<br /> Lee Letter: b241

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Thomas McKean

My dear Sir,

I am greatly obliged to you for your very friendly letter of the 13th. instant by my brother. The nature of the business that now demands your attention is too well known to me to admit a supposition that your friends can be made happy with long letters from you – for my own part, I shall be contented S thankful, for hearing from you now & then when a good opportunity, and most leisure permits. It gives me real pleasure to find you among the very few of those original patriots whom the gratitude of Congress has distinguished. I hope you will continue to be rewarded with the honors and the esteem of your country which you have so well merited. We have had a full share, I believe more than a sixth part, of the calamities of war, and much more, it seems, is intended for us. I dont suppose that our enemies intend by this to do us honor, but abundant in malice as they are, it may be concluded that they proportion their resentment to the merit of those they aggrieve. When it is considered that almost the whole burden of the southern war has lain upon Virginia, that many of her people are now actually defending South Carolina, I hope we shall not be left to struggle alone against the principal efforts of the enemy. Congress will no doubt consider this as a valuable member of the union, and govern themselves accordingly with respect to the timely and effectual aid that they give us. It is now no secret that the enemy mean to employ their greatest efforts against Virginia this fall and next winter. I suppose that Spain, as usual, will come in very late in the eleventh hour. I wish she felt some of our distress, I think it would stimulate to greater & quicker exertions.

Holland is an immense heap of Mammon, where every weakness prevails consequent upon excessive wealth.

I hope Congress has seen the propriety of cultivating with assiduity the Courts of Berlin & Petersburg.

The Emperors subjects are certainly capable of being benefitted by a trade immediately with North America. One observation more and I have done, Great Britain (or rather its Ministers) delude the people of Europe with an infinity of falsehoods concerning the successful progress of their arms in America – It is probable that if the true state of affairs here were carefully and quickly transmitted to Europe, and diligently circulated in the best European papers, that money for the war could not be raised by the English Ministry, and thus their malice being compelled to yield to their necessities, we might be happy in a safe and honorable peace. Cannot a few packet boats be continually going with authenticated accounts of military events. It ought to be soon and well made known in Europe, that instead of conquering the southern States this Campaign, our enemies have nearly lost all that they had gained by 18 months war. I am dear Sir, with the sincerest esteem and regard,

your faithful and affectionate friend.

Richard Henry Lee

P.S. My brother Francis thanks you for your kind remembrance of him.

Notes:

McKean CollectionHistorical Society of Pennsylvania

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 2, 1779 – 1794, pp. 246 – 48. Addressed to “His Excellency Thomas M.Kean Esqr. of Congress Philadelphia.”