Washington and Lee University

Sender: James Lovell
Recipient: Richard Henry Lee

Dear Sir

The honour you did me at Chantilly the 12th came yesterday to my knowledge. Your just reflections served to recall a chagrin which I had sensibly felt at the time of debating the Commissions refered to.1 Those, like the Confederation, are martyred to the change in Delegation which takes place between the periods of second and third distant discussions upon the same point. The obstinate Vanity of N[or]th C[arolina] and the persevering Design of N.Y. have been reinforced by the ill timed Bodings & Frosty Caution of C[onnecticu]t.

I will not say much upon the Events in the northern department. Your well founded prophesies six weeks ago will have tended to blount the edge of this cutting misfortune.

As Mr. Adams & your worthy Brother will have the opportunity of getting minute facts from papers at the board of war, I presume their letters at this time will be lengthy.

I find the N England States are to be pointed out as the sole cause of the retreat from Ty.

I shall put my Friends in Boston upon a thorough scrutiny for their own honour. Though Genl. Stevens makes a number of very alleviating remarks to your Brother as to the Consequences of this Loss, yet he is full as to the Cause of it against my Country.

"That Post was esteemed of interesting consequence to the States of N. England. It was, therefore, given in charge to their troops. 8,000 were thought adequate to the purpose, they furnished about 3,000. For want of the Quota the place is lost, and, if the war is protracted by it, they stand answerable for the consequences."

It is a curious way of estimating the strength of a Garison to omit counting the Officers for any thing; and it is also droll to think that militia would go away when a fort was surrounded on every side, probably because their time expired during the Seige. But such Curosities as these are visable in the Letters & returns.

I shall hope to have the pleasure of seing you here sooner than you intended when you favoured me, as before acknowledged.

Affectionate & respectful Compliments to your Lady from, Your obliged humb. Servt.
James Lovell

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, University of Virginia Library.

1 In his July 12 letter to Samuel Adams, Lee had alluded to Lovell’s role in the debate over the commission and instructions for American agents abroad among whom were Richard Henry’s brothers Arthur and William. See Samuel Adams to Richard Henry Lee, this date, note 1.