<br /> Lee Letter: b218

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Nathaniel Peabody

Sir,

I do not think myself the less obliged to you for having not sooner answered your kind favor of Nov. the 22d. – It was rather improper to interrupt your attentions at Camp with reading my much less important letters. I have lately heared that you were returned to Philadelphia. I fear the season is much too far advanced for any decisive operations to be attempted agaist N. York this campaign, but if the second division of our Allies fleet should arrive & give a superiority at Sea in this quarter, may not the winter be most profitably employed in retaking Charles Town & recovering the two Southern states from our enemies? With a superiority at Sea the attempt may not only be made, but I think we shall have the fairest prospect of success – After which, a return to N. York in the spring may present an opportunity of doing something there.

I wish to see the heavy ships of our Allies removed from the boisterous latitudes to these southern ones, before that season of the year arives which may expose them to a disaster like to that which Clinton met with last winter in his passage from North to South. This State will presently send forward to the Southern Army a reenforcement of 4000 men, that is 3000 recruits for the Continental army & 1000 good western militia, but we must be supplied with arms by Congress, the late disaster in S. Carolina having prevented us from arming these men. And if it were possible to furnish Tents likewise it will be highly proper, as we are destitute of that article also. In short we must recover Charles Town and the Southern States this ensuing winter whilst our Allies are here – This recovery can only be obtained by victory, and let us say with Philip the father of Alexander the great “Victory is to be purchased by money, and that money must not be spared at the expense of victory.” I have the pleasure Sir to be most perfectly agreed with you in opinion concerning the “Jesuitical partisan” you mention –

I think you may depend upon it that nothing good for America will come from that quarter – If I mistake not you begin to discover this in the plausible difficulties that oppose the views of America, & the affected desire to remove them, all which will probably end in the sacrifice of the interest of these States to others – You are certainly right Sir, that a proper “Satellite” is indispensable – Why then is not such an one appointed without delay? – The interest of our country is paramount to all other sublunary considerations – Will not the enlightened Court of our Ally plainly see how miserably we are represented & will not men argue from thence to the want of some great essentials in the people who suffer such representation? –

I fear the consequences & wish the causes removed. Great Britain will probably persist in her obstinacy whilst she sees us conduct our affairs without wisdom & reposing confidence very improperly.

Where is my much esteemed friend Gen. Whipple, & is he in good health – pray remember me to him with great affection.

I was in hope that Dr. Lee might have had time to have visited his worthy friends in New Hampshire – My respects, if you please to my friends in Congress, particularly Mr. Adams, Mr Lovell & Mr Sherman, Mr McKean & Mr Vandik – I have the honor to be Sir

Sincerely your friend,

Richard Henry Lee

Notes:

Leffingwell CollectionVirginia Historical Society

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 2, 1779 – 1794, pp. 204 – 6. Addressed to Peabody, “Member of Congress at Morristown.”