<br /> Lee Letter: n612

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Theodorick Bland
Recipient: Richard Henry Lee

Dr. Sr.

We have been for some days past in the most impatient expectation of
hearing that the Virtue and ardor of our Countrymen had put a stop to
the Progress of Cornwallis, and a period to his handfull of men with
which that adventurous Knight Errand had dared to traverse the Southern
States, and (as if bidding defiance to our Patriotism and Courage) has
with three thousand troops thrown down the Gauntlet to forty thousand
at least, who are nearer to him than he is to any support. Good God!
Shall it be said that this man has dared to Venture near three Hundred
miles from the Sea Coast and above two Hundred from any of his Posts
and shall be permitted again to return! I cannot believe it. It is said
we want Arms – Has not every Peasant in Virginia & North Carolina a
Gun? with what weapons were the Battles of Bunkers Hill, Bennington and
Kings mountain fought. But I will not dwell on a Subject which affords
so much Chagrin. I will suppose that the Spirit of America has again
roused and that Saratoga is revived at the Saura
Town.1 I have been unwearied in my
applications for a Maritime force from Rhode Island and should in my
last have informed you that I had at last obtained it through the
French Ministery – but was afraid to trust it to paper as it was so
profound a secret that no one in Philadelphia except him & myself
knew it was saild untill we had reason to expect it had arrived. Altho
it had not all the desired effect it has at least been serviceable in
transporting about eleven Hundred stand of Arms, some considerable Qy
of Cloathing, Medcines & military stores, which were intended for
Virginia, but taken, retaken and Carried into Rhode Island – which was
done at the request of the delegates.2 I can
also assure you as a truth to be depended on that on their return to
Rhode Island the French Squadron has taken the British Ship of War the
Romulus – two large Privateers & eight other Vessels, which with five
hundred Prisoners are safely arrived in Rhode Island – and before this
arrives you will undoubtedly (without a sinister accident) be
reinforced by 1000 Chosen Regular troops under the Command of the
Marquis de lafayette. A British ship of the line which was missing in
the late Storm is returned to Gardners Bay – which puts the two fleets on
an equal footing & I suppose in the Judgement of the French Commr.
renderd it necessary to recall their Ships from our Bay.

The Confederation was Signed and completely ratified on Thursday last, and
was accompanied with every demonstration of Joy by all ranks of People
in this Place. I thought I had acknowledged the Rect. of yrs. enclosing
Col. Masons Sentiments.3 I have little doubt
of the Grants being accepted by Congress on the terms mentiond in the
act of Cession which I see nearly corresponds with those in that Paper.
I believe the Covert manoeuvres of the land Jobbing Companies are so
well known, and so fully discoverd, that few of their abettors will be
hardy enough to oppose it in its fullest latitude. Congress seems at
this time more Unanimous, and less torn by factions than (from the best
Information I can obtain from the oldest Members) it has ever been
since its first meeting. I am clearly of opinion if the Intelligence
you give of the hostility of the British against the Danish Ships be
true; that the next Spring must unfold the designs of the Armd
neutrality [to] their fullest extent and that Britain’s Sun of Glory
will set in the ocean never to rise again. We have a report – which comes
from the Havannah – Martinique, & Hispaniola to Boston in short
Passages that D’Estaing has taken six of Admiral Hoods Squadron of the
line & three frigates & forty five of his Convoy for the West
Indies. This is all the news at pr[esent] Current. You will be pleased
to offer my respects to your Brother Arthur, from whom I have in vain
expected a letter for some time past. I am happy to hear he is well. We
are informd that the assembly has voted three Pounds Virginia Currency
per day for the delegates. If so, I can assure you it will bring such
as have families, and live in any manner suitable to their station,
with the Utmost oeconomy, above one Hundred Pounds per Annum in debt,
exclusive of traveling home once a year which is a recess from
business. I think not unreasonable. I hope by the next Post to have my
acct. of expenditures made out, ready to be laid before the assembly.

Adieu & believe me to be Dr. Sr., Yr. most obet. Set.

Theok Bland


Receiver’s copy, Lee Family Papers, University of Virginia Library.

1 Sauratown, Upper Sauratown, and Lower Sauratown were Indian trading
posts on the Dan River in North Carolina north of Guilford

2 See Virginia Delegates to Samuel Nightingale, Jr., December 30, 1780.

3 “Col. Masons Sentiments” have not been identified.