<br /> Lee Letter: n744

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Arthur Lee
Recipient: James Warren

My dear Sir,

Not having expected Mr. Higgenson’s going so soon, I have but a moment to
write you. His conduct in Congress has been that of an able &
upright friend to his Country; & I therefore much regret his
leaving us.1 He will communicate to you all
News we have here. My private Letters give me reason to expect that the
definitive treaty will soon arrive.

I have thought it my duty to move Congress for information from the Superintendant of Finance, what Cloathing has been purchasd. with the public
money & why the Soldiers have not receivd what was orderd by
Congress.2 The Superintendant has answerd,
that he does not know what has been purchasd, & that he thought it
was more proper to Sell the Cloathing than distribute it to the
Soldiery. In laying out the public money Commissions accrue to his
freinds, in selling the things so purchasd, new Commissions arise to
the Sellers. In this case, it is his Clerk Mr. Swanwick who is to have
this emolument. In the mean time the Soldiers have been 15 months
without their cloathing tho two millions of dollars have been taken out
of the public Coffers for that purpose. Thus while fallacious reports
on this man’s conduct are publishd in all the Papers, & his tools
are filling the Papers with praises calculated to deceive the public;
the public money is lavishd away, the Soldiery, defrauded & the
public plundered. I wish this matter were stated in Your Papers. Those
of Philadelphia are altogether in his pay.

I hope the location of my Grant is made & well made; & shall be
obligd to you for information on the
subject.3

I beg my best respects to Mrs. Warren & the rest of your Family, &
when you see that of Mr. Bodwoin [Bowdoin], that you will have the
goodness to remember me to them.

Farewell,

A. Lee4

P.S. I enclose you the motions I made relative to the Soldiers Cloathing,
with the short speech which introduced them together with an Account of
the Monies said to have been laid out in purchasing Cloathing, but not
accountd for. All this you will put into the Papers if you see fit.

ENCLOSURE

Mr. A. Lee having in his place stated to Congress That he had seen a part
of the Massachusetts line march thro’ Princeton, & observing that
the Soldiers were ill-cloathd, & knowing that much larger Sums of
public money had been chargd as laid out for cloathing than woud have
cloathed the whole Army compleatly, & that by a Resolve of Congress
the Army shoud have receivd Cloathing once a year; he enquird of the
Commanding Officer of those Troops, how it happend that the Soldiers
were so ill cloathd; & having been informd by him that the Soldiers
had not receivd their Cloathing the last twelve months, but that their
Uniforms were turnd & new facd, which information was farther
confirmd by a General Officer with this addition that the Soldiers were
obligd to sell their Certificates at Philadelphia for part even of what
they wore: Mr. A. Lee thought it his duty to his Country & to the
Soldiery to move the following Resolution:5

Sums of Money laid out for Soldiers Cloathing since Mr. Morris came into
Office to the 1st of March 1782.

Purchasd by Mr. Morris of Mr. Holker 181,789 dlls.

Brought over by Col. Laurence to the amount of 413,821

Laid out in Holland 480,000

Laid out in France 514,000

Advancd to the Cloathier general 77,639

Total 1,597,249

Monies stated to have been advancd to the Cloathier genl. since Jany. 1782.
No account having been renderd of the application by that Officer
296,755

74,648

Total to July 1st 1783. 1,968,642

N.B. The Cloathing of the Southern Army forms a seperate Account exceeding
200,000

2,168,642 For all which no Account has been renderd by Robert Morris or the
Cloathier General.

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, Warren-Adams Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.

1 Stephen Higginson last voted in Congress on September 20. See JCC, 25:596.

2 For Lee’s two motions of September 5, see JCC, 25:536 – 37, and his enclosure
to this letter. He had made similar demands of Robert Morris on
August 18 and 19 and Morris made a partial response to all three
congressional resolves on September 13. Since the register of the
treasury Joseph Nourse was on leave in Virginia at this time, Morris
could not submit the estimates required until October 21. See JCC,
24:512, 514 – 15, 25:574 – 77, 715 – 16; and PCC, item 137, 3:61 – 82.

3 See Lee to Warren, August 13, 1783, note 3.

4 Lee also wrote a letter to John Lloyd of Charleston, S.C., on September 16
which has not survived. Lloyd’s October 14 response to it, which is
in the Lee Family Papers, MH-H, indicates that Lee had discussed
Congress’ removal from Philadelphia, the corruption of Continental
officials, and Silas Deane, whose long-standing dispute with Lee had
developed when Lloyd and Lee had been allies in France.

5 See note 2.