<br /> Lee Letter: n475

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Henry Laurens

Colo. R. H. Lee presents his compliments to the honorable Mr. Laurens and
sends him inclosed some extracts from several letters of Mr. William
Lee 2which may place in a proper point of
view Mr. Deanes charge against Mr. Lee of delaying to accept of the
trust reposed in him by the United States least he should injure his
affairs in England. The necessity of attending the Marine Committee
prevents Colo. Lee from sending at present such extracts from the same
gentlemans letters as will further evince the bad foundation of this
and some other of Mr. Deanes charges. What is now omitted shall
hereafter be sent.3


Henry Laurens PapersSouth Carolina Historical Society

Endorsed “Colo
R. H. Lee with documents on public foreign affairs.”

1 Lee had returned to Congress on 20 February, where he would almost
immediately have learned of the appointment on 20 January of a
committee consisting of one member from each state to inquire into
“the foreign affairs of the United States.” Laurens, the South
Carolina representative on the committee, had returned from a brief
trip to New Jersey on 24 February. This unsigned message was probably
written on a “Tuesday evening” after Laurens returned from New Jersey
and before the committee reported to Congress on 24 March (i.e.,
2, 9, 16, and 23 March). See JCC, 13:93 – 94, 214, 363 – 68; Foreign
Affairs Inquiry Committee Minutes, 21 January 1779, note; and
Laurens to George Washington, this date, note 1.

2 The “inclosed” extracts were letters from William Lee to Richard Henry
dated 1 July, 12 August, and 7 October 1777, and “November 24, 1779”
(i.e., 1777). Complete texts of the last three are in the Lee Family
Papers microfilm, University of Virginia Archives.

3 Among the Laurens Papers, South Carolina Historical Society, is another unsigned and undated message
from Lee to Laurens enclosing an extract from a letter of Arthur Lee
which Richard Henry thought would also shed light on the Deane-Lee
affair. “Colo. R. H. Lee presents his compliments to the honorable
Mr. Laurens and sends him the above extract as well as the inclosed
both of which Colo. Lee thinks touch the business under consideration
of the Committee of thirteen.” Although the letter from Arthur to
Richard Henry has not been found, comparison of information in the
undated extract with an exchange of letters in Paris between Arthur
and the newly appointed French minister, Conrad Alexandre Gerard, on
1 April 1778, indicates that the original was written the same day.
See the Lee Family Papers microfilm, University of Virginia Archives, and Wharton, Diplomatic
2:530 – 31. The “inclosed” to which Lee refers has not
been identified.