<br /> Lee Letter: n259

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Francis Lightfoot Lee
Recipient: John Page

My Dear Page

I received yours of the 20th Instant last night. I will deliver any Letter
you may send to Mr. Rittenhouse, tho’ my acquaintance with him is but

A very critical time is approaching. It is expected that administration
will make some advances towards an accomodation. There are English
Papers in this City brought by a Ship from Dunkirk, that mention Mr
Penn, who carried the last Petition to the King, being examined before
the House of Lords. His answers were short and clearer and seem’d to
have weight with some of that Body, who had before been kept in the
Dark. The expression is that he had made several of them Quakers. The
Duke of Grafton, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the bishop of
Peterborough have espous’d the American cause. The bolus begins to
operate & I think some of them will quake er’e it be long.

Administration have demanded 25,000 Men for the American service, which is
ridicul’d by those in opposition, as entirely insufficient, after
having been told by Mr Penn that the province of Pennsylvania singly,
was 60,000 strong. They were call’d upon to speak out at once and
declare what would be demanded, but that they did not chuse to do,
until they had sounded and found how the Land laid. I have endeavoured
to procure a paper for you, but being in the hands of the Printers, who
do not chuse to part with them, I am disappointed & must therefore
refer you to Purdies, who will have the News from his Brother Printers
of this City. A Battallion of the Devonshire Militia have petitioned
the King to send them over to America to thrash the Rebels. This
petition was attack’d in the House of Commons by the Friends of Liberty
as dangerous & highly improper; & the Minister condemn’d for
suffering such an one to be presented to his Majesty: He was also
accus’d of altering several parts of it himself & suiting it to his
own purpose, after it had been taken out of the hands of the
Petitioners. Thus have I given you all the News I can recollect, tho’
in a very imperfect manner, having never seen the Paper.

I am much concerned to find Bullit & Innes neglected by the Convention.
I will consult my colleagues whether it will be proper to move for the
former to have rank as a Colo. I think it would, & if they will
join me it may be done. What we can do for Innes I do not know unless,
provided a General be appointed, we can prevail on him to make him his
Aid de Camp, a post that I think would suit him well, but there his
rank would be only that of Major, whether he would like this or not I
can not tell.1

[Francis Lightfoot Lee]


Reprinted from Lawrence H. Leder, ed., The Genesis of American Freedom,
1765 – 1795 (Waltham, Mass.: Brandeis University, 1961), p. 21.

1 On March 6, 1776, Thomas Bullit was appointed deputy adjutant general in
the southern department with the rank of lieutenant colonel. James
Innis became a major on August 13, 1776. JCC, 4:187, 5:649.