<br /> Lee Letter: b266

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: George Washington

Dear Sir –

I should sooner have done myself the honour of writing to you, if it had been in my power to have communicated any thing agreeable; but I could only have informed you, that we had not, and that we cannot say when we shall have, members enough to make a Congress; as yet, we have but four states convened. This lassitude, in our public councils, must afflict our friends, and encourage the hopes of our trans-Atlantic foes, who look at us with an evil eye. Mr. Wolcott arrived here yesterday, with the treaty, made at fort Stanwix, with the Six Nations; and he informs us, that the other two commissioners have proceeded to Pittsburg, to treat with the western tribes. He thinks, (from the satisfaction that appeared among some Shawanee chiefs, who were at Fort Stanwix,) that the commissioners will not find much difficulty in their treaty with the western nations. I have the honour to enclose you a copy of the northern treaty, and shall be happy to know your opinion of it. I understand, from Mr. Wolcott, that the commissioners of the United States met many difficulties, thrown in their way by New York, which they overcame, at last, by much firmness and perseverance. It is unfortunate when private views obstruct public measures, and more especially when a state becomes opposed to the States; because, it seems to confirm the predictions of those who wish us not well, and who cherish hopes from a discord arising from different interests. Colonel Monroe, of our delegation, who is lately returned from a tour to Montreal, Niagara, and Lake Erie, informs us, that he learnt, in his journey, that the western posts were to be detained from us; and, that the reason assigned, was, because of the conduct of New York and Virginia; the former for pushing the law of confiscation beyond the terms of peace, and Virginia for not repealing the laws impeding the recovery of British debts. The governor of New York, told Colonel Monroe, that it was a mistaken charge upon them, for that they had not confiscated since the provisional articles; it is to be lamented, that any pretext should be furnished for injuring us in the essential manner that the detension of these posts will do. The Parliament, it seems, is prorogued, without touching the subject of their trade with us, although a committee of the privy council, upon the petition of the West India merchants and planters, had reported an approbation of all the silly, malignant principles of Lord Sheffield, respecting our trade with the British West Indies. This book of Lord Sheffield, has been very ably answered, by several writers, in Great Britain. My respects, if you please; to your lady; I hope that she has recovered her health

I have the honour to be, &c.

Richard Henry Lee

General Washington, Mount Vernon.



Printed in R. H. Lee, Memoir of Richard Henry Lee, 2:48. Printed also in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 2, 1779 – 1794, pp. 297 – 99.