Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: William Lee

Dear Brother,

I am exceedingly pressed with business and therefore must be short, and for this time mix politics with business of a private nature. The Virga. Delegates arrived here yesterday, where they find all those from the Southward of this, with Deputies from N. Hampshire - In an hour all from the Colonies north of this will be here and then the Congress will be opened. There never appeared more perfect unanimity among any sett of Men than among the Delegates, and indeed all the old Provinces, not one excepted are directed by the same firmness of union, and determination to resist by all ways and to every extremity. The Province of N. York is at last alarmed, the Tory Ministerial faction are driven from their influence and virtuous patriotism taken place. The shameful defeat of General Gage’s Troops near Boston (after a wanton and cruel Attack on unarmed people, after they had brutally killed old Men, Women, & children) has revitted such union, roused such an universal Military Spirit throut all the Colonies, and excited such universal resentment against this Savage Ministry and their detestable Agents, that now no doubt remains of their destruction with the establishment of American Rights. 800 of the Regulars commanded by a Colo. Smith was defeated by 600 provincials hastily gathered together - Altho’ as agreed the Colo. personally behaved with the true spirit of a good Soldier. These 800 were afterwards supported by 1200 under command of Ld Piercy but the whole were compelled (upon reenforcement coming up to the Provincials) to retreat to Boston having had several men killed, wounded, and taken prisoners. The Provincials are since increased to 20.000 and lay now encamped before Boston. All communication is cut off between Town & Country. The Troops, by way of insult marched first out of Town to the tune of Yankee doodle, and sometime after fired unprovoked upon some people who were exercising, as they told the Regulars for amusement without having any amunition with them. This is the most authentic account we have here of this business. The Connecticut people with the N. Yorkers are preparing to prevent any bad designs of the Troops coming to the latter place. I expect Capt Brown will soon be loaded, as he had Tobo. enough ready - You will please insure for Colo. George Mason one hundred hogsheads in the Adventure to recover 10. sterling in case of loss. 22 hhds of Colo. P. L. Lee’s estate & 5 of mine at what you judge proper. The proceeds of these 22 hhds are to be applied to the use of our brother, Doctor Lee. 15 of them are Top stem’d heavy hhds. So that you may advance the Doctor at least 200 Guineas on the whole. Mr. Willing’s Tobaccos’ were all engaged another way before your application. Loudoun & Mr. Brown will take care of yr Virga. business. The Doctor’s family here send their love.

farewell.
R. H. Lee

Notes:

Lee PapersVirginia Historical Society

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762 - 1778, pp. 134 - 35.