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Two days ago I arrived here from Virginia, which the late short adjournment just allowed me time to visit and return from. I brought two letters from thence for you, which come with this. Having some business with Colonel Mason, I travelled that road, and having sent to your lady to know if she had any commands this way, had the pleasure to learn that all were well at Mount Vernon. As I suppose it will be agreeable to you to know what is passing in Virginia, I have inclosed you the proceedings of our last Convention, with two of Purdie's Gazettes.
I am greatly obliged to you for your favor of August the 29th, and you may be assured I shall pay great attention to it. When I mentioned securing the entrance of the harbour of Boston, it was more in the way of wishing it could be done, than as conceiving it very practicable. However, the reasons you assign are most conclusive against the at tempt. I assure you, that so far as I can judge from the conversation of men, instead of there being any who think you have not done enough, the wonder seems to be, that you have done so much. I believe there is not a man of common sense, and who is void of prejudice, in the world, but greatly approves the discipline you have introduced into the camp ; since reason and experience join in proving, that without discipline armies are fit only for the contempt and slaughter of their enemies. Your labors are no doubt great, both of mind and body, but if the praise of the present and future times can be any compensation, you will have a plentiful portion of that. Of one thing you may certainly rest assured, that the Congress will do every thing iii their powder to make your most weighty business easy to you. I think you could not possibly have appointed a better man to his present office than Mr. Mifflin. He is a singular man, and you certainly will meet with the applause and support of all good men, by promoting and countenancing real merit and public virtue, in opposition to all private interests and partial affections. You will see, in the proceeding's of our Convention, that they have agreed to raise the pay of our rifle officers and men to the Virginia standard. It may, perhaps, encourage them to be told this.
We have no late accounts from England ; but from what we have had that can be relied on, it seems almost certain, that our enemies there must shortly meet with a total overthrow. The entire failure of all their schemes, and the rising spirit of the people, strongly expressed by the remonstrance of the Livery of London to the King, clearly denote this. The ministry had their sole reliance on the impossibility of the Americans finding money to sup port an army, on the great aid their cause would receive from Canada, and consequent triumph of their forces over the liberties and rights of America. The reverse of all this has happened ; and very soon, now, our commercial resistance will begin sorely to distress the people at large.
The ministerial recruiting business in England has entirely failed them ; the ship-builders in the royal yards have mutinied ; and now they are driven, as to their last resort, to seek for soldiers on the High lands of Scotland. But it seems the greatest willingness of the people there cannot supply more than one or two thousand men, a number rather calculated to increase their disgrace, than to give success to their cause.
I beg your pardon for engaging your attention so long, and assure you that I am, with unfeigned esteem, dear Sir,
Your affectionate friend and countryman,
- Richard Henry Lee
- Correspondence of the American Revolution; Being Letters of Eminent Men to George Washington, from the Time of His Taking Command of the Army to the End of His Presidency, Volume I., Jared Sparks, 1853