<br /> Lee Letter: n513

Washington and Lee University

Sender: William Whipple
Recipient: Richard Henry Lee

My Dear Sir

It gives me pleasure to find by Your favor of the 8th inst that you have
got the better of Your indisposition & I hope shortly to have the
additional satisfaction of being informed that your health is perfectly

The Confederacy is still waiting for her
freight,1 I fancy a late arrival at Boston
will hasten her departure.

A long Political letter has been receiv’d from Mr. Adams in which he gives
a high Character of his Companion from
France.2 I hope this Gentn will receive such
impressions in the Country where he first landed as will sufficiently
Guard him against the pernicious Air of Philaa. From the Character
given of him there is no room to apprehend much danger of his being
drawn into party by the insidious acts of base, designing men, but
still it may not be amiss to fortify him against any such attempts. The
arrival of Mr. Adams may make a change in some Political plans, I wish
he wod come this way but I do not understand he has any such intention.

The reading of Dr Lee’s vindication &c afforded me high
entertainment,3 Envy, malice, and every
vindictive passion that disappointed malevolence could inspire appeared
on various countenances round the Room. Fiddle head
shook,4 Swivel Eye, nestled & turnd
pale,5 the Chair, changed colour at every
sentence,6 some others forced a sneer
endeavouring to conceal their shagreen & Confusion, This you may
well suppose afforded me no small degree of enjoyment.

The Base Viol has tarried a fortnight beyond the time he some time ago set
for his departure,7 he has met with
something of late that has lowered him exceedingly but what it is I
know not, perhaps it may be the Oath you

What can be become of Ford it is now ten days since a fellow Passenger of
his passed through this City who informed that Ford had dispatched for
Congress, but nothing further has been heard of him, it is hinted by
some that he will not be permitted to pass this way, but those are not
remarkable for their Friendship for his late employer.

I shall not be under the least concern for the fishery if a proper person
can be agreed on to negotiate the business but that still remains a
matter of uncertainty.

The resignation of Dr Lee at this time wod certainly be injurious, ’tho I
hope when he has compleated the business that I expect he is now
engaged in he will ask leave to come to America, but in my Opinion it
will be best not to resign. The thought of his coming to this Country
wod make some of the Villains tremble, but if he resigns it will be
said he has no intention of coming here, and many injurious stories
will be circulated that may make an impression that may give him or his
friends some trouble to remove. The few select Friends who you have
Honoured with your Confidence have considerd the subject submitted to
them, their Opinions will be given you by Mr L – – or Mr L – l9 who no doubt will write you fully on the

It is uncertain when I shall take my leave of this place but I believe it
will be Octor first when ever that happens or where ever I may be, to
hear of Your Happiness will always be a great addition to mine.

I am My Dear Sir with the highest Esteem & most sincere affection

Wm. Whipple


Receiver’s copy, Lee Family Papers, American Philosophical Society.

1 A reference to Conrad Alexandre Gérard, who was awaiting the arrival of
his replacement, the chevalier de La Luzerne. However, not until
17 September was the Confederacy’s commander Seth Harding officially
ordered to receive Gérard on board and on 17 October John Jay, newly
appointed minister to Spain, was added to his passenger list. See
Marine Committee to Samuel Tucker, 25 June, note 2; and to Seth
Harding, 17 September, 17 October 1779.

2 That is, La Luzerne.

3 For the reading of Arthur Lee’s “vindication,” see James Lovell to Richard
Henry Lee, 17 July 1779.

4 Probably Meriwether Smith.

5 James Duane.

6 That is, John Jay.

7 That is, Meriwether Smith.

8 For Smith’s anger over the oath adopted by Virginia prohibiting its
delegates in Congress from engaging in commerce, see Meriwether Smith
to Thomas Jefferson, 6 July 1779.

9 That is, Henry Laurens and James Lovell. For their advice on whether Arthur
Lee’s letter of resignation should have been submitted to Congress,
see Lovell to Richard Henry Lee, 17 September, 13 October 1779,
note 3.