<br /> Lee Letter: n326

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: John Page

Dear Sir,1

I am greatly concerned that the necessity of immediate and principal
attention to our military securities should be overlookt for any other
consideration whatever. However I hope the most complete regard will be
paid to this business before the Assembly disperses. Portsmouth is an
Object of capital concern and deserves a constant and a powerful guard
in my opinion, since it presents so fine and convenient a harbour for
our Vessels to retire to if pursued, and at the same time so convenient
for building. No object I think deserves our attention more than Ships
and Seamen, and therefore every encouragement should be given to
building the former and raising & bringing in the latter. Gen.
Howes success against the forts Washington and Lee has so raised his
hopes as to have turned his eyes upon this City, and here he is said to
intend his next visit by marching his army thro the Jerseys, where Gen.
Washington has at present, not quite 6000 men to oppose him. Much alarm
has taken place here on this account, but I hope it will rouse such a
spirit as must compel the Tyrants troops to go quickly into Winter
quarters. It is certainly very necessary for their mighty force, from
which the immediate conquest of all N. America was confidently
affirmed, to do a great deal more than they have done to prevent them
& their Master from falling under the contempt of Europe. We are
just furnished with a prize ship sent in here by a small Continental
Cruiser freighted with 13,000 silver dollars and some other
merchandise.

I hope our manufacturers have not lost sight of Salt Petre and Gun powder.
I wish to be Independent indeed, not of G.B. only, but of the whole
world. Therefore Cannon, Small Arms, Saltpetre, Gunpowder &
discipline should be our objects.

We hear from N. York that Ld. Dunmore has certainly sailed for England, but
not before he had so conducted himself that no Officer would speak to
him or keep company with him.

Farewell dear Sir, be healthy & happy,

Richard Henry Lee

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, Houghton Library, Harvard University.

1 Although the recipient’s identity has been taken from the inside address,
“Honbe John Page,” which was obviously added at a latter date by an
unknown hand, comparison of this letter with Lee’s November 4 letter
to Page suggests that both were directed to the same person. In a
December 6 letter to Lee, Edmund Pendleton acknowledged receipt of
“your obliging favor of the 25th of November,” but the content of
Pendleton’s letter indicates only that Richard Henry wrote another
letter this date which has not been found. Edmund Pendleton, The
Letters and Papers of Edmund Pendleton, 1734 – 1803, ed. David J.
Mays, 2 vols. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1967),
1:203 – 4.