<br /> Lee Letter: n397

Washington and Lee University

Sender: James Lovell
Recipient: Richard Henry Lee

Dear Sir.

Your favors of the 15th & 23d of January came yesterday to
hand.1 I am exceedingly pleased with the
proceedings of your General Assembly. I hold them out in all my letters
to the eastward as a fine example.

I shall send you the oath of Allegiance which passed in Congress yesterday
as soon as it comes from the Press.2 It is
our Business to

Reproduction of

Oath of Allegiance, February 3, 1778 take measures with all continental
officers whatever. The states will take care of their particular
citizens. Maryland besides excluding nonjurors from offices &c
makes them liable to a treble tax; which I think falls well in with
your idea of making it as inconvenient as possible for such vermin to
exist among us.

I ought to have informed you that Mr. J.A. has accepted, and that I
constantly forward to him letters & papers for F – – & – – .3 Mr. Iz – – also accepts for
Tu – – , and speaks of the probability of obtaining a Loan in I – y. I
have therefore obtained a Resolve (similar to that passed on Decr. 3d)
for 1,000,000 stg. upon an interest to accumulate (if it can be
obtained) during the war, afterwards to be paid off
annually.4 You must have heard from your
Brother of the great disappointment we met with about our dispatches
from France. I have no doubt the robbery was committed on the other
side of the water, and by a person near the Commissioners; as besides
the main packet, one for you was changed which was under a cover among
Gazetts, while a very considerable for the President of Congress,
another for me and another for Barnabas Deane and a 4th for R Morris
were untouched. But then, all these were upon private concerns, tho
their Directions were more tempting than yours could have been. I have
the satisfaction of remarking to you that my Letter from Doctr Franklin
as well as Genl. Roberdeau’s, and all for other Gentlemen from the
Doctor or other friends were written with an air of ease &
pleasantry which I should not expect to find if the public packet had
been quite the reverse.

It is well reported that Howe is paying the Quakers of Chester Co. &c
for Horses and other Articles, upon slight vouchers; but I cannot find
whether this is in consequence of a remonstrance from them or of news
from England or whether it is a stroke of good Policy to make them well
affected towards his Usurpation.

I am in hopes that we shall get our army both cloathed and fed by the good
care of the several states and our own afterwisdom in regard to certain
systematic attachments. I think we grow more & more practical
daily, I wish we had not waited for the teachings of woeful Experience.

I have not recd. Letters from Boston for a long time. Our good Friends
Adams were well the 7th of Janry. I am glad they are in the way to
advise Heath in his present difficult task with Burgoyne. I wish you
had been present in our debates upon that Subject, I think you must
have approved the step of detaining him upon the grounds which appeared
for such a procedure.

I am affectionately your humb. Servt.

James Lovell

[P.S.] The Committee on the Tyconderoga affair have reported, and the
Attorney Genl. of Pensylvania, Sergeant, & he of Jersey, Patterson,
are to assist at the Court martial.5Thus
Congress have done every thing the enraged People could expect, but
from the Papers collected Minds ought to be prepared to rest satisfied
with the ruin of Burgoyne & his Army. This I say in Confidence to
you as I was put upon the Committee since you left
York.6

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, Lee Family Papers, Houghton Library, Harvard University.

1 Lee’s January 15 letter to Lovell is in Lee, Letters (Ballagh), 1:378 – 80.

2 On February 3 Congress passed resolutions requiring all civil and military
officers to take an oath of allegiance. See JCC, 10:114 – 18.

3 Doubtless Franklin and Arthur Lee.

4 Ralph Izard, commissioner at the court of Tuscany, had just been authorized
to borrow one million pounds sterling. JCC, 10:120.

5 See also Committee of Congress to Washington, and Henry Laurens to William
Paterson, February 7, 1778.

6 Lovell had been appointed to this committee on January 20. JCC, 10:66. See
also John Hancock to Arthur St. Clair and Philip Schuyler, August 5,
1777, note.