<br /> Lee Letter: n275

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Landon Carter

Dear Sir

It hurts me exceedingly that you should attribute to declining friendship
what realy arose from the necessity of my situation. After an absence
of many months, I had obtained leave to pay a short visit to my family,
where I had been but a few days when the public business called me to
Williamsburg and Mrs. Lees illness occasioned a summons from thence.
She was but just recovered before I was compelled to return to this
place. This situation of my affairs will very sufficiently account for
my not gratifying myself by visiting Sabine Hall, without imputing it
to want of regard. You will have heard no doubt of our enemies shameful
flight from Boston, where they left behind them many marks of
apprehention and hurry, altho they took time to remove with them all
the American prisoners (they had made) in chains, while they left to
the resentment of an injured country, many Tories, to whom they had
promised protection. Where these hostes humani generis will go next, we
can only guess, and have. already strengthened N. York, we are
preparing with 10,000 men well commanded, to meet them in Canada, the
Capital of which Country still continues besieged by the Continental
forces. It is curious to observe that whilst people here are disputing
and hesitating about independancy, the Court by one bold Act of
Parliament, and by a conduct the most extensively hostile, have already
put the two Countries asunder-They think forever, and are therefore
preparing the minds of the people of England for this event, by having
hired Dean Tucker to prove the measure an eligible
one.1 As well, dear Sir, might a person
expect to wash an Ethiopian white, as to remove the taint of despotism
from the British Court. The vicious principle has pervaded every heart,
perverted every head, and will govern every movement of that Body. The
measure of British crimes is running over, and the barbarous spoliation
of the East is crying to Heaven for vengeance against the Destroyers of
the Human Race. Out of 8 Vessels from Whitehaven with provisions for
their army, 7 have been taken and the 8th driven on shore. They are
disgraced in the East and the North, and their friends beaten in the
South. Were it not for their present Marine superiority, I do verily
believe that N. America could give law to that proud imperious Island.
Be so kind as give my compliments to your Son and inform him that I, as
well as my brother, applied to Gen. Lee to receive Squire Landon as an
Aid de Camp, but the General was already provided with two, Mr. Byrd
& Mr. Morris, and two only were allowed by the Continent; but the
General is willing to receive Mr. Carter into his family if he chooses
to attend on his own expence as an Aid de
Camp.2

I wish you healthy and happy dear Sir
for I am sincerely your affectionate friend,

Richard Henry Lee

P.S. If Mr. Carter chooses to go as above mentioned I shall be ready to
furnish him with a letter to General Lee.

Notes:

Fogg CollectionMaine Historical Society

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762 – 1778, pp. 172 – 74. Addressed to Carter at Sabine Hall, Richmond County, Virginia.

1 See Richard Smith to Samuel Tucker, March 16, 1776, note 3.

2 See Francis Lightfoot Lee to Landon Carter, February 12, 1776, note 1.