<br /> Lee Letter: n535

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Nathaniel Scudder
Recipient: Richard Henry Lee

Dear Sir,

Our Life is a strange Kind of checquered Work, one Day we rejoice, on
another we lament; in one Letter we congratulate, in the succeeding one
we condole. Alas! for the southern Disappointment! Indeed the same Day
often exhibits a Medley of Mourning and Festivity, of Joy &
Lamentation; witness the 11th instant, the Day after we received the
melancholly Confirmation of the Repulse of the allied Armies at
Savannah. On that Day the President of this State was elected and
proclaimed, and on that Day the Funeral of our Friend & fellow
laborer Mr. Hewes of North Carolina was attended with the usual
mournfull Formalities. About 12 o’Clock the President of the State, Mr.
Reed, was proclaimed from the Court House Steps, and a Feu de Joy fired
on the Occasion; after which there was a Procession to & Collation
at the City Tavern, the Bells chyming joyously &c. &c. About 4
o’Clock the funeral Procession of the Honble Mr. Hewes began, the Same
Bells ringing muffled; and as we proceeded down Market-Street we had a
fine View of the continental Colours displayed on Market Street Wharf
in Honor to the President. When we arrived at Christ’s Church we were
entertained with the usual Service, and a very solemn funeral Anthem,
after which the Body was interred. Scarce had the Attendants reached
their Homes, before the Bells again unmuffled resumed their festive
Sounds, with firings as usual, and the Evening closed with a grand
Serenade at the governor’s Door. Sic eminet; Sic transit gloria

I observe by the last Boston Paper that Mr. Samuel Stockton, who has for a
considerable Time acted as Secretary to Mr. William Lee in various
parts of Europe,1 is arrived in that City
from Amsterdam; I daily expect him here, and hope for much usefull
Information from him, as from our former Intimacy I expect to find him
unreservedly communicative. I doubt not he will be very able to unravle
some of our foreign Mysteries.

Congress is at present very thin, rarely more than 10 States represented,
often but 9. Many important Businesses on Progress much as usual. What
can the Neglect of your State be attributed to? Only one Member here
for many Weeks.2 Mr. Duane is again in the
Delegation from New York – Goverr. Morris left out. Mr. Floyd in again,
Mr. Lewis out – General Schuyler, Mr. Scot, Mr. Livingston & a Mr.
Lommedeau added. Our old worthy Friend Mr. Sherman left out by
Connecticut, this I think not a little ominous, as he is one of the
Originals. In short, what with the Effect of Manoeuvre on the one hand,
and of Necessity on the other, I fear, entre nous, both that State and
New Jersey will next year appear in different Colours from what they
have heretofore done. As for myself, sheer Necessity compels me to
retire, and I have therefore so ordered it with my Friends as that I
expect not even to be balloted for. My Time expires on the first of
December, so that I shall be here only one Week after
this.3 I wish I may be happy enough to hear
from you before I leave Philadelphia.

To morrow at 12 o’Clock is fixed for the public Audience of the New
Minister of France. There will be a public Dinner.

The Enemy received the first Account of our Defeat in Georgia from
Philadelphia. They had a great Feu de Joy on Saturday last. We can
learn Nothing of their intended Movements, tho’ there is undoubtedly a
capital Embarkation on Foot; I fear for Savannah, Charles Town or your
Neighbourhood. I wish soon to hear you are returned to Congress.

Make my most respectfull Compliments acceptable to your Lady and believe me
to be with great Affection & Sincerity,

your Friend & very Hble

Nath. Scudder

P.S. I am this Morning told Mr. Deane is going to Virginia to take his
passage on Board a 50 gun Ship belonging to Beaumarchais now in your
Bay. It is said he has discovered, that his Bail cannot be made
accountable unless some person will swear that Doctor Lee has actually
sustained Damages to the Amount. N.S.


Receiver’s copy, Lee-Ludwell Papers, Virginia Historical Society.

1 Samuel W. Stockton (1751 – 95), younger brother of former New Jersey delegate
Richard Stockton, had been secretary to the commissioner at the
Courts of Vienna and Berlin. See Milton Rubincam, “Samuel Witham
Stockton, of New Jersey, and the Secret Treaty with Amsterdam in
1778,” Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society 60 (April
1942): 98 – 116.

2 For the attrition in the Virginia delegation, see James Mercer to the
Virginia House of Delegates, October 1, 1779, note 2.

3 Scudder apparently withdrew from Congress on November 25 or 26.