<br /> Lee Letter: b229

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Arthur Lee

My dear Brother,

You may observe by the place from whence I write that Chantilly is no longer our place of residence. Since you left us we have been taught to expect, and we have been vigorously preparing to receive properly on Potomac the hostile visit that has lately done so much damage upon James river. It seems more than probable that the enemy intended here after they had burnt most of the great Warehouses on James river, because they had descended as low as James Town, where meeting with despatch vessels from below they returned with great quickness up to Hoods, landed, and proceeded Southward – the Marquis crossed James river and pursuing them, they have turned about and have again approached James river, that of Appomatox being between them & the Marquis who cannot cross the latter river without putting it in the power of the enemy to push up James river & destroy Richmond before he could recross Appomatox and arrive to prevent them – this is the cruel mischief that attends our want of marine force – with a tenth of our land power they can baffle and injure us most essentially having the command of the water – At this moment, if their water force in James river was put into our hands, their Army would be so likewise in a few days – We understand that Cornwallis is at Hallifax in N. Carolina looking this way – that Gen. Green has given a capital defeat to Lord Rodden near Cambden, and that our affairs in the South wear a good aspect – Can we not get a fleet to come here, it will produce most salutary consequences. –

Have Congress seen the very artful and dangerous reclamation lately published by Arbuthnot & Clinton. It is published at N. York the 27th of december and is now most diligently circulating in the Southern States, whilst we have no Press & no means of counteracting its malignity – Surely Congress will publish such an answer as it easily admits of and cause a sufficiency of Hand bills to be printed for dispersion, especially in these southern parts where a want of Presses renders us in a great measure a prey to such artifices as this proclamation – I think that no time is to be lost in doing this – I enclose you now an accurate list of my Tickets in the 4th class of the Contl Lottery – I find that there is one Ticket more than I had in the third Class and of a number different from any that I had in that Class. It was among the number of those Tickets that my most worthy friend Dr. Shippen the elder sent me when you came to Virginia – the number is 13,687 and it may be one of his own Tickets sent me by mistake – Speak to him on the subject & let him know that the Ticket is here with me. – Be so kind as inform me of the fate of my Tickets, and get for me the pamphlet commonly published by the Managers after every Lottery shewing the fate of all Tickets – Pray bestir yourself, get us a trench fleet here, and a good answer to this insidious proclamation –

God bless you and make you as happy as I wish you to be – Our love to fourth Street & my respects to my old Whig friends in Congress. Unalterably yours.

Richard Henry Lee

I hope Mr Izard is well recovered from his illness – it will make me happy to know it

List of the French fleet at Martinique the 1st May 1781. Citoyen 74 De Thy Glorieux 74 Des Cars Languedoc 80 Baron D’Aros Souverain 74 De Glandevez Diademe 74 De Montecler Auguste 80 De Bougainville.

Blue Marseilles 74 De Castellane Vaillant 64 De Marigny Bourgogne 74 De Charitte Cesar 74 D Espinouse Hercule 74 De Turpin Pluton 80 D’Albert St. Esprit 80 De Chabert Victoire 74 St. Hippolite Solitaire 64 De Cicé Champion Reflechi 64 De Boades Caton 64 De Frammond.

Frigates Medée 36 de Bouquet Diligent 32 de Mortimert Aigrette 32 de Traversé.

Cutters L’Alerte Chabonne Pandour De Grasse.

Flutes Minotaur 74 Union 64 Fier 64 L’Indien 64 each.

Experiment 50 Martilli.

Frigates Indiscrete Sensible Dedaigneuse Eagle 18 Sloop of War

May I At Fort Royal Le Zélé 74 Preville Le Scipion 74 Claveille Northumbd 74 Brigueville Ville de Paris 100 St. Cesaire, de Gras Sceptre 74 Vaudreuil L’Hector 74 D’Alains Magnanme: 74 Le Begue.

Memdm Gen. Knox told me that on trying the Gun Barrels sent from France for the public, 90 in an 100 burst. These were the Maga Zine for wch Mr. Deane paid 200,000 livres & were sent over by Mr. Williams after a great expense in fitting them up.


Chamberlain CollectionBoston Public Library

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 2, 1779 – 1794, pp. 224 – 26. Addressed to Arthur Lee at Philadelphia.

The manuscript contains the following note on the verso:

“A Hint to those intrusted with Supreme Power.

“Julius Caesar being desirous of engaging the chief Cities of Gaul in alliance with the roman People, to assist him in his enterprise upon Britain & for that purpose a Convention being to be held, he sent Cotta to the Supreme Council of the principal Nation to propose to them that Certain Persons whom he named & who he knew would be directed by him should be appointed their Ambassadors at the Convention. To this request the Supreme Council returned the following Answer.

“Libenter se facturos quod vellet Caesar. Eum autem obsecrabant ut prime exemplum afferret ubi unus inter Socios pro altero Legates elegerat. Quippe quod prima facie indignum id suprema potestate concedendum et servitus speciem videretur. Responsuros se esse suis, et cavendum esset ne res inusitata et indigna suspectos se apud suos redderet et in vitae discrimen duceret.

“They would willingly do what Caesar wisht. But they besought him to famish them first with an example in which one Ally had named the Ambassadors of another. Since this appeard unworthy of an independent Power to allow & lookt like Slavery. That they were answerable to their Constituents for their conduct & must take care least a proceeding unexampled & disgraceful shoud render them suspected & endanger their lives.”