<br /> Lee Letter: n340_0519

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Patrick Henry

Dear Sir,

I thank you for your favor which I found here on my return from Virginia.

Weak, and exposed as our enemies are in the Jersies, to a stroke that would
be decisive, we cannot avail ourselves of it for want of men, altho we
have arms, tents, cloaths, and every necessary ready for 20,000
Soldiers. The Levies come up very slow, and these are obliged to
undergo inoculation before they join the Army, so that the General has
not more than 4000 with him now, and the enemy have about 7000. Yet
they continue narrowed in their quarters and greatly distressed for
forage. O for 10, or 12 thousand Americans to sweep these Vermin from
our land. We have received very agreable intelligence from the
Commissioners (Dr. Franklin, Mr. Deane & Dr. Lee) of the United
States to the Court of France. They have been received with great
cordiality, promised protection, and an answer to their proposals as
soon as Spain has been consulted, with which Country France means to
act in close concert. The French had in January 25 sail of the line
ready & Spain had 17. And both were certainly to have 30 by April.
Ten thousand French troops were marched to Brest, where the Fleet lay,
and opposite the English coast, which will no doubt occasion alarm and
prevent the sending more Troops from G. Britain. The Court of London
had solicited the Guarantee of its Continental possessions in Europe.
and was refused by the Allies of France in Germany. The commissioners
had negotiated a loan of. two millions of Livres, to be repaid when
America was in peace and prosperity, without even the mention of
interest, and the Ports of France, Spain, & Leghorn are open to our
Prizes as well as our Trade. These things look well, and if we are not
wanting to ourselves, must in [time fix] the freedom and happiness of
America. We have 12,000 stand of Arms arrived at Portsmouth in N.
Hampshire with other Military Stores, and 8,000 stand come in here.

The enemy lately made an attack by surprize on our posts upon the highlands
of Hudsons River, but they were repulsed and driven on board their
Ships with precipitation and disgrace by an inferior number of American
Troops. They have lately embarked Troops at N. York, the Tories say for
this City, themselves say they are going to Chesapeake Bay. Some think
they mean nothing but to amuse, whilst others imagine they mean to
renew their attack on the heights of Hudsons River. Either of the two
last opinions I prefer to the former. I hope to have the pleasure of
seeing you in May at Williamsburg,

and remain in the mean time with
great friendship and affection dear Sir yours,

Richard Henry Lee

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, Columbia University Libraries. Another copy is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, Library of Congress. Addressed “Honorable Robert Morris Esquire Member of Congress Philadelphia favored by the hon. Mr. President Hancock.” Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762 – 1778, pp. 268 – 70.