<br /> Lee Letter: n342

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Patrick Henry

Dear Sir,

Having written to you so lately by Express this chiefly serves to convey my
wishes that another Delegate might be hastened here, for the reasons
you will see in the inclosed note,1 this
moment put into my hands. By a late letter from France, we understand
that our enemies have given up their plan of attacking Virginia for the
present, in order to gratify their stronger resentment against New
England. However, I greatly question their being able to do much
against either, as a French & Spanish war seems inevitable. A
curious Act of Parliament has passed to make our opposition on the land
high Treason, and on the Sea Piracy-And directing a place of
imprisonment in England until it is convenient to try the
Offenders.2 It is an acrimonious and foolish
display of Tyranny. I am, with great respect, dear Sir, your most
obedient and very humble servant,

Richard Henry Lee

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library, University of Pennsylvania. Printed in William Wirt Henry, Patrick Henry, 3:67. Printed also in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762 – 1778, pp. 287. Printed also in Virginia Historical Register, 1:173.

1 Not found, but it probably concerned Thomas Nelson’s inability to continue
serving as a delegate. See Mann Page to John Page, this date, note 1.

2 In the 28 April issue of the New-York Gazette a news item datelined London,
8 February, reported that the House of Commons had approved Lord
North’s 28 January request “that leave be given to bring in a bill,
to enable his Majesty to apprehend and secure all persons guilty of,
or suspected to be guilty of high treason, in America, or of the
crime of piracy on the high seas,” which in essence meant suspension
of the Habeas Corpus Act. For additional responses to this
intelligence, see William Ellery to Nicholas Cooke, 8 May; and to
Patrick Henry, 13 May 1777.