<br /> Lee Letter: n11

Washington and Lee University

Sender: George Washington
Recipient: Richard Henry Lee

Dear Sir:

Your favor of the 6th instant did not reach this place till
Saturday afternoon. The money, which accompanied it, came seasonably,
but not, as it was so long delayed, quantum
sufficit
, our demands at this time being peculiarly great for pay
and advance to the troops; pay for their arms and blanketing,
independent of the demands of the commissary and quartermaster general.

Lord Dunmore’s letters to General Howe, which very fortunately fell into my
hands, and were enclosed by me to Congress, will let you pretty fully
into his diabolical schemes. If, my dear Sir, that man is not crushed
before spring, he will become the most formidable enemy America has;
his strength will increase as a snow ball by rolling; and faster, if
some expedient cannot be hit upon to convince the slaves and servants
of the impotency of his designs. You will see by his letters, what
pains he is taking to invite a reinforcement at all events there, and
to transplant the war to the southern colonies. I do not think, that
forcing his Lordship on shipboard is sufficient; nothing less than
depriving him of life or liberty will secure peace to Virginia, as
motives of resentment actuate his conduct, to a degree equal to the
total destruction of the colony. I fear the destination of the naval
armament at Philadelphia is too well known to answer the design. I have
heard it spoken of in common conversation, at this place, near a
fortnight ago; and the other day was told, that two men-of-war, going
into the harbor of New York, supposed to be those for the relief of the
Asia, were ordered and accordingly sailed immediately out, as it is
imagined for Virginia.

My letters to Congress will give you the occurrences of this place. I need
not repeat them, but I must beg of you, my good Sir, to use your
influence in having a court of admiralty, or some power appointed to
hear and determine all matters relative to captures; you cannot
conceive how I am plagued on this head, and how impossible it is for me
to hear and determine upon matters of this sort, when the facts,
perhaps, are only to be ascertained at ports, forty, fifty, or more
miles distant, without bringing the parties here at great trouble and
expense. At any rate, my time will not allow me to be a competent judge
of this business. I must also beg the favor of you, to urge the
necessity of appointing a brigadier- general to the vacant brigade in
this army. The inconvenience we daily experience for want of one is
very great; much more than the want of a colonel to a regiment, for
then the next officer in command does the duty; in a brigade this may
not with propriety happen, and seldom or never is done with any kind of
regularity. Perfectly indifferent is it to me, whom the Congress shall
please to appoint to these offices; I only want it done, that business
may go regularly on.

My best respects to the good family you are in, and to your brothers
of the delegation; and be assured, that I am, dear Sir, your
most obedient and affectionate
servant.1

Notes:

1 Sparks printed this letter, but no copy of it is now found in the
Washington Papers.