<br /> Lee Letter: n236

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: George Washington

Dear Sir,

After the fatigue of many days, and of this in particular, I should not sit
down at eleven o’Clock at night to write to a Gentleman of whose
goodness of heart I have less doubt than I have of yours. But well
knowing that you will pardon what flows from good intentions, I venture
to say that my hopes are you will find from what the Congress has
already done, and from what I hope they will do
tomorrow,1 that it has been a capital object
with us to make your arduous business as easy to you as the nature of
things will admit. The business immediately before us being finished,
the approaching sickly season here, and the great importance of our
presence in the Virga. Convention, have determined a recess of a Month,
it standing now, that the Congress shall meet here again on the 5th of
September. The capital object of powder we have attended to as far as
we could by sending you the other day six Tons, and tomorrow we shall
propose sending six or eight Tons more, which, with the supplies you
may get from Connecticut, and such further ones from here, as future
expected importations may furnish, will I hope enable you to do all
that this powerful article can in good hands accomplish. We understand
here that Batteries may be constructed at the entrance of the Bay of
Boston so as to prevent the egress & regress of any Ships whatever.
If this be fact, would it not Sir be a signal stroke to secure the
Fleet & Army in and before Boston so as to compel a surrender at
discretion. While I write this, I assure you my heart is elated with
the contemplation of so great an event. A decisive thing that would at
once end the War, and vindicate the injured liberties of America. But
your judgment and that of your brave Associates, will best determine
the practicability of this business. I think we have taken the most
effectual measures to secure the friendship of the Indians all along
our extensive frontiers, and by what we learn of the Spirit of our
Convention now sitting at Richmond, a Spirit prevails there very
sufficient to secure us on that quarter. The particulars of their
conduct I refer you to Mr. Frazer for, who comes fresh from thence,
& who goes to the Camp a Soldier of
fortune.2 You know him better than I do, and
I am sure you will provide for him as he deserves.

We are here as much in the dark about news from England as you are, the
London Ships having been detained long beyond the time they were
expected. The indistinct accounts we have, tell us of great confusion
all over England, and a prodigious fall of the Stocks. I heartily wish
it may be true, but if it is not so now, I have no doubt of its shortly
being the case.

I will not detain you longer from more important affairs, than to beg the
favor of you, when your leisure permits, to oblige me with a line by
Post, to let us know how you go on.

There is nothing I wish so much as your success, happiness, and safe return
to your family and Country,

because I am with perfect sincerity dear
Sir Your Affectionate friend and countryman.
Richard Henry Lee

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress.

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762 – 1778, pp. 145 – 47. Printed also in Sparks, Correspondence of the Revolution, 1:11

1 Although Secretary Thomson’s journal entry for August I states that
Congress adjourned this day, it is clear from Lee’s comment to
Washington as well as the August 2 letters and diary entries of
Benjamin Franklin, Francis Lewis, Philip Livingston, George Clinton,
and Robert Treat Paine, that congress actually met and adjourned the
following day. see JCC, 2:239.

2 Probably John G. Frazer, whom Washington appointed assistant to the
quartermaster general in September 1775. Washington, Writings
(Fitzpatrick), 3:515. Patrick Henry also wrote a brief letter
recommending Frazer to Washington’s attention. Henry to Washington,
July 31, 1775. DLC.