<br /> Lee Letter: b193

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Henry Laurens

My dear Sir,

I had the honor of writing to you by the last post, wch. I am informed by the delay of the rider went no further than Fredericksburg, and will therefore not reach you sooner than this will do. Perhaps this may be the last letter that will find you at Philadelphia, unless the death of Mr. Drayton should oblige a longer stay. Indeed, tho I much wish the pleasure of your company, I cannot help regretting your absence from Congress. By a variety of causes the ranks of the wicked have been lately thinned, and if the virtuous friends of the community continue together, we may hope a revival of that fame which I grieve to think has been so much tarnished by late misconducts. I think that the accession of Spain, with the naval victory and successes in the W. Indies, the capture of so many Jamaica men, with the loss of the enemies hopes to the west & south, must be more than enough to humble their pride, and procure peace the ensuing winter, without the loss of either of our legs. You know my meaning, the Navigation of Mississippi & the fishery. I hope Congress will make a point of Mr. John Adams coming to Congress and furnishing them with an exact detail of their affairs abroad The rectifying of past errors & misconduct does eminently depend upon a clear, full, and thorough knowledge of men and things. And surely, after what has already passed, no manœuvring can prevent the appointment of an honest, capable, disinterested, and spirited character to superintend, and vouch the settlement of the public accounts abroad; or procure the appointment of a person not fully known, and who may have secret connections with some of the money fingerers. To save the virtuous & the blameless from future censure, I wish a motion were made to compel Silas Deane to give security before his departure from America, for a fair settlement of the public accounts, and for refunding what shall appear due from him upon such a settlement: and the ays – & nays taken up on this question – I took the liberty of requesting you would be pleased to furnish me with the copies of some papers in the possession of Congress, which request I beg leave to renew. A vessel that lately arrived in this river from the West Indies brings an account of the taking of Antigua by the Count D’Esteing – This is a capital stroke as it possesses our friends of all the armies naval stores, and their only refitting place in the West Indies. Do you not think that these events will produce some wholesome Axe work in England? I wish there may be some immolations upon the Alter of expiring freedom & empire in that Country – I am, with the most sincere esteem, and affection, dear Sir

your obliged & obedient servant.

Richard Henry Lee

Honorable Henry Laurens Esqr. Member of Congress at Philadelphia

Notes:

Laurens CorrespondenceLong Island Historical Society

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 2, 1779 – 1794, pp. 150 – 52.