<br /> Lee Letter: n226

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: William Lee

Dear Brother

I am exceedingly pressed with business and therefore must be short, and for
this time mix politics with business of a private nature. The Virga.
Delegates arived here yesterday where they find all those from the
Southward of this, with the Deputies from N. Hamshire. In an hour all
from the Colonies north of this will be here and then the Congress will
be opened. There never appeared more perfect unanimity among any sett
of Men than among the Delegates, and indeed all the old Provinces, not
one excepted, are directed by the same firmness of union, and
determination to resist by all ways and to every extremity. The
Province of N. York is at last alarmed.1 The
Tory Ministerial faction are driven from their influence and virtuous
patriotism taken place. The shameful defeat of General Gages Troops
near Boston (after a wanton and cruel Attack on unarmed people, after
they had brutally killed Old Men, Women, & Children) has rivitted
such union, roused such a universal Military spirit thro out all the
Colonies, and excited such universal resentment against this Savage
Ministry and their detestable Agents, that now no doubt remains of
their destruction with the establishment of American Rights. 800 of the
Regulars commanded by a Colo. Smith was defeated by 600 provincials
hastily gathered together—Altho tis agreed the Colo. personally
behaved with the true spirit of a good Soldier. These 800 were
afterwards supported by 1200 under command of Ld. Piercy, but the whole
were compelled (upon a reenforcement coming up to the Provincials) to
retreat to Boston having had several Men killed, wounded, and taken
prisoners. The Provincials are since increased to 20,000 and lay now
encamped before Boston. All communication is cut off between Town &
Country. The Troops, by way of insult, marched first out of Town to the
tune of Yankey doodle, and some time after fired unprovoked upon some
people who were exercising, as they told the Regulars for amusement
without having any ammunition with them. This is the most authentic
account we have here of this business. The Connecticut people with the
N. Yorkers are pre paring to prevent any bad designs of the Troops
coming to the latter place.

I expect Capt. Brown will soon be loaded, as he has Toba[cco] enough ready.
You will please insure for Colo. George Mason one hundred hogsheads in
the Adventure to recover £ 10. sterling in case of loss. 22 hhds
of Colo. P. L. Lee’s estate & 5 of mine at what you judge proper.
The proceeds of these 22 hhds are to be applied to the use of our
brother Doctor Lee. 15 of them are Top stem’d heavy hhds. So that you
may advance the Doctor at least 200 Guineas on the whole. Mr. Willings
Tobacco’s were all engaged another way before your application. Loudon
[Francis L. Lee] & Mr. Brown will take care of yr. Virga business.
The Doctors family here send their love.

Richard Henry Lee


Receiver’s copy, Virginia Historical Society.

1 New York’s vacillation had been a matter of concern since the assembly had
refused in January to endorse the work of the First Congress. The
change in New York sentiment, which was commented upon by several of
the delegates as they reassemblcd in Philadelphia, had already been
communicated to Virginia, where the following “extract of a letter
from one of the Virginia Delegates, on his way to the Congress, dated
Tuesday evening last,” was printed in the Virginia Gazette (Purdie),
May 5, 1775. “The storm thickens fast. The New Yorkers have received
intelligence that their town is to be fortified, and 14 regiments
sent there, to cut off the communication between the southern and
eastern colonies. This has united them, to a man, in the American
cause. They are forming themselves, and beg assistance from the
southward. This comes from the Philadelphia committee. The Bostonians
have given a good drubbing to 2000 regulars.”