<br /> Lee Letter: n661

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Thomas McKean
Recipient: Arthur Lee

Sir,

I had the pleasure of receiving your favor of the 26th of last month
yesterday, and am very sorry for the distresses of Virginia, tho’ the
ardour and unanimity of the people promise that they will not long
continue.

Long ere this I flattered myself that I should have heard of the Count de
Grasse and Count de Barras having entered the Chesepeake with
thirty-four ships of the line, and several frigates, bomb-ketches &
other armed vessels. They sailed for that Bay long ago, with a
considerable body of land forces, and a company of sappers and miners,
having every apparatus on board for attacking fortifications. This you
may depend upon. General Washington, with the whole French Army, and a
large detachment of Americans are in full march for your relief; the
last division passed thro’ this city to day.

Colo. Laurens came to town yesterday from Boston, where he arrived in the
French frigate Resolution,1 accompanied with
two others loaded with arms, ammunition & cloathing, on the 25th of
August. Besides these important supplies, all for the United States, he
has brought with him a large sum in specie, almost equal to our wishes.
The Court of France have really exerted themselves far beyond any thing
done heretofore, and have given full proof how much they have our
Independance at heart. In a few weeks more, I trust I shall have it in
my power to mention additional evidences of their most faithful
attachment: The King has written a very friendly letter to Congress,
and presented their special Minister Colo. Laurens with an elegant gold
box, having his picture in the lid, ornamented with diamonds &c.,
nearly resembling the one you had the honor of receiving.

On Saturday last, about one o’clock P.M., Sir Samuel Hood, with 22 ships of
the line was seen, about 25 miles Southward of Shrewsbury, steering to
the Southward; I suppose for Chesepeake. In all probability we shall
soon hear of a Sea Engagement. We are at the eve of great events; may
God grant them to be prosperous to us, and that they may terminate in
securing to us peace, liberty and safety.

I have the honor to be, Sir, with the most respectful personal attachment,
Your most obedient, humble servant,

Tho M:Kean2

Notes:

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

1 That is, the 32-gun frigate Resolue.

2 In Burnett’s edition of Letters, this entry is followed by another letter
of the same date from McKean to Richard Henry Lee, which is cited as
an extract taken from “R. H. Lee, Life of Richard Henry Lee,
II.176.” The letter to Richard Henry is, however, actually one of
March 25, 1780, which Burnett also printed under its proper date. Its
appearance a second time at this point is inexplicable. See Burnett,
Letters, 5:94 – 96, 6:206; and these Letters, 14:545 – 46.