<br /> Lee Letter: n431

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Francis Lightfoot Lee

My dear Brother,

Your letter of the 12th came only to hand this day by Post, amazing delay,
but I have spoken to the Post Master on this business until I am tired.
It astonishes me that neither you or my other friends receive my
letters, altho I write so many. To you I have not missed above one post
since we parted & then I wrote by Mr. Armstead. I trust that before
this gets to hand you will have received my letters in which I have
given you a full account of the transactions in the Jersies, of the
arrival & progress of the French Squadron, & of the coming of a
Plenipotentiary from the Court of France to Congress. The Squadron is
gone to Rhode Island to make a sweep there as the large Ships of this
fleet cannot find water enough to enter the Harbour of N. York wherein
the English Ships keep themselves close. I understand that measures
will be taken to prevent egress from York or succours getting in. It is
this day confidently reported that 27 sail of the provision fleet from
Cork have fallen into the hands of Count D’Estaing, this is not yet
certain, but we know such a fleet has been long & daily expected.
We understand the enemy are greatly distressed for provisions in N.
York, particularly of the bread kind. Gen. Washington has sent 2
Brigades to join 3000 Men under Gen. Sullivan to assist in the business
of Rh. Island. Where you are nothing better can be done than to inform
the people and prevent their being imposed on. The change in affairs
has occasioned Congress to desire that both supplies of Infantry &
Cavalry from Virga. voted by last Assembly may be not sent forward
& the Expedition agst Detroit is changed to a Chastisement of the
offending Indian Tribes to the West &
Northwest.1 I will attend as you desire to
the payment of Hillsymer [Hiltzheimer] & will keep the rest of yr.
money for your further orders. There has been no time yet to procure an
order for settlement of Accounts either here or abroad, but I hope it
will be done soon. Mr. D – r2 is deep in
the {plot}3 for supporting {Deane} & the
{party} so that he remains {here} tho leave of absence has been long
asked & granted.4 I am realy tired with
the folly & the wickedness of Mankind, and wish most earnestly to
be retired absolutely. Mr. Holker has been, since the arrival of the
Plenipotentiary, appointed by him Agent for the Marine of France in
these States, but more of this hereafter. I will send yr. bark if a
good oppertunity offers & I thank you for your offer to use what I
want, but I am pretty well supplied.

My love to Mrs. Lee & regards to all friends. Much hurried. Yours
sincerely.

Richard Henry Lee

[P.S.] Let me know how Colo. Tayloe does, I am greatly concerned for him.

Notes:

Lee PapersUniversity of Virginia Archives

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762 – 1778, pp. 428 – 29.

1 See Henry Laurens to Patrick Henry, 24 July 1778, note 3.

2 William Duer.

3 Words in braces, here and below, are written in cipher in the receiver’s copy. For an
explanation of the cipher used by the Lee brothers, see Richard Henry
Lee to Arthur Lee, 12 May 1778, note 2.

4 In his 12 July letter to his brother, Francis Lightfoot Lee had inquired
whether William Duer was still at Congress. He also offered the
following comments, partially in cipher. Words in braces were
supplied above the cipher by Richard Henry Lee.

“The {Message} which two of the {Consort} are playing at {Congress} is so
barefaced; that I am surprised any {Member} of that {body} shou’d be
so {blind} as to be {imposed on} by it. As you know them to be in
{Trade} with {Deane}; & engaged in the {Scheme} to {ruin} those
who are likely to {detect} their {villany}; if the {message} should
relate to either of these {Objects} the {plot} will be very plain,
& they I hope, & their {Principal}, meet the {fate} they
{deserve}. I think you have enough of hieroglyphics.

“Suppose Mr. H – r [Holker] was asked if any American & which of them is
concerned with him in commerce to this Country. I fancy he must
either make a discovery, or subject himself to be proved a Liar.” Lee
Family Papers, University of Virginia Archives.