<br /> Lee Letter: n237

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: George Washington

Dear Sir

Two days ago I arrived here from Virginia, which the late short adjournment
just allowed me time to visit and return from. I brought two letters
from thence for you which come with this. Having some business with
Colo. Mason, I travelled that road and having sent to your Lady to know
if she had any commands this way, had the pleasure to learn that all
were well at Mount Vernon. As I suppose it will be agreable to you to
know what is passing in Virginia, I have inclosed you the proceedings
of our last Convention, with two of Purdies Gazettes. I am greatly
obliged to you for your favor of August the
29th,1 and you may be assured I shall pay
great attention to it. When I mentioned securing the entrance of the
harbour of Boston, it was more in the way of wishing it could be done,
than as conceiving it very practicable. However the reasons you assign
are most conclusive against the attempt. I assure you, that so far as I
can judge from the conversation of Men, instead of their being any who
think you have not done enough, the wonder seems to be that you have
done so much. I believe there is not a Man of common sense and who is
void of prejudice, in the world, but greatly approves the discipline
you have introduced into the Camp; since reason and experience join in
proving, that without discipline Armies are fit only for the contempt
and slaughter of their Enemies. Your labors are no doubt great both of
mind and body, but if the praise of the present and future times can be
any compensation you will have a plentiful portion of that. Of one
thing you may certainly rest assured that the Congress will do every
thing in their power to make your most weighty business easy to you. I
think you could not possibly have appointed a better Man to his present
Office than Mr. Mifflin. He is a singular Man, and you certainly will
meet with the applause and support of all good men by promoting and
countenancing real Merit and public virtue, in opposition to all
private interests, and partial affection. You will see in the
proceedings of our Convention, that they have agreed to raise the pay
of our Rifle Officers & Men to the Virginia standard. It may
perhaps encourage them to be told this.

We have no late accounts from England, but from what we have had that can
be relied on, it seems almost certain, that our Enemies there must
shortly meet with a total over throw. The entire failure of all their
schemes, and the rising spirit of the people strongly expressed by the
remonstrance of the Livery of London to the King, clearly denote this.
The Ministry had their sole reliance on the impossibility of the
Americans finding money to support an army, on the great aid their
cause would receive from Canada, and consequent triumph of their forces
over the liberties and rights of America. The reverse of all this has
happened, and very soon now, our Commercial resistance will begin
sorely to distress the people at large. The Ministerial recruiting
business in England has entirely failed them, the Ship builders in the
royal yards have mutinied, and now they are driven as to their last
resort to seek for Soldiers in the Highlands of Scotland. But it seems
the greatest Willingness of the people there cannot supply more than
one or two Thousand men, A number rather calculated to increase their
disgrace, than to give success to their cause.

I beg your pardon for engaging your attention so long,

and assure you that
I am with unfeigned esteem 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. 149 – 51. Endorsed “From The Hon. Rd. Hy. Lee Esqr 26 Sep 1775 Answered 13h. Octr. 1775.”

1 See Washington, Writings (Fitzpatrick), 3:450 – 54.