<br /> Lee Letter: n797

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Certain States


I have the honor to enclose to your Excellency an Act of Congress that has
been produced by a very pressing state of the public
affairs.1 Your Excellency will observe that
exclusive of other important business, Congress point to two objects
particularly, the requisition for the present year, and an Ordinance
for disposing of lands in the western Territory. The honor and justice
of the United States is much concerned in the former, and upon the
wise, speedy, and effectual execution of the latter, essentially
depends the future case; happiness and prosperity of the people. It is
indeed true that thinner houses are compitent to the first digestion
and preparation of business like this, but such is the nature of the
fœderal constitution that a full Congress is necessary to the final
completion of Objects great as those which are now under consideration.
I am therefore, by desire of Congress, to request that your Excellency
will be pleased to exert your fullest influence with the Delegates of
your State to repair immediately to Congress.

I have the honor to be with great respect and esteem, Sir, Your Excellencys
Most Obedient Servant,

Richard Henry Lee


Letter book, Papers of Continental Congress, item 16, U.S. National
Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. Addressed: “His
Excellency Governor Livingston [i.e., of New Jersey]. N.B. A Similar
letter was written to the Governors of Connecticut, Delaware and

1 The enclosed April 29 “Act” directed President Lee to write to the states
unrepresented in Congress because the requisition for 1785 and the
land ordinance then under consideration could not be completed
“without a fuller representation.” See JCC, 28:318 – 19.