<br /> Lee Letter: n737

Washington and Lee University

Sender: James McHenry
Recipient: Thomas Sim Lee

My dear Sir

The account of the removal of Congress to this place will have preceeded
this letter.1 At first you would be
surprised, but you would soon discover its propriety. The only thing at
which you would not be surprised, would be the insufficiency of the
Pennsylvania government to guard the honor and dignity of the United
States, or preserve the peace of their own citizens. Under these
circumstances it was unlucky for Annapolis that a detachment of our
line in passing through Philadelphia exhibited the same mutinous
disposition as the Pennsylvania troops.2 But
for this, perhaps, a favorite scheme might have been carried into
effect. But a removal to Annapolis would not have secured Congress from
the soldiery, and this alone was enough to prevent it. Taking up the
event however in a general view, I hope it will be favorable to our
affairs; shew to all men the weakness of our confederation, and the
absurdity of keeping men in a responsible situation without doing all
in their power to furnish them with means to execute their trusts.

I find that we shall have a tryal of heads to restore us to Philadelphia.
The influence of the City will be exerted. Let me pray you to come
forward on this occasion. You will be able to render essential service.
If we can be kept from Philadelphia, the want of the necessary
buildings and personal conveniencies will soon drive us from this
place. You know that Maryland is without a vote.

The definitive treaty has not arrived, the cession of Virginia is still
unsettled, and we are yet without a peace arrangement.

Give my most cordial respects to Mrs. Lee and beleive me always and
affectionately yours,

James McHenry


Receiver’s copy, Miscellaneous Manuscripts, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis.

1 Undoubtedly a reference to Pres. Elias Boudinot’s July 24 proclamation.

2 McHenry was referring to a detachment of Maryland’s 3rd Regiment under Maj.
Thomas Lansdale which had left camp June 5 and had arrived in
Philadelphia June 12 on their march to Baltimore. See Washington,
Writings (Fitzpatrick), 26:470; and North Carolina Delegates to
Alexander Martin, August 1, 1783.