<br /> Lee Letter: n300

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Thomas Jefferson
Recipient: Richard Henry Lee

Dear Sir

We received your letter by post and are much obliged for the enclosures.
The queries to the officers shall be answered by this post if we can;
otherwise certainly by the next.1 I suppose
it will be best to send the answer to Brigadr. Lewis. Leich’s affair
shall also be taken care of.2 Admiral Howe
is arrived at New York, and two or three vessels, supposed to be of his
fleet, were in sight. The enemy by way of experiment ordered two of
their men of war and tenders to hoist anchor and pass up Hudson’s river
in defiance of our batteries. Wind and tide were fair, and they passed
unhurt as far as is known tho’ an incessant fire was kept up from our
batteries. This experiment indicates I think that they mean to land
above New York. I suppose Genl. Washington will make a corresponding
alteration in his plan. He is very strong in men, tho’ we know not his
exact numbers. Our Canadian army is safe at Crown point, but still half
down with the small pox. The Convention did nothing yesterday for want
of numbers. They expect to meet to day. Dr. Franklin will be president.
I am sorry the Convention of Virginia did not accept of my resignation
here. The state of Mrs. Jefferson’s health obliges me to persist in it.
I hope you will be here before the 11th. of August when I propose
going: otherwise the colony will be unrepresented. Indeed I wish you
would come immediately. The confederation is just brought in and the
plan of alliances will be reported to-day.3
The former is in every interesting point the reverse of what our
country would wish. You can never be absent at a time so interesting to
your country. I make no doubt it will be long in it’s passage through
the Committee so that you may be here in time to attack it in the house
from Alpha to Omega.

I am Dear Sir Your friend & serve
Th. Jefferson


Reprinted from Jefferson, Papers (Boyd), 15:577.

1 See Virginia Delegates to the Executive of Virginia, July 16, 1776, note 4.

2 Probably a reference to Maj. Andrew Leitch’s unsuccessful attempt on June
24 to take a Barbadian brig bound with supplies for Lord Dunmore that
had run aground in the Chesapeake. During the encounter Leitch had
taken four prisoners whom he had sent to Gen. Andrew Lewis. See
Clark, Naval Documents, 5:755 – 56.

3 The “committee appointed to prepare a plan of treaties” did not bring in
its report until July 18. JCC, 5:575.