George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Lee, 13 February 1794

From Henry Lee

13th feby 94 Richmond [Va.].


This evenings post from Norfolk has brought information of the arival of a french fleet in Hampton Road with much european intelliga[n]ce.

My letr from Col. Newton I think proper to enclose (having not time to prepare a copy) that you may be possesd of the most accurate information on the subject, within.1 I have the honor to be with unceasing affection & perfect respect your ob: st

Henry Lee

ALS, DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters.

1The enclosed letter to Lee from Thomas Newton, Jr., which he wrote at Norfolk, Va., on 11 Feb. 1794, reads: “Yesterday arived in the bay several ships of War from France, some line of battle. They have brought an Ambasdour, and Consuls, to succeed those that are here, reports from them are, that Ostend is so closely beseiged & scarce of provissions that it must soon surrender, I have heard the garrisson had twice offer’d to capitulate but was refused, the conditions at discretion. They took a Brittish frigate from the East Indies loaded with the spoils of Pondicherry & the Colors, which they had taken & several other vessels on their passage, the officer landed here a few days ago, was Consul for Philadelphia; it is said that they have new consuls, for the differant States. that America stood well with France & that they wou’d have a fleet out in March of 60 sail of the Line, having 150 thousand marines ready to embark, many other matters are reported, but not worth relating & time must discover whether these are right, but in my opini⟨on⟩ the most of them are well founded and I have hopes will prove true.” In a postscript, Newton added: “Much treasure is said to be brought in this fleet” (DNA: RG 59, Miscellaneous Letters).

On the arrival of Jean-Antoine-Joseph Fauchet, who replaced Edmond Genet as the French minister plenipotentiary to the United States, and other French diplomats, see James McHenry to GW, 18 Feb., and n.2; and Edmund Randolph to GW, 21 Feb., and n.1. The district of Pondicherry was once part of French India.

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