<br /> Lee Letter: n732

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Arthur Lee
Recipient: Samuel Adams

Dear Sir

I had the pleasure of receiving your Letter relative to Capt.
Landais.1 The representation made by Mr.
Morris of his behaviour at the Office of Finance did him such
disservice that I am persuaded it woud be in vain for me to propose any
thing in his favor, & woud be considerd as aimd at Mr. Morris, not
intended to do justice.

The resignation of Mr. Morris, & the manner of it are a great shock to
public credit.2 At bottom it is certainly a
manouvre to force the system of funding upon the States, in which Mr.
Morris & his friends are so deeply interested as to hazard the
destruction of this Country, rather than not realise the immense
wealth, which large purchases of Loan Office Certificates at an
infinitly low depretiation, has offerd to their hopes. I hope the good
sense & discernment of the Public will see this factious measure in
its true light. This only can prevent its malignant operation here; but
abroad the full misschief of it must be felt, & I fear will put an
insurmountable bar in the way of Loans, upon which only we depend. This
Morris coud not be ignorant of, & therefore the injury done is a
deliberate Act, & deserves exemplary punishment. That punishment
will not proceed from Congress, untill the public voice calls for it.
Such is his influence here. But you know the stage & the chief
Actors; & can be at no loss to form a just judgment.

I beg you will present my best Compts. to Mrs Adams, Genl Ward, Warren
&c. Farewell,

A.L.

P.S. I enclose you the Freeman’s Journal containg. several good
Essays.3 I am told that it is not taken in
by your Printers. It is the popular Paper. The Independent Gazetteer is
Gouverneur Morris’s Paper or the Court-paper. Your Printers shoud have
the former & give you the good Essays.

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, Adams Papers, New York Public Library.

1 Adams’ February 10, 1783, letter to Lee is in Adams, Writings (Cushing),
4:277 – 80.

2 Lee is referring to the fact that Robert Morris had arranged for the
publication of his January 24 and February 26 letters of resignation
in the Independent Gazetteer on March 1, which not only administered
a “shock to public credit,” but also touched off a bitter debate in
Congress that was led by Lee and Theodorick Bland. See Morris, Papers
(Ferguson), 7:462 – 77; JCC, 24:165 – 68; and James Madison’s Notes of
Debates, March 4 – 5, 1783.

3 Apparently the March 5 issue of Francis Bailey’s Freeman’s Journal,
containing essays by “Lucullus” on George III’s speech to Parliament,
by “Probus” on the Pennsylvania assembly’s encroachments on the right
of trial by jury, and the first of five by “Lucius” denouncing Morris
for making a public announcement of his resignation, for which see
the preceding note. For a discussion of the authorship of the
“Lucius” letters, which many contemporaries believed were written by
Lee, although no convincing evidence for this attribution has been
found, see Morris, Papers (Ferguson), 7:501 – 7.