<br /> Lee Letter: n325

Washington and Lee University

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

Dear Sir,1

You have imputed to the right cause my not answering your former letter
sooner, it was indeed multiplicity of business.

Very long before your recommendation of Mr. Plunket came to hand, a Capt.
Disney had been appointed Capt. of Marines on board the Virginia, upon
the recommendation of Mr. Stone.

The Congress have determined to build in Maryland two Frigates of 36 guns
each, and I make no doubt but that one at least of these will be built
at Baltimore.2 I suppose, when the Committee
meets on Tuesday next, that directions concerning the building the new
ships will issue to the respective States. Not a word has been yet said
in Congress touching a quarrel with Portugal, no[r] will any such thing
happen, I imagine, unless they should confiscate any of our Vessels.

It will give us much pleasure to hear that Capt. Nicholson is ready for
sea, and I think we can furnish him from hence with one such Anchor as
you mention. Capt. Biddles frigate Randolph of 32 guns is now
completely ready except that she wants Men, which want we hope to
remedy when the Vessels, daily expected, arrive. The Virginia 8: the
Randolph cruising together, might bring us in some of the enemies
scattering frigates that now go about, very badly manned, injuring our
trade extremely. I wish therefore, that every effort were strained to
get the Virginia ready. Our enemies army has been pretty busy since
they retreated from the White Plains. Already they have got possession
both of Mount Washington and Fort Lee, and they talk, or the Tories
talk for them, strongly of their aiming at this City. I fancy they will
find some difficulty, and not a little danger in the accomplishment of
this part of their plan.

My compliments, if you please, to the reverend Mr. Allison, and my other
friends in Baltimore.

If the Tories do not mend their manners, be more modest, and less noisy,
they will shortly be haled over the coals in such a manner as will make
this country too hot to hold them.

I am Sir your most obedient humble servant,

Richard Henry Lee
List of new Ships to be immediately undertaken
N. Hampshire One Ship of 74 guns
Massachusetts 1 do. Do. & 1 of 36 guns
Pennsylvania 1 do. do. 1 of 18 do.
Maryland 2 do. 36 guns each
Virginia 2 do. do. do. do.

P.S. Novr. 25. 1776. I thank you for your favor of the 22d. with its
inclosures, and will answer your letter by next post, not being able
now to do it with proper effect. I know we want Vessels both on Charter
& to purchase in Virga. & Maryland. But more of this hereafter.
Gen. Howe seems intent on this city.

R.H.L.

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, Maryland Historical Society.

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762 – 1778, pp. 225 – 27. Endorsed “Rd Henry Lee Novr. 24th. 1776 – “

1 Although originally addressed by Lee “General Stephen at Amboy in New
Jersey,” Lee subsequently carefully lined out these words. The
content of the letter and Purviance’s response clearly establish the
identity of the recipient. For Purviance’s response, dated 29 November, see Morgan, Navy Documents, 7:326 – 28.

2 See JCC, 6:970.