<br /> Lee Letter: n242

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: George Washington

Dear Sir,

I must beg leave at the beginning of this letter to apologise for any
incorrectness as I write in great haste. Indeed the hurry of business
is such here with many of us, that we have little time for the ordinary
offices of life.

You may be assured that I will do Colo. Read all the service that I
can in the way you desire1l We have a Ship
here in 6 weeks from London, that brought the original letter of which
the inclosed is a copy.2 Tis from a well
informed, sensible friend, and may be relyed on. All the other letters
from London join in confirming it to be the fixt determination of K and
Court to leave undone nothing that they can do, to compel implicit
obedience in America. One very sensible letter that I have seen,
mentions that Gen. Amherst had recommended (& ’twas said it would
be executed) to remove the Army this winter from Boston to Long Island,
in order to get amply supplied by ravaging N. Jersey, N. York, and
Rhode Island. Should this be attempted, I suppose you will be furnished
with an opportunity of giving them a genteel parting salute. And
besides, I should suppose that a winter favorable for us, would expose
them to ruin from a timely, strong attack, of superior numbers on that
naked Island. It seems that immense stores of Indian goods are sent to
Canada in order to bribe the Indians to an early and vigorous attack on
all our frontiers next Spring. God grant that Colo. Arnolds success and
Montgomeries may frustrate this diabolical part of their infernal plan
against the common natural rights of Mankindl

We hoped here that the surrender of Chamble, with the military stores there
obtained, would speedily procure the reduction of St. Johns, but no
accounts are yet come of this wished event. After Lord Dunmore,
supported by the North British Tories, had long committed every outrage
at Norfolk unopposed, our people not having Arms or ammunition until
lately; his Banditti at length attempted Hampton, where they met with
the chastisement you will see described in the part of Dixons paper
inclosed.3 The Lieutenant Wright there
mentioned has been since found dead on the Shore, a bullet having been
placed in his body before he jumpt over board. We have not yet heard
the consequence of their next intended attack, but it seems a very
heavy Cannonade was heared there the next day. If the Devil inspired
them to come on shore, I make no doubt but we shall have a good account
of them. I have a very particular reason for entreating that you will
inform me by return of Post, what number, and what strength of Armed
Vessels could possibly be procured from the ports where you are, to be
in Delaware Bay, if Congress should desire it by the middle or last of
December at furthest. Two or 3 Vessels of tolerable force, issuing from
hence, may affect a stroke or two of great consequence to us at that
Season. We have certainly 4000 weight of powder, and a very
considerable quantity of Oznaburgs arrived in Virginia from Statia for
the use of our little Army consisting of about 2000 men now at
Williamsburg & Hampton.

Be pleased to let Gen. Lee see the letter from England.

I heartily wish you every happiness and all the success the goodness
of your cause deserves & I am, with great esteem dear Sir
Your affect. friend and obedient Servant.

Richard Henry Lee

Congress has ordered 500,000 dollars to you soon as they can be
signed.4

The Continental and Virginia Commissioners have just concluded a treaty of
firm friendship with the Ohio Indians and those of the Six Nations that
inhabit near that Quarter. We have taken the most effectual measures,
by sending Runners from all the Southern provinces into the Indian
Nations thro which he proposes to pass to arrest and secure Ld.
Dunmores wicked Agent Conelly.5

Notes:

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

Printed in Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, 2:341. Printed also in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762 – 1778, pp. 155 – 57. Addressed “His Excellency General Washington at the Camp at Cambridge near Boston Free Richard Henry Lee.”

1 Washington had requested Lee’s aid in obtaining postponements of legal
cases in Philadelphia involving Joseph Reed, the general’s secretary.
Washington, Writings (Fitzpatrick), 4:52. See also Thomas Lynch to
Washington, this date.

2 Dated “Septr. 4th 1775,” this letter reports British plans to augment their
military forces in America and comments on the king’s proclamation
against the American rebellion and his refusal to receive the
petition of the united colonies. Washington Papers, DLC.

3 This account of the action at Hampton, Virginia, October 26 – 27, is from the
Virginia Gazette (Dixon and Hunter), October 28, 1775

4 See JCC. 3:352.

5 See Francis L. Lee to Landon Carter, October 21, and Virginia Delegates to
the Williamsburg Committee of Safety, October 23, 1775.