<br /> Lee Letter: n845

Washington and Lee University

Sender: James Monroe
Recipient: Richard Henry Lee

Dear Sir

I have no excuse for having been so indifferent a correspondent except that
I had nothing to communicate to you & I knew that of this you were
apprisd by yr. brother & Colo. Lee.1
Lately however we have recd. dispatches from Mr. Adams of a very
interesting nature. He presented sometime abt. November last a memorial
to the ministry requiring a delivery of the posts & compensation
for the infraction of the treaty respecting the negroes, to which he
recd for answer “that it was unquestionably true that by the 7th
article the posts shod. have been evacuated, but that by the 4th and
5th it was also stipulated that there shod. be no legal impediment in
the way of the recovery of British debts–that these articles had been
violated by almost every state in the confederacy. Ld. Carmarthen
enumerates all the acts of the several states which militate against
the treaty, with great precision & finally states that it wod. be
folly for one party to carry its engagements into effect while the
other neglected theirs – that provided the U.S. wod. comply on their
part the King wod. on his.”2 This I think is
the amt. of dispatch from Mr. Adams from which the injunction of
secrecy is remov’d so that you may be under no restraint in yr.
communications on the subject.3 We shall
state it to the Executive for the information of the Legislature. We
have lately been much perplex’d by a proposition from Connecticut for
ceding her claim to territory westward 120 miles of the Pena. Line by
which she obtains a right by implication to 120 miles. We have been
informed that she & Pena. are on the point of variance with respect
to Wiomin & that this land is necessary to satisfy the Susquehannah
& Delawar Companies of Connecticut who create this mischief,
whereby peace will be restor’d to the union. We are also assurd that
unless we accept this cession Connecticut will open an office for the
whole degree claim’d by her to the Missisippi for sale. A proposition
has been made reserving to the U.S. whatever they have acquir’d under
the cession of Virga., & negativ’d, & one confirming the decree
of Trenton or rather requiring that Connecticut shod. cede her claim to
Pena. as therin decreed met with the same fate, the latter as connected
with the former which being negativ’d gave a more pointed implication
in favor of Connecticut. Their it now stands; to day it will be taken
up again & I suspect will be pass’d.4
When shall we have the pleasure of seeing you here? You have in a very
high degree the friendship & good wishes of our family. Miss
Kortright & Mrs. Monroe desire to be most respectfully remember’d
to you. I shall always be happy to hear from you &

am sincerely yr.
friend & servant,

Jas. Monroe

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, Lee Papers, American Philosophical Society.

1 That is, Arthur Lee, then serving in New York on the board of treasury, and
Henry Lee, a Virginia delegate.

2 This passage is not a direct quote but a summary of Lord Carmarthen’s
February 28 reply to John Adams’ memorial of November 30, 1785, for
which see David Ramsay to Adams, May 14, note 1.

3 The injunction of secrecy had been lifted May 17. Ibid.

4 Debate on Connecticut’s act of cession had begun May 18 and continued May
22, 24, 25, and 26 when it was accepted. See Thomas Rodney’s Notes of
Debates, May 18; JCC, 30:295 – 96, 299 – 304,
307 – 8, 310 – 11; and Charles Pettit to Jeremiah Wadsworth, May 27,
note 1.