<br /> Lee Letter: n419

Washington and Lee University

Resolved that as the enemy are daily practising insidious and delusive arts
to impose upon the good people of these States, that whenever a
Passport shall be granted for Dr. Ferguson to come to Congress, he be
attended by an escort of Light Horse under the command of an Officer of
politeness, discernment, and zeal, by whose vigilance improper
communications may be prevented.2


Manuscript, South Carolina Historical Society. In the hand of Richard Henry Lee.

1 Lee probably offered this proposed resolution on 12 June while Congress was
considering whether to grant Dr. Adam Ferguson a passport to transmit
a letter from the Carlisle peace commissioners to Congress. Lee may
have written this resolve on 11 June when he was drafting a proposed
report for the committee appointed that day to consider this issue,
and it could have been considered in Congress as late as the morning
of 13 June, but it seems likely that the resolve was penned during
the debate on the 12th.

2 On the verso of the scrap of paper on which Lee drafted this resolve are
two notes written by Henry Laurens and Charles Thomson. Their content
and appearance suggest that the president and secretary of Congress
exchanged these notes while debate on the passport request was in
progress on 12 June. At the top of the document Laurens penned the
query: “If Doctr, Ferguson comes here will it not follow that some
conference will be had & what is the conclusion?”

To which Thomson replied: “I suppose he will bring a letter sealed and if
sealed he should be confined to his room & an answer to the
letter sent by him or by a special messenger of Congress but no
conference ought or can with propriety be held with him.

“Tho from curiosity I fancy conferences will be held with him by the
members possibly not to any great purpose on our side.”