<br /> Lee Letter: n495

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Arthur Lee

{Dear Brother}1

As I shall have occasion frequently to mention {name}s in the course of
{this letter} remember that the {column}s in the {system} of {name}s
are {number}ed 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Since my last the {party} have pushed a
{vote} for {your recall} but they have {fail}ed, the {state}s being
{divide}d. Nothing has been done since. But every thing will be
attempted to {injure you} regardless of {truth, virtue}, or {public
good} tho the last is the pretext and forever {protrude}d in some
{mouth}s. Tis remarkable that the uniform, fixt, invariable {Whig}s are
for {you}. Those against {you} are generally well known in America. The
latter are {mark}ed in {the list}, “T”. The papers 1. 2. 3. 4. will
{show you} the {ground} they {were} on. What part
{Gerard}2 has taken the papers 2. 3. 4 will
{demonstrate}. I believe verily that {Deane} is not more your {enemy}
than {Gerard}. And the latter possibly more bitter and much more
subtle. It would be well to search diligently if {Gerard} is not
connected in some {intrigue} with {Deane}. Our cruel enemies have
lately invaded Virginia with 2000 men and taking the advantage of the
dispersed state of the people there, they have burned Portsmouth, &
Suffolk, and every house they came to. Murders in cold blood and rapes
without end mark their way. Every outrage and every ravage that would
disgrace the worst Savages they have committed. The people are
collecting and will be in force very soon to punish these Wretches. But
according to custom, as soon as they see a force equal to their own
collected, they will fly to their Ships, and by crossing a wide river
with their Ships of War to cover them, begin their ravage in another
part. This will {carry} me {home} to take care of my {family} – And
{leave}ing the {foreign} and {Deane}’s affairs unfinished in {Congress}
much {distress}es your {friend}. It is very remarkable that those Men
who from the beginning of this contest have been the most decided
friends to the Liberties of America and the firmest opposers of British
Tyranny, and who in the hour of Trial will be found most true to the
Alliance, are the Men whom {Gerard} has shewn the least desire to be
{welcome with}. Another sort of Men have shared his {friendship} and
{familiarity}. This has been the policy of the British Court for 15 or
16 years past. Time will prove if tis a wise one in
{Gerard}.3The {first describe}d class of men
are not {friend}s to the {intrigue}s of Deane, Chaumont, Holker,
Williams, Wharton, Bancroft, Beaumerchais &c. &c. &c.

If Ludwell is not necessary for you, he is I suppose quite fit now to
commence the Study of such part of the law as may fit him for early
practice, and therefore it is wish’d he may avail himself of coming
over in the first safest Ship – Either a frigate of ours, or in any Ship
of War of our Ally coming this way. He should come well provided with
Linnen & other cloathes, with a few necessary Books. If Mr. Wm. Lee
has no business for Thom he may come over likewise – But this is left
entirely to Mr. Wm. Lee on whose judgement and friendship his father
depends. Mr. Wm. Lee and yourself were both vvritten to very fully and
lately via Nantes – Furnish the former with the contents of this and with
the Writers best love.

Twould do infinite good if this most wicked combination against you could
be fully explored and exposed. I am persuaded there are no worse
enemies to America and the friends of America than these people. I am
well informed that the {vote} about your {recall} gave great uneasiness
to the {Whig}s in this State. They consider it as coming too near to
{sacrifice}ing one of themselves and their good & able friend. Make
an apology for my not writing to our {brother}. I am quite exhausted
with long and close attention to variety of business.

{Richard Henry Lee}

P. S. 25. Many of your friends are of opinion that it will be for your
honor that you should be called here in order to bring {Deane} to
justice. Should this be the resolution, I entreat you to spare no pains
in collecting the most authentic proofs, for I am very certain that
there has been so much misconduct and {wicked traffic} with the {public
money} That you will do honor to yourself and serve your country by
breaking up this bad man and his very bad connections. Unless you come
in a strong Ship of War or otherwise powerfully convoyed {carefully
conceal} the {time} and manner of your {coming}. You know the virulence
of yr. enemies, notice may be {given} in order that the {enemy – } may
place you to languish in a British jail.

Altho the plan for recal should not finally be carried, yet your friends
are of opinion that the violence & wickedness of your enemies is
such, that they think it will be wise in you, to take the first
favorable opportunity to resign, or rather ask leave to do so. I before
mentioned and again repeat my earnest wish, for I think it
indispensable that when you come you bring every material for making
the fairest and fullest settlement of the expenditure of such pub.
money as has passed thro you, or been entrusted to your care. It will
by no means be proper for one of us to endeavor to shelter ourselves,
as some bad men do, under a thousand delusive pretexts for not settling
accounts and demonstrating the rectitude of our conduct. If you come, I
suppose, that as you cross the Sea, having the necessary Materials, you
may be digesting a complete state of all your transactions and your
well supported ideas of {Deane}’s culpability. I {set off} this {day}
to guard my {family} from the insults and cruelty of the enemy.

Capt. Nicholson says that Williams bot for Dean a prize Brigantine that he
captured, and that she came out loaded with private property with our
fleet in spring 1777. Enquire about this & the manner in which
Williams disposed of all the prizes committed to his disposal.


Lee PapersHoughton Library

1 Words printed in braces in this text were written by Lee in cipher.

2 At this point Lee wrote “419aXXVIII,” which in the Lee cipher indicates the
word “welcome,” and was so employed just three lines above. Since
“welcome” makes no sense in this context, it seems clear that Lee
erred in his use of the cipher. The sentence appears to make the best
sense if it is assumed that Lee had in mind “Gerard,” and therefore
should have written “455.b.1.XIV,” which he did four times previously
in this letter. For the cipher used by the Lees and the conjectural
element involved in deciphering their correspondence, see these
Letters, 9:654n.2.

3 [This footnote is present in the printed text, but there is no referent for
it in the page footer]