<br /> Lee Letter: n340_0641

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Thomas Jefferson

Dear Sir

If I were to consider punctilio more than the suggestions of friendship, I
should expect an answer to some of the letters I have written you,
before I dispatched another. But I ever hated ceremonies, and shall not
commence ceremony with you. I wish it were in my power to give you any
very interesting news, but alas, the slow assembling of an Army
prevents any attempt from us upon the enemy, and will furnish them an
opportunity of collecting reenforcements from all quarters. The French
Ministry assure our Commissioners that few succors can be drawn from
Germany, but we find they are endeavoring to supply deficiencies from
among the Tories in the States of Connecticut, New York, and New
Jersey, where they have secret emissaries in abundance. For these
purposes of corruption, it seems that Lord Howe is furnished with a
Secretary, who is the greatest Adept in the art of bribing that now
lives. I am afraid this Country furnishes too good materials for him to
work upon. The plan of the British Court, if they can find Men and
money and should not be disturbed by other wars, as it was settled in
January last, was to reenforce Carleton and Howe, the latter to enter
New England with his whole force for their extermination, whilst the
former kept the middle Colonies in awe by invading N. York thro the
Lakes. Burgoyne with 10,000 men chiefly Germans, to attack Virginia and
Maryland. The Southern and Middle Colonies to be put under Military
Government. This may be relied on as fact, and shews, if it wanted
shewing, the just and merciful spi<rit> that animates the Leaders of
our Enemies in Council. And I assure you, those that execute in the
field are faithful representatives. It is on all hands agreed, that our
own Tories are more formidable to us than the British force and that a
few Leaders among these, are the Authors of all the mischeif. Quere
then, if it becomes not every Legislature to secure against their
machinations by the most vigorous and discouraging laws? I realy
believe that numbers of our lazy, worthless young Men, will not be
induced to come forth into the service of their Country unless the
States adopt the mode recommended by Congress of ordering Drafts from
the Militia.1 This may induce the young
and lazy to take the Continental bounty, rather than serve for nothing
of that sort. If the 88 Batallions were once complete, adieu to British
Tyranny and every chance for its succeeding.

Howes Army still remains on the Heights near Brunswick and Gen. Washington
to occupy the Country round him.

Farewell dear Sir. Regard me as your affectionate friend,

Richard Henry Lee

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, Thomas Jeffersonn Papers, Library of Congress. Printed in Boyd, Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 9:13 – 14. Printed also in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762 – 1778, pp. 285 – 86.

1 See the 14 April resolves, JCC, 7:962 – 63.