<br /> Lee Letter: n337

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Robert Morris
Recipient: Richard Henry Lee

Dear Sir

I have now to acknowledge the Rect. of your second letter of the 24th Inst.
continuing the quotation from your London letter of the 21st Septr. for
which I am much obliged.1 The papers of the
Secret Committee are sent away with my [own] & are now under care
of one of my Clerks at Christiana Bridge but I very well remember that
the propriety & necessity of sorting the Tobacco’s Shipped to
Europe so as to suit the different Markets, struck me so forcibly that
in one of the Committees letters to my Brother he was desired to employ
proper persons to Inspect every Cargo that arrives & sort it in the
manner I have mentioned. This you may [well?] remember if you think of
it a little & […] you’l see we have neither discovered
ignorance nor inattention in this point. I shou’d have been glad you
had mentioned the Gentns. Name that you wish to have joined with My
Brother in this business. I shall readily Consent to every measure that
tends to promote the Publick Good but it is necessary you will agree
that I know who is to be joined to my Brother in a business of this
kind, and if the Man meets my approbation there will be no difficulty
in agreeing on the Measure. I wish the Secret Committee to buy the
Ships you mention & hope they may be had reasonably. If the
purchase is made there is Tobacco already bought to load them & I
dont think you shou’d undertake any fresh purchases at this time
because great Numbers of our People that had Continental Money on hand
have gone down to buy Tobacco on the prospect of this City falling into
the hands of the Enemy and I am fearfull they will raise prices. If we
set up New purchases at this time it will assist in raising prices and
if we remain quiet during the present alarm, we shall have an
opportunity by & by of rebuying all the Tobacco now bought up on
Speculation as none of the purchasers can export it & they will
either grow tired or fearfull of keeping it long on hand.

I have borrowed a good deal of Money here for the Service of the Secret
Committee & must draw some orders on them to repay it, therefore
you’l please to be prepared for these drafts and I shall Account for
the Amount.

You cannot conceive how I am vexed & mortifyed to find after the deal
of pains & trouble I have taken that the Randolph Frigate is still
at the Piers & Ice making in the River but the Officers of that
Ship show great reluctance to go away without being compleatly manned
& that is not possible. She might have been at Sea before now had
they exerted themselves for that purpose but they have had constantly
in view to wait for more Men. This has its foundation in a Noble
principle which has hindered me from complaining to the Marine
Committee, altho I have scolded the officers like a Gutter-Whore for
their dilatoriness; they say they wish to Fight & not to run. I
tell them they must run untill they can fight.

There are a Number of Soldiers in the two New England Regiments now with
Genl Washington whose time expire with this year & will not
reinlist. They are chiefly Fishermen or Seafaring Peoples and I have
wrote the General to prevail on all that will not Continue with him to
come down here to Man our Frigates & they shall carry them home. I
think [this] a good plan as we shall by that me[ans get] some of the
Frigates Manned for [Sea] & before they carry the others home they
may pick up Seamen from Prizes &c. I have little time but remain,
Dr sir, Your Obedt hble servt.

Robt Morris

P.S. I have just seen Mr. David Franks. He says Doctr Lee & Arthur Lee
Esqr. had quitted London.2


Receiver’s copy, University of Virginia Library.

1 Not found.

2 Morris apparently forgot which of Lee’s brothers was the doctor; he should
have written “Doctor Lee & William Lee.”