. Duarte of the Portugueze Snow i take to be the Captain and Vessel carried to Boston by the privateer belonging to Ro. Morris & Carter Braxton, if so, and our Assembly are to determine anything concerning it, ’twill be essentially necessary that all the papers relative to the case be sent to that body properly authenticated, and among others, Braxtons instructions to the Captain of the Privateer when he sailed on his cruise. I think this paper is among the Congress files – I shall thank you very much SIr for an authenticated copy of these instructions, as well as the resolve you allude to in your favor of the 27th. I am “clearly” of opinion with you Sir, that if this affair is not properly adjusted in America, the injury to our cause in Europe will be extremely great. And I believe in my conscience that some people who have the impudence to hold their heads high in America, wish for this consequence. We are taxing here very vigorously, but Sir, if Congress does not stop these boundless emissions, and cease to depreciate the money by giving the Staff bribes to do it, I means commissions on their expenditures; our vigor will signify not a rush. A neighbor of mine has a letter in this month from Hillsborough in N. Carolina saying that Gen. Lincoln was now stronger than the enemy, that Scot was approaching with his force, and that they hoped soon to give a good account of the enemy. Heaven grant it may be so, because, if we are successful in that quarter, I believe our enemies will be compelled to equitable terms of peace next winter. But I will never call the loss of the fisheries and the navigation of Mississippi equitable – And I am sure posterity will execrate those that do. Pray Sir do you know if my beautiful faced quondam Colleague has taken the Antecommercial oath directed by our Assembly? – I shall be glad to know this.

If you (as I hope you do) still determine to honor Chantilly with your company as you travel south, I pray you Sir to let me know tow posts before you leave Philadelphia that I may not be from home, for I should be extremely concerned were I to be absent on an event that I wish so much should take place. With my best wishes for your health and happiness, I am dear Sir

your most affectionate friend and obliged humble Servant.

Richard Henry Lee

P.S. Cant I be furnished with the Treasury issues for Mr. Presidents Table &c. &c. &c from december last until now? –

Notes:

Laurens CorrespondenceLong Island Historical Society

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 2, 1779 – 1794, pp. 100 – 101. Printed also in R. H. Lee, Memoir of the Life of Richard Henry Lee and his Correspondence, 1:223.