<br /> Lee Letter: b190

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Henry Laurens

My Dear Sir,

I was duly honored with your favor of the 10th. and three days ago with that of the 24th. of August. but I am surprised that you received no letter from me by the post that arrived on the 23d., since I wrote to you by the mail that went from hence on the 15th. of August which ought to have arrived on the 23d. following. As I had sent an express with Mr. Fords dispatches for Congress, by which express I had the honor of writing to you, the post following carried no letter from me, nor that which went hence last week. I think that I have regularly received the letters that you have been pleased to favor me with. In a letter from Dr. Lee to my brother F.L.L. is the following paragraph “I expected W.H.D. would take precisely the part he has. His character is too much of the Catilinarian cast, for him to remain long among honorable men. Turbidus, inquietus, atrox – he should be always dealt with as one, who, tho your friend to day, may betray you tomorrow. But I am mistaken if his State dont put a mark upon him.” Can anything fit more exactly than “foul, restless, wicked”? no glove ever fitted his hand better than this character does the Man – I find that Deane is resolved not to quit Congress until he has brought that Assembly into utter and indelible disgrace – Under the idea of defraying expences, I understand he has recd. money from the Treasury – He now by memorial informs congress that he construes their proceedings into an approbation of his conduct, and solicits that his expences may be born to France & whilst there (to settle his public accounts) by the Congress – To what does all this apparently lead – The attrocious misconduct of this man is coming before the public with demonstrable proofs, of which proofs Congress are in possession, – They part with him, not only without censure, but with evident marks of approbation – Paying him money, sending him back, and maintaining him abroad at the public expence! It is impossible but that the world will join Mr. Deane in construing this an approbation of his conduct by Congress – What then – The proofs of his misconduct coming out, the whole censure will fall on Congress, and Mr. Deane escape all blame under the cover of general resentment against so high a body as Congress – Thus, instead of respect & veneration, censure & disgrace will fall on a Council with whom is lodged the vital interests of the United States – Upon my word Sir this is a most serious affair & I hope will be maturely attended to. I hear with great concern the attack made on your health by the Sciatica – Why in the name of goodness cannot these evils attack the foes rather than the friends of America? I hope however that your care and the skill of your physician will soon enable you to attend Congress, from the deliberations of which I am sure you can be illy spared. We have not been able to learn here what has finally become of the enemies army that invaded Georgia & South Carolina – I hope this part of their force has been compelled to go to the defence of their Islands.

I am much rejoiced to hear that so good and able a Man as the new Minister of France is come to that Office – It would have been happy for America had he come here 10 months ago. I am, with the most cordial affection and respectful esteem,

dear Sir your obliged friend.

Richard Henry Lee

Honorable Henry Laurens esquire Member of Congress at Philadelphia


Laurens CorrespondenceLong Island Historical Society

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 2, 1779 – 1794, pp. 146 – 48. Endorsed as received on 13 September and answered on 14 September 1779.