<br /> Lee Letter: n444

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: George Washington

Dear Sir,

I hope the measures you have taken will be effectual to the purpose of
reenlisting the Army because it is an object of great importance; and I
readily admit the propriety of first trying those methods which promise
fewest ill consequences. Danger will only arise from pressing such too
far, and urging the experiment too long. I very much fear Sir, that the
knowledge of depreciation has reached the most uninformed, and
therefore, that every evil which can, will happen to us from this
cause. But I am not without hope that such measures will be adopted as
may, before it is too late, restore our currencey to its proper

It is indeed no easy matter to judge of the designs of the enemy. They have
created to themselves a great choice of difficulties. I believe they
would willingly change their war of conquest to one of Revenge
altogether, but revenge must be postponed to safety. Gen. Clintons Army
is the only hope of Canada, Nova Scotia, Floridas, the West Indies, and
I may safely add, much so of Great Britain and Ireland. Whilst this is
the case, altho Boston in its present situation is a very tempting
object, I cannot think they will undertake it. However, what can be
attempted may be attempted, and wisdom points to precaution. If it be
true, and our information comes pretty direct, that Dominica has
fallen, that Jamaica and St. Kitts are in jeopardy, and that Keppel has
fled from the fleet of france, we may suppose that our enemies can make
no long stay with us. Distance and Land carriage distress us greatly in
the article of bread provision, to which is added an artificial
scarcity created in the midst of plenty, by an infamous set of
Engrossers who have raised the price of flour from four dollars an
hundred to five and six pounds. I hope the measures we are taking with
these gentry will make them suffer in a way most hurtful to them.

Mr. Custis had quitted this City before your letter came to hand, and as he
is gone to the Army, I have inclosed the letter in this.

I am, with much esteem and regard dear Sir your most obedient and very
humble servant,

Richard Henry Lee


George Washington PapersLibrary of Congress

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762 – 1778, pp. 440 – 41.

1 For Washington’s 23 September letter to Lee, in which he had discussed
recent measures taken to reenlist Continental troops and the
impropriety of paying bounties in specie, see Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington, 12:484 – 85.