Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Arthur Lee

My Dear Brother,

Ten days ago I arrived at Williamsburg to attend our General Assembly on business. I left Philadelphia the 15th. instant, and shall return again to Congress the 1st. of August, after a months rest at home. From Philadelphia I wrote you a pretty exact detail of our Affairs from Gen. Howes retreat from the White Plains in the N. York Government up to the 15th instant. Since I came here, the last Post informs us that Gen Howe had arrived in Person at Brunswick in the Jersies with a strong reenforcement, and having thus collected his force from every quarter, his Army was rather superior in number to that of Gen. Washington - Say the former about 12,000 men & the latter about 10,000 - Gen Howe advanced with 7000 to Sommerset Court House going towards Delaware - Where about 6000 Militia were collected under the Generals Sullivan, Mifflin & Arnold - Gen. Washington had ordered 4000 Eastern Troops to join him from the East side of North river, where about 7 or 8000 were stationed to prevent by sudden Manúuvre the enemy from possessing themselves of the Highlands on Hudsons river and so opening the communication with Canada as they formerly proposed. The regular Army therefore joined to the Corps of Militia in Jersey it was expected in a few days would amount to 20,000 men, with which Howe would certainly be attacked, if he did not return quickly to his Strong Camp on the Brunswick hills, and it is not certain that he will long avoid the attack even there. The American Troops are in high spirits and eager for action. Things are all well in the North about Lake Champlain, where a sufficient force will be in time collected to prevent any apprehention from Gen. Carleton. The necessity of passing all our Troops thro inoculation in this Spring hath retarded the making up our Army both in Jersey & at Ticonderoga, but this Herculean work is now pretty well over and we shall presently have a very formidable Army in the former and 10,000 men at the latter. Great Britain may therefore bid adieu to N. America, which the most wanton folly has forever separated from her. Nothing can prevent this if our funds do not fail us, but you may judge how precarious things must be that depend upon continued emissions of paper money, if no extensive Loan can be procured in Europe, or if a War in Europe does not so employ the British attention as to enable us to send our produce to European Markets. Both these points demand the deepest consideration of those who mean to secure the seperation of this Country from Britain. Our Privaters & Armed Vessels continue to be very successful against the British Trade & Transports.

I have written by this opportunity to our brother William supposing him to be in France - I have told him that the times prevent me from making remittance, and therefore that my Sons must be sent to me by the first good opportunity if he cannot continue to advance for their frugal maintenance in France a small time longer - I wish Ludwell to o deep into the study of Natural and Civil law, and Eloquence; as well as to obtain the military improvement you put him on. My desire being that he may be able to turn either to the law or the Sword here, as his genius or his interest, and the service of his Country might point out. I want Thom to possess himself of the knowledge of business either in Mr. Sweighausers Counting House, or under his Uncle if he shd. go into business in France, and learn the French language, so that when he returned to his own Country he might be qualified to undertake any foreign business that may be trusted to his care. But all or any part of this plan depends I apprehend entirely on their Uncle William -

Should any unhappy accident have befallen him and thereby prevented him from coming to France, I must rely on you to direct them to be sent over to me by the first safest opportunity - This Mr. Schweighauser can contrive for me as you desire. This letter goes by a Mr. John King of Hampton Merchant, a Gentn. of reputation here, and who goes to France on commercial motives, he sails in a swift going Vessel that probably cannot be taken, & I believe he will accommodate my boys with a passage if they are now to return.

God bless you and give your success in your Mission - Much very much depends u<pon it>

Richard Henry Lee


Lee PapersUniversity of Virginia Archives

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762 - 1778, pp. 305 - 7. Addressed "Honorable Arthur Lee esquire Commissioner from the American Congress to the Court of Spain at Madrid."