<br /> Lee Letter: b211

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Henry Laurens

My dear Sir,

We are still detained here, but I hope the Assembly will rise in four or five days – We have passed an Act to adopt the resolutions of congress on finance, of the 18 March last when a majority of the States (excluding Georgia & S. Carolina) shall have absolutely or conditionally adopted them – so that I consider them as in fact already Adopted in this state – We have a bill under consideration for revising the Tender law, and one for giving very ample powers to the executive for drawing out the force and resources of the State during the recess of the general assembly, and we have confirmed the agreement of the commissioners concerning the boundary disputed between this commonwealth and Pennsylvania. A law is also passed for permitting our distressed bretheren of S. Carolina and Georgia to bring their Slaves here and to exempt them from tax for a year. Thus amidst many mistakes some good has been done. Our last accounts from the southward inform us that Cornwallis remains at Camden with a post above and below him where he seems to be busied at present in laying up magazines of provision – I suppose to be ready for action when the summer quarters are over – Gen. Gates left this place yesterday afternoon and proposes to proceed without delay to Baron de Kalbs camp, who we understand is now determined to go to Cross Creek, and where G. Gates expects to find him. Gen. Weedon & Colo. Morgan are coming on – Gen. Gates intends to select a proper Corps for Morgan without delay – it is a wise measure and will probably suppress the enemies ravage with decisive effect notwithstanding they are so strong in horse, for we learn that Tarleton has 700 under his command – Gen. Gates seems to possess a thorough understanding of the business he is going upon, and he is proceeding with a wise and well considered system – if he is properly supported – I have little doubt but that he will restore our affairs in that quarter. I should suppose, from the Resolves of Congress which I have seen, that they mean not to call for men from this State to go North expecting that our efforts this way will be necessary in the South – And this indeed is fact, that all the men we can procure will be required in the South, yet many here suppose that our efforts in this way are to be divided between the Northern & Southern Armies – in which case I am inclined to think they will be feeble to both. General Huger of your State had arrived here in his way north; but meeting with Gen. Gates at this place he has returned with him to the southwd. I see that the southern military chest must either be supported by this State or not at all – but how shall we do it with an empty Treasury? The resolusions of March 18th. will not begin to operate here until the last of September at soonest, and no money from taxes will come in before that time – We are then driven by necessity to a new emission – at present we talk of issuing £50,000 to go forth as hard money, or an equivalent thereto at 40 for one to issue as the present money declaring in the latter case that the money issued will be redeemed at 40 for one – our funds will be a hard money tax upon Tobacco exported, upon rum & superfluities imported; and a tax upon windows, with some few others that will render them in the whole ample and sufficient for redeeming the money now to be issued in 5 or 6 years. We have no other possible expedient but this to supply the necessary demands of the southern war. I think that the decided superiority of our Ally in the west indies must presently produce some good effects in that quarter – We do both hunger and thirst after good news, so that if you can favor us with anything of that kind it will be very acceptable. this assembly will rise, and of course we shall return home this week, so that the letters you honor me with hereafter may be directed as formerly via Leeds Town

Present if you please my respects to my Carolina friends. I am with great affection and regard, dear Sir

your obliged friend.

Richard Henry Lee


Laurens CorrespondenceLong Island Historical Society

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 2, 1779 – 1794, pp. 186 – 88. Addressed to Laurens, “Member of Congress at Philadelphia,” and endorsed “Recd’ 24th Ansd 1 Augt.”