<br /> Lee Letter: n340_0378

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Robert Morris

Dear Sir

As far as I am able to judge, the plan suggested in the inclosed memoir is
admirably fitted to give a decided superiority to our Frigates above
those of the Enemy.1 If you should
think so, I know you will push it into execution with the same zeal
that animates you in every thing that affects the public. Will not the
churches furnish their bells to make 24 pounders for the Randolph &
the Delaware when they are to be employed against an enemy who mean to
extirpate religion and every thing else valuable here? Should the enemy
get possession of Philadelphia, they will soon strip the churches of
their bells as a perquisite for [the] chief Engineer, whereas if they
are lent to us, we [shall] repay in kind. I hope you will not suffer
the enemy to have the honor of getting Philadelphia.

I am with truth & esteem, affectionately yours,

Richard Henry Lee


Receiver’s copy, Papers of Continental Congress, item 78, U.S. National
Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. Endorsed:
“favored by the hon. Mr. President Hancock.” Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762 – 1778, p. 268.

1 Lee also enclosed a copy of this “memoir” in his March 6 letter to John
Page from Chantilly, Va. “The inclosed is extracted from a very
sensible Memoir sent to Congress by a French Artist, and which may
avail us greatly in the construction of our Provincial Frigates. It
is intended for the use of our Navy board to whom I should have
written if the Express were not waiting for my dispatches. Gen. Howe
having landed in person at Amboy, with a reenforcement and some heavy
Artillery occasions much speculation, and makes it to be greatly
lamented that the new raised Troops go so slowly up to Head Quarters.
The American Army is now much inferior in number to the British and
yet were 15,000 men now with General Washington he might finish the
business of next summer this winter.

“By a letter from our Agent in Martinique 7th January I consider the war
between Spain & Portugal as certainly commenced, this is South
America, and learn that Doctor Franklin arrived safe at Nantes the 6
December & went directly to Paris.” Samuel T. Freeman & Co.
Catalog, The Frederick S. Peck Collection of American Historical
Autographs (February 17, 1947), p. 82, item 148.