<br /> Lee Letter: n219

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Samuel Ward
Recipient: Richard Henry Lee

Dear Sir

As it is of the greatest Importance that every Colony should have the
earliest Notice of the hostile Intentions of Administration I have
enclosed You Copies of Lord Dartmouths Letter & the Order received
with it.1 Our Genl. Assembly immediately
ordered Copies of them to be sent to Mr. Cushing to be communicated to
the provincial Congress. They then ordered the Cannon at Fort George
(which was not tenable) to be sent to Providence where they will be
safe and ready for Service, 200 bbls. of Powder, a proportionate
quantity of Lead & Flints & several Pieces of brass Cannon for
the Artillery Compy. were order’d to be purchased, a Major (General (an
officer never before chosen in the Colony) was appointed, several
independent Companies of light Infantry Fusiliers, Hunters &c were
formed, the Militia was order’d to be disciplined & the Commanding
Officers empowered to march the Troops to the Assistance of any Sister
Colony. The Spirit & Ardor with which all this was done gave Me
ineffable Pleasure and I heartily wish that the other Colonies may
proceed in the same spirited Manner for I fear the last Appeal to
Heaven must now be made & if We are unprepared We must be undone.
The Idea of taking up Arms against Great Britain is shocking but if We
must become Slaves or fly to Arms I shall not hesitate one Moment which
to chuse for all the Horrors of civil War & even Death itself in
every Shape is infinitely prefarable to Slavery which in one Word
comprehends every Species of Distress Misery Infamy & Ruin.

I have enlosed the Resolve of our Assembly upon the Report of their
Delegates. The polite Notice taken of all the Gentn. of the Congress I
hope will be acceptable; You may rely upon a most punctual Adherence to
the Association in this Colony.

The other Copy contains the Appointment and Instructions of the new
Delegates. The Power of appointing Time & Place for holding a
Congress I thought absolutely necessary for the small Pox & many
other Things may make it inconvenient to sett at Philadelphia. The
Power of adjourning is equally necessary for it will take much Time to
chuse new Members & in the interim the Public may suffer the
greatest Mischiefs & the trifling Expence of Meeting is the only

It was supposed by some Gentn. that if our Grievances were redressed this
Winter there would be no Necessity of another Congress. I am of a
different Opinion. Many new Regulations of Commerce Manufactures
&c, may be adopted for the general Good of the Colonies and should
the Ministry be inclined to make any new Attempts upon Us our being
united & on our Guard would be the most probable Means of
preventing them. For these Reasons I proposed an annual

Congress; upon the whole our Powers are full & I wish all the
Delegates may have such that being free from all Restraints We may
deliberate with Freedom, resolve wisely & execute with Firmness
whatever the Necessities of our Country may require.

The Distresses of the Town of Boston increase greatly. Many who have till
lately supported themselves are now forced to apply to the public,
eighteen or twenty Petitions are sometimes recd. in a Day. May the
generous Donations of the Colonies continue until God in Mercy relieves

Be kind enough to present my most respectful Compliments to your
worthy Collegues & to your good Lady & Family & ever
remember Me as one who is With the greatest Esteem & Regard
Dear Sir Your most obedient humble Servant

Sam: Ward

P.S. Be kind enough to communicate the Order from home to the southern


Receiver’s copy, Haverford College Library. Endorsed: “Recd. 24th Feby.

1 See Ward to John Dickinson, this date, note 1.