<br /> Lee Letter: n748

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Arthur Lee
Recipient: James Warren

Dear Sir,

I receivd your favor of the 1st by last post. No day is fixd for entering
upon the business of Consuls, & it seems the opinion of some that
no Minister above them shoud be continued in Europe unless for very
extraordinary. We tried upon another occasion to obtain a resolution
that none but Citizens shoud be eligible to the Office of Consul, which
woud have excluded a great number of Candidates. But we lost the
question.1

The attempts to get us into Philadelphia, tho strenuous, have been hitherto
resisted, & I hope will continue to be so, or I am satisfyd we
shoud have the most ample reason to rue it.

I enclose you a continuation of some strictures on the Philadelphia
Address, which I observe were printed in one of your Papers. They are
necesary & compleat the proof of the impudence of the Addressers. I
shall be obligd to you [to] send these to the same Printer that he may
insert them also.2

Please to make my respects to Mrs. Warren, & remember me to your Son.

Farewell.

A.L.

ENCLOSURE

Continuation of the Strictures on a late Address to Congress from some of
the Citizens of Philadelphia &c.

Gentlemen, I had the honor of shewing you, in my former Address that what
some of your Citizens had the confidence to assert in their Address to
Congress, namely – that you had in an essential manner distinguish’d
yourselves by every exertion which principle coud inspire or fortitude
support – was not quite consonant to truth. That measuring your
exertions with your means they appeard the most feeble in the union.
That tho’ essentially distinguishd from the other States in the Union
by the vast profits, emoluments and advantages arising from the
residence of Congress – their treasury – Officers – & the foreign
Ministers among you; by freedom from an Enemy or Impress among you for
several years; prospering in agriculture, trade, & commerce – you
had been almost as deficient in the whole of your contributions as
those States which were essentially distinguishd from you – by the
devastation of their fields – the destruction of their Capitols – the
interruption of their trade, & commerce – & by all the
calamities, which internal war can bring upon a distressd People.

The object of this Address will be, to prove to you, that if you have been
justly chargeable with defective exertions in furnishing your quota to
the field, & to the continental treasury, your alertness in taking
money out of the same tresaury for state purposes, has distinguishd you
far beyond any State in the Union. This fact will appear most clearly
from the following view drawn from the journals of Congress.

Monies drawn out of the treasury of the U.S.
By In the

year

1775
1776 1778 1779 1780 Total
N. Hampshire 40,000 177,500 202,500 27,000 78,000 525,000
Massachusetts 443,333 …… 312,200 813,000 73,600 1,642,133
Rhode Island …… 120,000 550,000 316,000 38,000 1,024,000
Connecticut …… 12,500 257,266 174,000 58,000 501,766
New-York 50,000 166,200 101,000 34,300 111,000 462,500
New Jersey 5,000 100,000 297,500 7,500 2,000 402,000
Pensylvania 14,000 1,035,000 473,600 2,009,200 2,500 3,556,800
Delaware 3,100 4,000 …… …… …… 7,100
Maryland …… 98,738 261,470 816,000 114,000 1,290,208
Virginia …… 95,333 75,021 323,000 153,000 646,354
N. Carolina …… 12,400 623,278 159,808 169,000 954,746
S. Carolina …… …… 570,276 2,500 181,000 754,746
Georgia 5,100 72,000 113,839 6,000 449,289 666,128

From this it is plain, that for five years of the war, you were not very
free of your fortunes, but exceedingly liberal of your drafts on the
Continental Treasury, so that you receivd twice as much as
Massachusetts & six times as much as Virginia. Yet these States are
to redeem a fi[f]th more than you. If we take the middle of each year
for reducing the Sums taken in them respectively, we shall find the
whole to amount to – 1,152,848 hard dollars, which you have taken out
of the United Treasury; and you boast of having put into it 100,000.

The error then of the Addressers seems to be this – that they have claimd a
general pre-eminence of merit, during the whole war, from having
contributed a little more money than most of the States in the Union,
during the last year of the war. But surely you will allow it to be
just, that when such comparisons are drawn, they shoud flow from a view
of the sum total of the Contributions of each State in – Men, Money,
& Specifics, during the whole war, deducting the monies they drew
from the common fund.

When you are forming this estimate, I hope you will not forget, what I know
from having servd in that campaign, that at the close of the year 1776,
when the Enemy threatnd immediately your State and your City, the State
of Virginia alone furnishd two thirds of the Troops, which enabled our
illustrious General, to execute an enterprize against the Enemy’s posts
in the Jerseys, repelld the danger from you at that time & gave an
ascendency to our military reputation which it never lost. Had we then
depended on the boasted exertions of a City, containing forty thousand
Inhabitants, free of their fortunes & their lives, as the Address
says, the fact shews that – in the most pressing danger to themselves
& to the Union, they woud hardly have furnishd Regulars enough to
have attackd a Picket of the Enemy. Yet we see, that in the same year
your State drew from the public treasury – 1,035,000 dlls – when
paper-money was little if at all depritiated. I shall not repeat the
reasons that were then given, for your not making more adequate
exertions. The[y] did no honor to your patriotism. It was a misfortune
that revolution principles prevaild so little among you. But surely you
shoud have had more modesty, remembering those circumstances, than to
have boasted, that you were distinguishd for doing, what you were in
fact distinguishd for not doing. I perceive that you will attempt to
draw some source of defence, from the payments you have made since the
close of the year 1782, which I am informd exceed those of any other
State. But let it be rememberd, that the preeminence which the
residence of Congress gave you in the eyes of Europe, drew almost the
whole of the foreign trade to your City on the cessation of
hostilities; insomuch that it is matter of common notoriety that in a
few months, the duty of 2 per Ct on Imports, brot into your treasury
fifty thousand pounds. So that the whole of your contribution very
little exceeds the produce of a single tax.

The same cause drew to you many rich Emigrants, who have deposited large
sums of specie in that Bank, which the public money raisd in your City
for your sole emolument. The States ought to order an enquiry by what
authority so partial a use was made of the public money, while several
of them were laid waste by the Enemy for want of Arms, & Ammunition
to repel them – while the troops to the southward were destitute of
Cloathing – & recruiting their lines, was for that reason renderd
impracticable.

Having now fulfilld the purpose with which I addressd you, Gentlemen, I
shall take my leave with recommending to you that modesty without which
even merit loses its lustre & its beauty.

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, Warren-Adams Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society. In
the hand of Arthur Lee.

1 See JCC, 25:620, 637. For Warren’s interest in this question because his
son Winslow was seeking an appointment as consul in Portugal, see
Samuel Holten to Winslow Warren, July 15, note; and Lee to James
Warren, August 13, 1783, note 1.

2 Lee’s “strictures on the Philadelphia Address” had appeared in John
Carter’s Providence Gazette on September 6, for which see Lee to the
Public, July ? 1783. Lee apparently intended that Warren send to
Carter the enclosed “continuation,” but for whatever reason Warren
retained Lee’s copy among his papers and the essay never appeared in
the Gazette. Perhaps by the time he received it Warren felt that
continued baiting of Pennsylvania in the eastern press was unwise.