Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Samuel Adams
Chantilly in Virginia July 27th. 1777
I am extremely obliged to my worthy friend for his last favor of the 15th nor did the former one need any apology, it being by much the most satisfactory account of the enemies movements in Jersey that I have seen. I wish with all my heart we had given them a stroke before they got away. But a philosophic Poet tells us that "Whatever is, is right." Let us comfort ourselves therefore with the hope that more complete vengeance is yet in store for these Hostes humani generis. The success of Burgoyne thus far, I own I did expect, if he made the attempt - But I am also inclined to think that if our Cards are well plaid, it may prove his ruin. There is nothing so delusive as prosperity, and I take Burgoynes mind to be one of those most likely to be injured by its impressions; he may therefore be hurried into some fatal mistake, provided we are ready to profit from his errors. Our friend Gen. Gates is devoted to the virtuous cause of America, and therefore above being too much moved by ill treatment, and so affected thereby as to withdraw his aid from the cause of Mankind -
Suppose He, & Gen. Arnold were sent Eastward to collect quickly, for a short service, an army equal to the purpose of catching Burgoyne at a distance from the water? Might not his return be for ever prevented, and a glorious issue given to this Campaign? I must confess that I should not hesitate about this proceedure, because, tho Burgoyne came not forward, the force so collected would be ready to assist in crushing Howe, should Heaven deliver him once more on the White Plains to the possibility of destruction. It will give me much pleasure to find on my return to Congress, that the Confederation has been duly attended to. That once concluded, and firmly ratified, will throw despair into our enemies politics, and their Tory Abbettor[s.] Our funds too demand most close & wise attention. A fine Battalion raised by this State, for its own use, was last Wednesday inoculated at Alexandria in its way to Head Quarters, and our Assembly have directed a draft, if the six last Regiments are not filled before the 25 of next month -
I hope to be with you on or before the 11th of August till when I remain as usual
your affectionate friend.
Richard Henry Lee
Samuel Adams PapersLenox Library
Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762 - 1778, pp. 313 - 14. Addressed to Adams, "Member of Congress at Philadelphia."