<br /> Lee Letter: n633

Washington and Lee University

Sender: John Witherspoon
Recipient: Richard Henry Lee

Dear Sir

A few Days ago I was favoured with yours of the 27th of April by your
Brother1 and do truly feel myself sensibly
obliged by your Attention to my Affairs. Your Brother will soon I
expect be able to discharge Mr Turbervilles Account only the Interest
Bills & indeed all Bills on Europe here Sell very low. They do not
bring at present above 5/ this Money a Dollar. I beg you would make my
Compliments to Mr Turberville & thank him for his ready compliance
with my Desire – The rather this is necessary because from some thing
your Brother said I suppose what I wrote about my having sent twice on
purpose to Maryland & Virginia to collect the Arrears due to me
been applied to him but his Sum was So Small compared with the others
that I never Sent it before. I shall have great Reliance on what you
have written respecting Col. Lees Account. One Mr Ker in Dumfries has
Directions to settle it. I shall be now fully satisfied if I can
receive the original Sum with Interest and paid in hard Money for
though as I wrote before Money in the Time of these Expenditures was
much more valuable than Now & would have gone nearly twice as far
in Stocking as I am or clothing a Family yet Such is the Call I hear
for money at present that I will be happy in receiving it – if in real
Money. What adds to my present Difficulties is that my eldest Son
John2 has lately been taken by the English
at Statia where he was a Surgeon to a Letter of Marque. By a Letter
from a Merchant there & the Captain who brought it I am informed
that my Son is very hardly treated on Acct of his Relation to me and
Some bold and spirited thing that he said to Admiral Rodney when
reproached with that Relation. He was sent to England on the 10th of
March & When some Gentleman of the Island sent him some Hams,
Cheese, Pork & Wine as Sea Stores & Refreshments the Capt.
Ordered them to be thrown overboard. This unhappy Situation which has
deeply affected his Mother & my self requires particularly Some
Attention to him in point of Credit – which nothing but hard money will
procure now in this Place.

You must have heard before now of the dreadful Blow which Paper Money of
all Kinds has lately received. It is lamentable to think how our
Operations are hindered, our Army distressed and our Friends missed by
our trusting to Paper Money. Just now My son in
law3 has met with a Stroke of that kind.
When he left Virginia he sold his Furniture on Credit has been paid in
Paper and his Brother bringing two Weeks ago several thousand Pounds
continental Money it perished in his hand in one Week & would not
now enable him to travel 50 Miles.

A Committee of Congress of whom I am one have been making a last Effort for
putting an End to the Use of Paper but though some of the parts of our
System have been adopted I am affraid it will be finally defeated by
those still hankering after the partial use of that Deceiver. It is
probable you will have the News upon this and other Subjects Sent you
fully by your Brother. Some Dispatches came to the Minister of France
to Day of which we shall know the Contents on Monday – if there be any
thing particularly interesting that can be communicated I shall either
write it to You by the Post or tell him that he may write it.

We have got one New Delegate from N.H.4 but I
cannot as yet tell much about his Principles or probable Conduct. Mr.
Duane is gone & New York is not represented neither is Connecticut,
Rhode Island nor Delaware a Piece of Neglect wholly inexcusable at this

The President of Congress asked Leave lately to go home and a Day was fixed
for the Choice of another. The Ballots being taken upon that Day no one
had more than two Votes so that we requested the President to continue
& it was postponed sine die and I think it probable he will
continue till the Fall.5 I believe if your
Colleague Mr Jones would have agreed to serve he would have been
chosen. If a New Attempt is made I think either he or Mr Jenifer of
Maryland will be the Man. We are all at present very anxious about the
Situation of your State & impatiently looking for a greater sea

I am D Sir your &c,



Receiver’s copy, Gilmor Collection, Maryland Historical Society.

1 That is, Arthur Lee, who had returned to Philadelphia to settle his
accounts with Congress. JCC, 20:522, 574 – 76; PCC, item 78, 14:433.

2 For the imprisonment of Witherspoon’s son, who was released by the British
in September after the intervention of Benjamin Franklin, see James
Lovell to Franklin, May 9, note 2; and Witherspoon to Franklin, June
15, 1781.

3 That is, Samuel Stanhope Smith.

4 That is, Samuel Livermore.

5 Thomas McKean was elected to succeed Pres. Samuel Huntington on July 10
after Samuel Johnston was chosen but declined to serve. See JCC,
20:490, 492, 724, 732 – 33.