<br /> Lee Letter: n499

Washington and Lee University

Sender: James Lovell
Recipient: Arthur Lee

Dear Sir

I will not omit this Oppy. of sendg. a few Lines to you, though my first
Intents were only to put under Cover the Gazettes, and the Journals
of Congress. From Those you will learn how Questions relative to you
have been agitated.

May 3 For your Recall 4 to 4 & 4 dividd.1

June 92 Ordr. of the day called for, vizt Rept.
of the Comtee of 13. A motion made by Mr. Burke 2dd by Mr Laurens
that the Considn. Of the Rept. be postp’d. till order be taken on Mr
Deane’s Letter of May 22d and a Decission of the Resolution moved
thereon by a Member from Nth. Car. 2dd. by a Membr. from 5th Car.
Question by Yeas & Nays demandd. by Burke. 5 a[yes], 4 n[ays], 3

Motion that Silas Deane Esqr. be ordered not to depart the United States
without the special permission of Congress and that Arthur Lee Esqr
be directed to repair forthwith to America in order the better to
enable Congress to enquire into the Truth of the several Allegations
& Suggestions made by the said Ar. Lee in his Correspondence with
Congress against the said Silas Deane.

Previous Question called by Gerry 2dd. by S Adams. A Division of the main
Question demanded. Previous Question on the 1st Part, Yeas & Nays
by Mr. Laurens, 5 a[yes], 5 n[ays], 1 dividd.

Yeas & Nays by Mr. Holton on the 1st Part,4 a[yes],4 n[ays], 3 dd.
Previous Question on the 2d pt. yeas & nays by Ellery 11 ays.

The Term recalled having been used with regard to Wm. Lee & Rph. Izard,
with an Idea strenuously supported by some of bringing them to
America though others who were affirmative meant only vacating
Commissions, a 2d Resolve passed That it is the Sense of Congress
that Mr. Wm. Lee & Mr R Izard need not repair to
America.3 I give them no oficial Notice
now,4 nor shall I without the special
order of Congress, because, I am again left alone of the Comtee. of
for. Affrs. Yr. Brother R H having resigned as I hear, and gone home;
and further because something definite ought to be decided in regard
to Compensation for Services of the Commissioners. An Attempt has
several Times been made lately to chuse a new Comtee instead of
filling up the old one. This you will perceive to be singularly
decent towards the one who has steadily attended. Nay it is said that
such a Comtee. is useless. I am sure I find an immense Deal that
ought to be done and a great Burthen in what has been done by a
Member of Congress without Secretary or Clerk, little as you &
the other Gentlemen abroad may have been benefitted by my
Labors.5 Quires of my Writing have been
sunk in the sea, most of it near these Capes.

I expect further Attempts to get rid of you. It was a Fear of that and a
Strong Desire to scrutinize Mr. D6 that
made Mr. Laurens I imagine give into the late
Motion.7 But I think you will rise above
the Malice of the Faction which you have long known, or, if you find
yr. Usefulness destroyed by their accts you will readily tell us so,
and desire to make way for some other Person. I have by me large
Packets left by your Brother with Copies of Proceedings affecting
you, but I will not venture them round about, as a Frigate must soon
go directly from hence, or at least a Pacquet boat. I tell Mr. J
Adams more on that Head. I suspect much Roguery in the Stoppage of
yr. Letters; how else is it that we have not a line from any of you?

Mr. S Adams goes home Tomorrow for good and all, as he
says.8 This is intended Via Cadiz, a Copy
Via Martinique.

Your Friend & humble servant,


Vid Journals: Apr. 6, 15, 20, 21, 26, 28, 30, May 3, 22, 25, 27, June


Lee Family PapersHoughton Library

Endorsed by Arthur Lee: “Receivd thus from Mr Adams the 11th Feby.
1780, i.e. with the wax fingerd not open’d. Mr. Adams had it from Dr.

1 JCC, 14:542 – 43. See also William Carmichael’s Statement, May 3, 1779.

2 The action Lovell described here actually occurred in Congress on June 10.
See JCC, 14:711 – 14; and Henry Laurens’ Notes of Proceedings, 11 June 1779.

3 The votes to recall Ralph Izard and William Lee were taken on 8 June. JCC,
14:700 – 705.

4 For the official notices, see Committee for Foreign Affairs to Ralph Izard
and to William Lee, 17 July 1779.

5 Two members were finally added to the Committee for Foreign Affairs on 24 November 1779, when William C. Houston and Robert R. Livingston
were appointed. JCC, 15:1302. See also Lovell to Arthur Lee, 17 July and 6 August 1779.

6 That is, Silas Deane.

7 Henry Laurens had voted for Arthur Lee’s recall on condition that Silas
Deane remain in America. See Laurens’ Notes of Debates, 24 May and 11 June 1779.

8 See Samuel Adams to Richard Henry Lee, this date, note 4.

9 When Lovell extracted this letter in his 17 July 1779, letter to Arthur
Lee, he added the date 24 May and changed 9 June to 8 and 10 June,
days on which Congress debated the future of Silas Deane and the
recall of the American commissioners abroad.