<br /> Lee Letter: n311

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Samuel Purviance, Jr.

Dear Sir,

Since your brother left this City, Mr. Nicholson has been confirmed first
Lieutenant of the Washington, and his worthy brother may be assured
that in settling the rank of the Captains his merit will not be
forgotten.1 It is not probable that the
Frigates will sail in fleets for some time; and therefore tis likely
that no higher appointment than that of Captain will soon take place.
It will be highly proper for Captain Nicholson to hasten on the
Virginia (for that is most certainly the name of the Baltimore Frigate)
as quick as possible. Her great obstruction, I fear, will be Anchors.
However, we hope that will be removed eer long, as measures have been
taken to procure them.

You will shortly see published the conference of our Members with Lord Howe
on Staten Island, in which you will find that his Lordships much talked
of powers, are no more than to confer & converse with Gentlemen of
influence, and to prosecute the war! We anxiously expect here, the
issue of a long Cannonade at York, and another lately on Lake
Champlain.

I am Sir Your most humble Servant,

Richard Henry Lee

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, Maryland Historical Society.

Printed also in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762 – 1778, pp. 217. Addressed “Samuel Purviance junr. Esqr Merchant in Baltimore Maryland.”

1 John Nicholson had been appointed 2nd lieutenant of the frigate Washington
on August 22. When the Marine Committee’s report was approved on
October 10, Capt. James Nicholson was ranked first among captains of
the Continental Navy. JCC, 5:697, 6:861. See also William J. Fowler,
“James Nicholson and the Continental Frigate Virginia,” American
Neptune
34 (April 1974): 135 – 41.