<br /> Lee Letter: n340_0032

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Adam Stephen

Dear General1

Nothing could have happened more opportunely than the drubbing you have
given the Hessians at Trenton. God grant the blow may be followed up
until you expell these Robbers from the Jersies at least. If they do
not get severe castigation for their late maneuvres in Jersey, they
will sophisticate all Europe with lies. The genius of America seems now
to be awakening from profound sleep. Let the moment be improved for
making a vigorous and decisive impression. We have had several valuable
arrivals lately with powders, woolens and arms. More are daily
expected. But you seem now to have got into a shorter and surer method
of obtaining these things by stripping the enemy. I heartily approve
the plan. I am still of opinion that the Spring torch will light up a
general war in Europe, but still we should be prepared to receive the
enemy in every quarter. Both in public and in private as little should
rest upon externals as possible.

Will you please to tell our Major Parker that I will forward his commission
by the first good opportunity. Congress has adopted the European plan
in offering six Hessian field officers for Gen. Lee. If it is not
accepted, I hope a noble feud will take place between these foreigners
and their British Allies.

I am, as of old, your affectionate friend,

Richard Henry Lee

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, Connecticut State Library. Addressed: “Brigadier General
Stephen in the Jersies. Favored by Colo. Hartley.”

1 Adam Stephen (c.1730 – 91), who had been promoted to the rank of brigadier
general in September 1776, was promoted to major general on February
19, 1777, but was dismissed from the service later in the year for
being intoxicated on duty. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American
Biography.