<br /> Lee Letter: n742

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Arthur Lee
Recipient: James Monroe

Dear Sir,

Your favor of the 8th is before me, & I am much concernd to hear of
your ill health. But the mountain Air will I hope speedily relieve you.
There is no account of the definitive treaty, nor do I indeed see any
great necessity for it, as the preliminaries serve all the purposes of
a treaty & if G.B. chuses to break with us, the latter woud be no
more an obstacle than the former. But there is no danger She will
attempt any rupture with us shortly, as the annl. interest of her debt
amounts to £9,008,931. This year She has been obligd to add 26.
Milln. to her debt in order to borrow 12. Miln. Every Account from N.
York confirms me in my opinion, that it will be evacuated in three
months. The numbers of Refugees gone, & to go, amounts to 22
thousd. Genl Washington arrivd here this day, in exceeding good health.
He made an observation which perfectly coincides with my sentiments;
& which I woud to God, the People of America had considerd in time.
It is, that in persecuting the Tories we were playing Sr. Guy
Carelton’s game, since he must wish to increase the Colony of Nova
Scotia & diminish the People of the US. I must add, that it is
obvious nothing can be more pleasing to the King of England than our
taking such measures as will add to the number of his subjects &
diminish ours. It is so far repairing the loss His Crown sustains from
our success. Besides, it places those Loyalists, whom he must love, in
the light of a persecuted People, & therefore ensures to them more
liberal contributions from the Parliment & People of England. At
the same time it wounds our national character, by holding us up as a
vindictive, persecuting People, & which we flatter ourselves that
we are avenging ourselves on the Refugees, we are in fact serving them.
If you think the publication of these sentiments will serve our
Country, you will, I hope graft them upon others & commit them to
the press.

It is said here, that Mr. Hardy has given his opinion, or written it to
some Correspondent here – that we ought to return to Philadelphia. I own
this surprises me, as I can conceive no step more unworthy of or more
injurious to Congress.

I am of opinion with you that tobo. will rise, therefore I wish you to use
your discretion in the sale of it. I am sorry to have an instance in a
person of Genl. Nelson’s character & fortune, how little trust one
can repose in that compliance with engagements in money or tobo. I
enclose a Letter on the subject which I beg you to contrive to
him.1

With every deference to the wisdom of those who orderd it, I must be
permitted to think that the issuing the proclamation you mention was a
very injudicious measure. I am sure it will at least have very
injurious effects on our trade.2 Remember me
if you please to Messrs. Lomax, Randolph & Hardy. Mr. Jones is not
yet arrivd here, though we have expected him some days.

Adieu,

A. Lee.

P.S. I am much obligd to you & the Treasurer for the Bill you enclosd.

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, Monroe Papers, Library of Congress.

1 Not found.

2 Lee is undoubtedly referring to Gov. Benjamin Harrison’s July 2
proclamation prohibiting the return to Virginia of British citizens
or loyalists who fled or were expelled during the war “until the
determination of the Legislature on this subject can be known.” See
Cal. of Va. State Papers, 3:504 – 5.