<br /> Lee Letter: b335

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Samuel Adams

My Dear Sir,

I am well satisfied that your friendship has long since suggested an apology for my not sooner answering the letter that you did me the honor to write to me on the 7th. of August last, because you will have been informed that my ill state of health compelled me to quit business and Congress, to seek for remedy in the medical waters lately discovered in Pennsylvania. I thank God that my health has been so restored as to enable me to return to my duty here, and I hope with a stock sufficient at least to carry me thro my Presidential year with some comfort to myself. The Governors letter concerning Capt. Stanhopes misconduct was immediately laid before Congress, and yours to me communicated to your delegates. In my absence Congress determined to send the papers to Mr. Adams in order to place the matter before Capt. Stanhopes Superiors. It is certainly very difficult to judge of Courts & Courtiers, because hypocrisy, simulation, and dissimulation reign throughout – but so far as we may judge from the civilities shewn to Mr. Adams, and the professions made to him, we may suppose that the behavior of Capt. Stanhope (which seems to have been a complication of folly & insolence) will not be approved at St. James’s.

We do not find however, that the civil appearances about the Court of London have as yet produced any solid good effects – for still they hold the Posts, still they encroach on our Eastern boundary, and still their Commercial regulations continue crabbed, and hurtful to themselves & to us. Perhaps time may heal the wound that yet rankles in the National breast – I fear it is too true that the Algerines, these Hostes humani generis, have commenced war upon our Commerce, and if we are not lucky enough to purchase a peace from these Barbarians before they taste the sweets of plundering our Commerce, it may be long before we can quiet them, and be most difficult to accomplish. – As for warring with them, as some propose, thro choice – I say that it is a very crude – strange opinion. In such a War we shall have every thing to loose and nothing to gain. Is it possible that G.B. can have been so wicked as to have stimulated this War for Commercial purposes, and in revenge for our separation? – If it were not that all things are possible with the corrupt Politicians of this day, I should say that they could not be so base – I think it seems probable that Ireland will not receive the British regulation of their commerce, and if they reject the propositions with proper spirit, it may terminate not only in relieving Ireland, but also in disposing the haughty Britons to be more reasonable in the Commercial system with us.

I beg that my respectful compliments may be acceptable to Mrs. Adams, and that you may be assured of the perfect esteem and regard with which I am

Richard Henry Lee

My compliments, if you please, to Gen. Warren – I shall write to him soon.


Bancroft CollectionNew York Public Library

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 2, 1779 – 1794, pp. 395 – 97.