<br /> Lee Letter: n766

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: George Washington

Dear Sir,

I should sooner have done myself the honor of writing to you, if it had
been in my power to have communicated any thing agreeable – But I could
only have informed you that we had not, have not, nor can we say when,
Members enough will be assembled to make a Congress. As yet we have but
four States convened. This lassitude in our public councils must
afflict our friends, and encourage the hopes of our Trans-Atlantic
foes, who look at us with an evil eye. Mr. Wolcott arrived here
yesterday with the Treaty made at Fort Stanwix with the Six Nations,
and he informs us that the other two Commissioners have proceeded to
Pittsburg to treat with the western Tribes. He thinks (from the
satisfaction that appeared among some Shawanese Chiefs who were at Fort
Stanwix) that the Commissioners will not find much difficulty in their
treaty with the western Indians. I have the honor to inclose you a copy
of the Northern treaty, and shall be happy to know your opinion of
it.1

I understand from Mr. Wolcott, that the Commissioners of the United States
met many difficulties thrown in their way by N. York, which they
overcame at last by firmness and perseverance. It is unfortunate when
individual views obstruct general measures, and more especially when a
State becomes opposed to the States; because it seems to confirm the
predictions of those who wish us not well, and who cherish hopes from a
discord that may arise from different interests. Colo. Monroe, of our
delegation, who is lately returned from a Tour to Montreal, Niagara,
and Lake Erie, informs us that he learnt in his journey, that the
western posts were to be detained from us; and that the reason assigned
was, because of the conduct of N. York and Virginia. The former for
pushing the law of confiscation beyond the terms of peace, and Virginia
for not repealing the laws that impede the recovery of British debts.
The Governor of N. York told Colo. Monroe, that it was a mistaken
charge upon them, for that they had not confiscated since the
provisional articles. It is to be lamented that any pretext should be
furnished for injuring us in the essential manner that the detention of
these posts will do. The Parliament, it seems, is prorogued without
touching the subject of their trade with us, altho a committee of the
privy Council upon the petition of the West India merchants and
planters, had reported an approbation of all the silly, malign
principles of Lord Sheffield respecting our trade with the

B. W. Indies. This book of Lord Sheffields has been ably answerd by several
writers in G. Britain. My respects, if you please, to your Lady – I hope
that she has recoverd her health.

I have the honor to be, dear Sir, your most obedient and very humble
servant,

Richard Henry Lee

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, Gratz Collection, Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

1 A copy of the Fort Stanwix treaty, in Lee’s hand, is in the Washington
Papers, DLC, together with a copy in a clerical hand which Arthur Lee
had enclosed in a November 19 letter from Carlisle, Pa. See also the
preceding entry, note 1. For Washington’s December 14 reply, see
Washington, Papers (Abbot), Confederation Series, 2:181 – 83.