<br /> Lee Letter: b212

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Chilton

Sir,

I arrived here yesterday evening very much indisposed by a severe cold and fever. The two Packets that accompany this I received a day or two before I left Richmond and take this earliest occasion, to transmit them – They contain the Provision Act with a letter from the Governor, pointing out the manner of executing that law. Permit me, Sir, to observe, that upon the quick and successful execution of this measure, the most important consequences to this and the other United States, do eminently depend. The law has been dictated by necessity, but there is much reason to hope that the measures taken by the last session of Assembly, to supply the public treasury in future, will prevent returns of such necessity. If we may be at liberty to reason from causes to effects, it is very fair to conclude that if we join our allies, in making adequate and proper efforts this campaign to defeat the ambitious views of G.B., we shall see her compelled before next summer, to submit to a peace safe and honorable for the United States and their friends? The efforts of our Enemies, stimulated by the bad principles of revenge, avarice and unjust ambition are such this year, as must inevitably leave them at the end of it in a state of political lifelessness from which it will be extremely difficult to recover – Our great and good Allies wisely discover this, and whilst their powerful efforts give them a decisive superiority at Sea, upon that element where G.B. until now hath triumphed the imperious mistress, They reasonably expect from us such coexertion as our own honor safety, & happiness demand. We know with certainty that his most Christian Majesty hath determined to assist us immediately against our enemies, this campaign with a considerable land and sea force, which calls for direct and large supplies of provisions to feed the armies of cooperation, both in the north and the south. Under these circumstances, and with these veiws, the General Assembly, doubting not the virtue nor the generosity of their Constituents, have fallen upon such means as appeared to them most effectual, for bringing men & provisions into the field with that expedition and certainty which so great a Crisis demands. The care of the Meat house is here the female province, so that much depends on their cheerfulness in part of this necessary business – I am sure that the women of Virginia yield not to any in patriotism and love for the happiness of their Country, and that whilst the armies of America have received great and generous assistance from the industrious collections and donations of the virtuous women of Pennsylvania, we shall see our Ladies extremely solicitous to furnish all the provisions that they can possibly spare, to relieve the wants of these brave men whose lives are daily hazarded for their security.

If to this we add the consideration of those great internal divisions, which threaten even a revolution in G.B: the manly resolution of Ireland to be discharged from B. Tyranny; and the vast national debt, now not less than 200 millions, sterling; a once commercial nation, with her commerce nearly ruined; and under their accumulated pressures, not one Ally; the Powers of Europe veiwing as with one eye, and approving as with one mind, the downfall of a power that has been exercised with insult and oppression to almost every nation upon earth.

If this sentiments can be of any service to you or your colleagues in the execution of this necessary collection, it will make me happy. they are certainly formed upon the best information & closest attentions to things – I am &c

Richard Henry Lee

To Col. Chilton, Commissioner of the Money tax.

Pickled Beef 24 pr. lb., – Salted Pork 30 Bacon 48 Indian Corn  7. pr. bushel. Wheat  20 – Rye 12 – Oats 5 – pease  8. Superfine flour  60 pr. hund. wt – Co[mmon] do  50. Ship Stuff  40 pr. Ct., White biscuit 75 pr. Ct., brown do  60. W.I. R[um]  30 pr. Gallon, Taffia  20, brandy 25 Corn Spirits 15, Alum Salt  40 pr. bushel, French or fine Salt  30.

Authorized to take the surplus of Salted Beef – pork – pork – Bacon – And of I. Corn half the surplus, after leaving sufficient for the use of the family, or those in his or her service to the first day of december next. Of Wheat, rye, oats, flour, rum, & other spirits the surplus, leaving as aforesaid to the first day of Septr. 1781 – Also a sufficient qty of such grain for seed – Not exceeding one half of Biscuit, salt, rum & other spirits for sale –

Notes:

Lee PapersUniversity of Virginia Archives

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 2, 1779 – 1794, pp. 189 – 91. Printed also in the January 1860 issue of the Southern Literary Messenger, p. 16.