<br /> Lee Letter: n435

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: – –

Dear General,

I am to entreat your pardon for not having sent you the inclosed letter
before now, and I think I shall obtain my request when you know the
reasons that have caused the detention. This letter arrived before we
left York, and before my brother returned to Virginia from Congress.
Among many other foreign letters, this by mistake was carried to
Virginia by my brother,1 and not until
lately returned. I hope however that no ill consequence will have
arisen from its not reaching you sooner.

It grieves me that our flattering prospects at Rhode Island are so changed.
This change of affairs will probably sustain the hopes of our enemies,
and induce them to disturb our tranquility much longer than otherwise
they would have done. I do not see how a war between France and G.
Britain can now be avoided. Yet you may discover by Admiral Keppels
letter about the taking of the two french frigates, that he considers
his Ministry as acting with fear and trembling about things that may
involve the necessity of rupture. I cannot help wishing that they may
get heartily at it, because I think that during the progress of such a
contest, we may find means of most effectually securing our

The Dutch, according to custom, are for neutrality and commerce, and
commerce with these States. How the latter can be prosecuted without
destroying the other, time will discover. But it would seem that G.
Britain must, upon her own principles oppose such commerce; whilst the
Dutch I presume will not acquiesce with the capture of the Ships coming

I wish you happiness and success being very sincerely dear Sir your
most obedient and very humble servant.

Richard Henry Lee


Sparks ManuscriptsHarvard University Library

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762 – 1778, pp. 432 – 33. Endorsed “Aug. 29, 1778.”

1 Francis Lightfoot Lee.