<br /> Lee Letter: n272

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Francis Lightfoot Lee
Recipient: Landon Carter

My dear Col.

Before this I suppose you have recd. a Copy of common sense which I sent
you some time ago; if not, I now send a parcel to Col. Tayloe of whome
you may have one.

Our late King & his Parliament having declared us Rebels & Enemies,
confiscated our property, as far as they were likely to lay hands on
it; have effectually decided the question for us, whether or no we
shou’d be independant. All we have now to do, is to endeavour to
reconcile ourselves to the state, it has pleased Providence to put us
into; and indeed upon taking a near & full look at the thing, it
does not frighten so much, as when view’d at a distance. I cant think
we shall be injured by having a free trade to all the world, instead of
its being confined to one place, whose riches might allways be used to
our ruin. Nor does it appear to me that we shall suffer any
disadvantage, by having our Legislatures uncontrouled by a power so far
removed for us, that our circumstances cant be known; whose interest is
often directly contrary to ours; and over which we have no manner of
controul. Indeed great part of that power being at present lodged in
the hands of a most gracious Prince, whose tender mercies we have often
experienced; it must wring the heart of all good men to part; but I
hope we shall have christian fortitude enough to bear with patience,
& even chearfullness the decrees of a really most gracious King.
The danger of Anarchy & confusion, I think altogether chimerical,
the good behaviour of the Americans with no Government at all proves
them very capable of good Government. But my dear Col, I am so fond of
peace that I wish to see an end of these distractions upon terms that
will secure America from future outrages, but from all our intelligence
I really despair. There is such an invetiracy in the – – & his
advisers, that we need not expect any other alternative, than slavery
or seperation. Is it not prudent therefore, to fit our minds to the
state that is inevitable. Virginia it seems is consider’d at home, as
most liable to deception & seduction; & therefore the
Commissioners are to bend their cheif force that way, backed by a
considerable detachment of the Army. I hope it will turn to the honor
of my Country as it will afford an opportunity of shewing their Virtue
& good sense. Col. Tayloe has the news. I wrote yesterday to my
friend Col. R. Carter by the post2 letting
him know that Genl. Lee, who has the Southern command, was furnished
with the two aid de Camps paid by Congress, before my application; but
agreed to take your Grandson, as a supernumerary Aid he bearing his own
expences. If this is agreeable you will perhaps see the Genl. as he had
some thots of passing thro’ Richmond. Best respects to Sabine Hall.

Adieu my dear friend.
Francis Lightfoot Lee

P.S. I forgot to mention to Col. Carter that I desired Mr. R. Colston to
carry with him Mrs. Carter’s cotton cards & always understood he
had done so. When I recd. Col. Carter’s Letter, there was not a pair in
this City. I have sent to New York, if I get any from thence, will send
them by the first opportunity.

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, Harvard University Libraries.

1 On this day also Richard Henry Lee wrote from Philadelphia to John Page:
“It gives me pleasure to find the mutinous spirit of our Soldiery so
well subdued, and I hope the character and weight of our General
Officers will prevent the like irregularities for the future. As the
putrid fever rages so much in the Norfolk fleet, ’tis pity but
Dunmore and his people could be forced into their Ships to partake
the ruin of that distemper … I hope and wish that both the
Committee of Safety and Convention would immediately establish public
works for making common Salt. We have no Chance for importation, and
the want of this Necessary will produce universal riot and convulsion
… I find it gives concern in our Country that the Continentall
Troops are not under Colonial direction.” Extract of autograph letter
signed, printed in The Collector 61 (August 1948): item M1586.

2 Not found, but see Francis Lightfoot Lee to Landon Carter, February 12,
1776, note 1.