<br /> Lee Letter: n508

Washington and Lee University

Sender: James Lovell
Recipient: Richard Henry Lee

Dear Sir

Since I wrote you last1 I have recd. a Duplicate
of all the papers which I have mentioned therein to you as having been
sent by yr. Brother Ar[thu]r. I found also in the 2d Packet some that
were not in the first. I have kept [what] will enable me to subserve
his H[onor] except a few that you will be so [good] as to return when
you have either [co]pied or extracted what you wish [to] retain. I
think the Originals are more essential for me than for you just at this
Juncture. I shall be careful of them as your family property. I kept
also the duplic. of July 27 directed to FLL.2

I have also this day recd. many Packets Via Boston with only two Le[tters]
for you, both which I send. I remember well you got the Letter Arendt
left behind at Miller’s, I forwarded it afterwards. As to William’s
there is no Propriety in consulting Congress about the publication. You
will act your own Judgement & that of your Friends in Virginia. I
think Ar[thu]r has said more than Willm. has. I need not add that
Arthr. says Things well.

I cannot but regret more & more that you, Francis & SA3 are not here, now, furnished thus at
every Point. I am worn down with writing in addition to the vexatio[us
at]tendance on the Debates in Chesnut
[Street]4 but I hope to be able to g[ive] an
analytical & chronological concise View of the diabolical Lies
& intentional Assassination of which Deane was flagrantly guilty on
the 5th of Decr. last. I have by me a similar State of the Matter to
that which I sent you to be forwarded by Post on Tuesday to SA unless
the Express goes sooner: so that Mr A will have it in his Power to
destroy totally in Massachusetts, by little judicious Specs, as he used
to phraze News Paper writing, all the Prejudices which may happen to
have been raised there by yr. innuenda Man. Mr A. thanks me in a Letter
of the 195 for something of the Kind but I
really have forgot what it was I sent early enough for an Answer
already.

Not a single Line to the Comtee from BF6 though
large Packets are come from him, old News Papers Intelligence sent him
from Ports from Week to Week &c. &c. There is a very long
Letter to me expressly to me with an interdiction of the Public, tho it
is wholly on a Topic concerning the Public-the Impropriety of 3 at one
Court – Complimentary of Deane and shewing that Holland is ripe to
receive him. But the Oddity of all is that it is dated July 22d. 1778
forwarded by J Williams Nantes Feb 25 1779. [It] is in Answr. to mine
of May 15 1778. He say much indeed upon the good Principles which were
the basis of the 11th & 12th Articles; reducible however to this
one point which he plainly expresses, vizt that Duties on Exports are
Pickpocket Arts and too mean to be practiced even in the Line of
Retaliation.7

I can only add a word or two on home matters for I am really faint for want
of Sleep.

Fishy. in no case to be given up. States to enter into no Treaty of Comce.
without unan[imous] consent unless free Exercise is stipulated [in]
regard to that matter; and to resent w[ith] the whole force of the
Union any Moles[tation].8 These
Determinations springly from the Unanimously declared opinion that it
is essential to the Welfare of all these U.S! that the citizens thereof
shd. enjoy the free unmolested common Rights of Fishery. We must be
satisfied with tacit assurance of Indepcy.9

Good night, my dear Sir.

Notes:

Lee Family PapersUniversity of Virginia Archives

1 See Lovell to Lee, July 17, 1779.

2 That is, Francis Lightfoot Lee.

3 Samuel Adams.

4 An allusion to Congress which met in the State House on Chestnut Street.

5 Samuel Adams’ July 19 letter to Lovell has not been found.

6 Benjamin Franklin.

7 On the subject of Franklin’s July 22, 1778, letter, see Lovell to Samuel
Adams, August 3, and to Franklin, August 6, 1779.

8 “Molestation” had become a critical word in the settlement of the dispute
over access to the fisheries, when Congress on July 29 agreed that
“if after a treaty of peace with Great Britain, she shall molest the
citizens or inhabitants of any of the United States in taking fish on
the banks and places described in the Resolution passed the 22d day
of July, instant, such molestation . . . shall be a common cause
of the said states; and the force of the union be exerted to obtain
redress.” JCC, 14:896 – 97.

9 Lovell wrote the following tongue-in-cheek warning in the margin beside
this last paragraph: “dead secret unless you get it from the
Weathercocks or otherwise.”