<br /> Lee Letter: n755

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Arthur Lee
Recipient: Theodorick Bland

Dear Bland,

Are you & our dear Mrs. Bland frozen, torpid, or thaw’d during this
unaccountably rigorous season. We have been blocked up here for near
three months, with very little intelligence from your parts. The same
reasons have renderd Congress very thin & frequently six states
only represented so that very little business has been done. The
acceptance of the cession from Virginia was this day rejected by two
States against six, but I suppose it will be accepted when the
representation is fuller.1 Mr. Jefferson has
nominated Dr. Maclurg as Secretary for foreign Affairs; from which you
will judge what is the turn of the Delegation, which I presume will
vote for his nomination, & the old trick be played over again with
respect to a friend of Yours. Mr. Dana & Mr. Clymer are the others
in nomination. But I beleive there will be no
election.2

The Minister of France was here for a few days, & then returnd to
Philadelphia; He means to return to France as soon as the season will
permit. His Successor is not yet announcd. Marbois is admitted as
Consul-general, & 8 Consuls & Vice Consuls are appointed to
reside in the principal trading Cities of the U.S. Col. Harmar has been
detaind at N. York by the season & an accident of the Packet
running aground when She coud go out. We have not yet heard of his
having saild & there is little probability of the Ratification
reaching Paris in time for the stipulated. Whether the British will
take any advantage of this accident is a doubt not a little
disagreable.

I hope you have not sufferd by the Thaw that we learn has occasiond so much
mischief in James & other Rivers. If we can get the principal
business finishd Congress will adjourn in May, leaving a Committee of
the States. Whether I shall then set my face north or south I know not.
If the latter perhaps I shall pay my respects to you & my homage to
Mrs. Bland. The Ladies here are very gracious to us, they are sociable
& pleasing, some of them too pleasing rather to let our hearts rest
short of desires which they are not disposd to gratify. My love to Mrs
Bland

Adieu

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, Henry E. Huntington Library, HM 22748.

1 See Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, February 20, note 15.

2 Although nominations for an under secretary for the department of foreign
affairs were being considered this day, the journals are silent on
further nominations for secretary for foreign affairs, a post for
which nominations to replace Robert R. Livingston had been made the
preceding June. See John Montgomery to Edward Hand, February 12,
1784, note 2; and James Madison’s Notes, June 10, 1783, note 2. In
his “committee book,” however, Charles Thomson recorded that on
February 25 Thomas Jefferson nominated fellow Virginian, Dr. James
McClurg, and Elbridge Gerry had nominated Francis Dana for that
office. On the 26th, according to the secretary, John Montgomery also
renominated George Clymer, whose name he had advanced and withdrawn
the preceding June, and the following day David Howell apparently
nominated Jonathan Arnold (the name is nearly illegible). See PCC,
item 186, fol. 1. The dates under which Thomson entered these
nominations conflict with Lee’s testimony that they had taken place
by or on February 24, although this letter is clearly dated. Lee’s
reference to “the old trick” being played again, though obscure,
suggests that he felt that his own nomination by Bland the preceding
June had been compromised. Congress finally appointed John Jay
secretary for foreign affairs on May 7, 1784. See JCC, 26:354 – 55. For
consideration of James McClurg for this post, see also these
Letters, 19:436n.3, 20:326n.9.