<br /> Lee Letter: n510

Washington and Lee University

Sender: James Lovell
Recipient: Arthur Lee

Dear Sir,

The Originals, duplicates or triplicates of all you wish to have reached
us, I believe, have safely arrived, and you may depend on a diligent
use of them.1 It was unfortunate that we
were not favored with many of them before Henry,
Francis2 & S Adams left this Stage of
their Exertions for their Country & for Virtue in general. However,
I shall think this Circumstance a fresh Call upon My Industry, a
Quality wch. is an Object of the hatred of your Foes who have found
themselves long ago mine in consequence. I own no first in that Quality
except Mr. Laurens who wants no Spur but the simple Knowledge of
Injuries done to the worthy to make him enter directly upon their

I have urged an hundred Times what you have at length quoted to me from
Whitlock.3 But there is really no such thing
as a Com’tee. Of foreign Affairs existing – no Secretary or Clerk – further
than that I persevere to be one & the other. The Books & Papers
of that extinguished Body lay yet on the Table of Congress, or rather
are locked up in the Secretary’s private Box. There was a Motion as I
have before told you to chuse a new Comtee. The House would not so
insult me. An Indifference then took place as to filling it up upon
presumption I suppose that a little Leaven leaveneth the whole Lump. It
would be impossible that you could have Enemies in a Comtee. where was
one so to arrange Vouchers of yr. Industry, Capacity & Honor as it
is thought I am able to do.

The State of Mr. D – – 4 is exactly the Reverse
of what Letters have announced in France. But I will give you one or
two Copies of the Scraps which have been made use of here to prove the
only point on which yr. Enemies finally rested, and which is now the
only possible ground of hope to them of overcoming yr. Views for the
public Good.

Nothing has appear’d here that will prove a direct Patronage and Assistance
of yr. inveterate foe, from that Quarter which you name in one of yr.
Letters to Frank or Richd.; but every thing short of that has taken
place; you will not think I am a meer “Innuendo Man,” as R
Hy5 calls D – – , after you get the Copies
above mentioned.

How do you reconcile the Conduct of Congress on June 5th respecting De
Francy’s Business6 with the Ideas of the
total Extinction of joint Powers in the Commissioners for special
Purposes after the appointment of the Minister Plenipotentiary for
general Concerns?

The List you give of Letters written on & before the 5th of Decr. last,
differing from one now before me, of Receipts, I give it that you may
see you have not sent a list of all we have recd. nor have we recd. all
you have registered.


Jany. 5, 6, 15, 31

Feb. 10, 15, 28

Apr. 1, 2, 4, 8.

June 1, 5, 15/17

July 16.

Aug. 7, 11, 21, 27, 31.

Sepr. 9, 30

Octr. 5, 19/Nov 29

Nov. 4, 15/18, 20

Dec 5.


Jan 5/28, 15, 20

Mar 7

Apr. 6


Jan 18

Mar. 4.

Adieu & prosper,



Receiver’s copy, Lee Family Papers, Houghton Library, Harvard University.

1 Lovell’s role in defending Lee, and his activities on related questions of
foreign affairs, are discussed at length in Helen F. Jones, “James
Lovell in the Continental Congress, 1777 – 1782” (Ph.D. diss., Columbia
University, 1968), chaps. 4 – 5.

2 That is, Richard Henry Lee and Francis Lightfoot Lee.

3 See Lovell to Arthur Lee, July 17, 1779, note 3.

4 Silas Deane.

5 Richard Henry Lee.

6 For these measures adopted by Congress on June 5 to ensure payment of Caron
de Beaumarchais’ account, See JCC, 14:690 – 93; and John Jay to
Benjamin Franklin, June 18, 1779, note.