My dear General

I have your letter of the 31st Octr.1 Besides the pleasure we all feel in knowing the health of Mount Vernon I am
delighted and edified by your sentiments. This moment Genl. Knox & Mr. King left me having perused the part of your letr. which respects
the Insurgents. They expressed the highest satisfaction in finding that your retirement had not abated your affectionate zeal for the
prosperity of every part of the empire.

Every day brings new information of the designs & preparations of the malcontents – they are training their people, have officered some
considerable bodys & are forming connexions with their neighboring states and the Vermontese. A convention has assembled to devise ways
& means of supporting their military arrangements, & of doing such other things as may be necessary for the prosecution of their
intentions. We have authentic information that they contemplate a re-union with G. Britain, & it is not improbable but that the
convention now sitting will formally make propositions of this nature to Lord Dorchester (Sir Guy Carleton) who is arrived at Quebec with
plenipotentiary powers as Governor General of British America. They also declare their willingness to establish an imperial government in
the U. States and I beleive could they be indulged with their favorite wish abolition of debts they would chearfully enter into the plan of a
fœderal government assimilating the British government.2 In some matters these people certainly think right, altho they act wrong. A continuance of our
present feeble political form is pregnant with daily evils & must drive us at last to a change – then it would be wise that this necessary
alteration should be effected in peace & governed by reason, not left to passion & accident. If the insurgent would submit to
government, & by constitutional exertions induce their state to commence this change, they woud benefit themselves, their country &
the Union. Good management might perhaps produce this wholesome conduct, but it is too probable that desperate & entriguing men may
pursue private objects only.

I enclose you a piece signed Belisaurius. He is said to be Baron Steuben – this excites universal wonder.3

I hope to see you & your lady next month. Our united love &
respects to Mount Vernon. Adieu.

With most affectionate regard your h

H. Lee Junr

Receiver’s copy, Washington Papers, Library of Congress.

1 See Washington, Writings (Fitzpatrick), 29:33 – 35.

2 For prevailing fears that the newly arrived Sir Guy Carleton had sent
agents among the Massachusetts’ insurgents to sow disaffection,
foment Indian war, and forestall American recovery of the northwest
posts, see Szatmary, Shays’ Rebellion, pp. 74 – 76, 108 – 9; and Robert
A. Feer, Shays’s Rebellion (New York: Garland Pub. Co., 1988), pp.
289 – 306.

3 See Rufus King to Elbridge Gerry, November 5, 1786, note 4.