<br /> Lee Letter: n463

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Francis Lightfoot Lee
Recipient: Richard Henry Lee

My dear Bror.

The day on which my last Letter was wrote, Mr. Deane produced to Congress
his written narrative of his transactions &
accusations.1 The first the most pompous
bloated thing that ever was on paper. The only charges against Doctr.
Lee are that he is suspicious, jealous, affrontive to every body he has
any business with, & very disgusting to the whole french Nation, by
his hatred for them, which he discovers by all his words & actions.
Mr. W. Lee is mean, & goes shares with the Agents he appointed. The
whole is most grossly abusive of both of them. The Party sucked it in,
as nectar & Ambrosia; & say he has acquitted himself most
honorably. They whisper about that as they are very moderate, &
wou’d not injure any body unheard, they think the best way is to recall
them that they justify themselves. This in fact, under the appearance
of moderation, is the thing they are working for. They have of their
Party ready immediately to fill all the places; & then every thing
being in their own hands, we shall have fine work, with the trade which
the Continent must carry on for our large advances in Europe. Altho
Deane had two Colleages, the word We, is never used in his Narrative, I
did everything. I procured all the supplies, bro’t about the Alliance,
procured D’Estaings fleet, conducted them to America, discover’d the
designs of the Enemy & baffled them, in short, I have establish’d
the Liberty & independance of America; whose safety & happiness
now depends upon my vigilance. You are sufficiently acquainted with
human nature, to know that such magnificent Ideas, inculcated in the
most positive style, repeated a thousand times by many Trumpeters;
& supported by a Courtly Letter from Count Vergennes; & the
great Dr. Franklin will have great weight with many. The old Whigs are
something benumbed, at the apparent greatness of the Party. I Shall not
be surprised at their success, for meanness & wickedness increase
daily. If our brothers are not disgraced now, I am sure they will be
e’er long, for they will allways stand in the way of bad men; & no
villainy will be left unpracticed to ruin them. I believe they mean to
push for a speedy decision in favor of Deane. Finance has not been
mentioned since my last. No News.

Yrs Afftly,

F. L. Lee

[P.S.] I forgot to mention, that I am informed Deane has sent a great many
of the Papers containing his Address to Virginia to be circulated there
by you can guess whome.2

Mrs. Lee sends her Love to Colo. Lee & all at Chantilly and


Lee PapersUniversity of Virginia Archives

1 Deane’s “written narrative,” which he read to Congress during sessions held
on 22, 23, and 31 December, is available in Deane Papers (NYHS
Colls.), 21 (1888): 144 – 205; and Papers in Relation to the Case of
Silas Deane,
ed. Edward D. Ingraham (Philadelphia: Printed for the
Seventy-Six Society, 1855), pp. 17 – 75. The Deane Papers text is taken
from the latter (which was printed from Deane’s original manuscript
then in the possession of a descendant of Henry Laurens), but the
former includes an “imperfect continuation … attached to the
copy preserved in the Sparks MSS, in the Library of Harvard
University” that is not included in the earlier publication. Little
is known about the document, but for clues to its provenance see the
“Introduction” to Papers in Relation to the Case of Silas Deane, and
especially, p. 71n. For Deane’s attendance before Congress at this
time, see JCC, 12:1239 – 40, 1246 – 49, 1258, 1264 – 66.

2 Lee may have been referring to Benjamin Harrison, a longtime ally of
friends of Deane such as Robert Morris in Philadelphia and a
political opponent of the Lees in Virginia.

3 This last sentence appears to have been added by Lee’s wife, Rebecca Tayloe