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Frankfort on the Main, 8 May 1778. printed: William Lee, Letters The Letters of Richard Henry Lee , ed. James C. Ballagh, New York, 1911–1914; 2 vols. , 2:429–430. Lee reported that, because of Frederick’s refusal to recognize American independence and conclude a commercial treaty, he was about to depart for Vienna, where prospects seemed better, particularly if France exerted pressure on...
I wish to have a conference with you on a Subject that very materially concerns our Country which at present is a profound Secret to our Enemies or their Agents and must remain so ’till compleated, or the success will be interrupted; any hour therefore tomorrow (at 12 oClock or afterwards) when you are alone, that you may please to appoint, I will do myself the honour of waiting on you, and in...
Conformable to the resolution of Congress, of which a Copy is inclosed, I have drawn on you the 4th instant for Twenty four Thousand Livres at One Months date payable to Mr. Grand, which you will please to pay due honor to, by acceptance and payment when at maturity, and place the same to the Account of Congress. ’Tis generally beleived that a Congress will be held in the course of the Winter,...
I had the Honour of writing to you the 9th instant and then mention’d the Congress that it is generally beleived will take place this Winter between Ministers from the Courts of Versailles and Petersburg to accommodate the difference between the Emperor and King of Prussia; and that I was inform’d G. Britain had prevail’d on the Court of Petersburg to endeavour at the same time to mediate a...
In consequence of directions to me from the State of Virginia, to endeavour to obtain from the French Ministry a quantity of Canon, arms and ammunition, for the use of that State, I applyed accordingly to Count de Vergennes, when his Excellency replyed, that was a business in the department of the Secretary at War, and that he tho’t it best to get you to apply to Prince Mont Barry for them:...
I understand the our Enemies have now in contemplation, the offering of some terms to America, which go no farther than a Truce; probably, somewhat similar to the propositions made last year by Spain to Great Britain. Tho’ I am not inform’d of the terms of Peace with which you are charged, nor whether your powers are discretionary, I trust you will not think it an intrusion in me to offer my...
I have had the Honor of Receiving yours of the 21st. instant. The Name of the person you wish to know is, the Duke of Brunswick, Brother to Prince Ferdinand, Field Marischall and Commander in cheif of the Dutch Land Forces. He is not liked by his Family as they conceive, he is too much attach’d to the House of Austria. The Quintuple Alliance that you mention, I conceive is only the conjecture...
I thank you for your favor of the 2d. instant. The Commission you have is certainly very highly important and Honorable, and I doubt not of your executing it properly; taking care that the shafts of envy and malice, which have already began to show themselves, shall not divert your attention from the great object you have in view, which I have no reason to think at present will be speedily...
Walsingham with 6 Ships of the line, the troops and the W. India fleet pass’d Plimo. the 8th. and Graves with 7 Ships of the line left St. Helens the 10th. to follow him, and as the winds have been since, Graves having only his 7 Ships and Walsingham a large fleet there is no doubt of their having join’d, but I do not learn with certainty the real destination, of Walsingham and his troops. By...
I thank you for the intelligence contain’d in your favor of the 13th. and when there are any other arrivals from America you will greatly oblige me by communicating any intelligence they may bring. I confess I am uneasy to hear from Chas. Town, for there is no doubt of Clinton having design’d his principle Force against that Town; as I cannot give any credit to the surmises of some people,...
I have had the pleasure of receiving your favor of the 29th. Ultimo, since which the Enemy have furnish’d us with such intelligence relative to affairs at Chas. Town and New York as they choose to publish, but I understand in General, that they are very greatly alarm’d for the very defenceless State in which N. York has been left and the extreme doubtfulness of Clintons success in his attempt...
I am indebted to you for your favor of the 6th. The American vessels lately arriv’d in Holland, do not, that I hear of, bring any material Public news except the last which came from Boston the begining of May and informs us of the Marquis de la Fayettes arrival there and that they expected there also Monsieur de Rochambrauds army, which may be a means of giving the Enemy at N. York sufficient...
I have been prevented by indisposition, otherwise shou’d have had the honor of writing to you sooner on a subject which appears to affect the honor of America, of Congress, and of its Agents in Europe. The copy of Genl. Clintons letter that was intercepted which you sent here to Mr. Jenings having afterwards appear’d in most of the public papers, there was a formal contradiction of its...
Mr. Jenings having gone out of Town, has left in my care a packet for you that came to him last Monday by the Post; by the marks on it, I fancy it has come from Antwerp. You will please to direct, whether it shall be forwarded to you in Holland or kept here ’till your return. We have not any certain advices of Monsr. Ternay, but it appears that orders are already sent out to prosecute the War...
I have just now received yours of 20. Please to Send the Packet along here to me, chez Mr. Henry Schorn Amsterdam by the first Post. There are opportunities enough here by which I shall put Ama. on her guard against the plan, you mention. The Plan of dividing, which they have been constantly pursuing these 15 years, has Succeeded most admirably. It has succeeded So far as to divide all mankind...
As you desire in yours of the 23. I now send you the Packet and least the English mail should be detain’d by the wind from you as it has been here I send you the contents of a letter from Mr. Stephens Secratary of the Admiralty to LLoyds Coffee House for the information of the Merchants—which is dated the 22 instant. Mr. Stephens says he has received a letter dated Augt. 9. from the Capt. of...
I have received your favor of the 2d. and thank you for the American Intelligence; indeed in all quarters the prospect seems favorable to our cause. The dissolution of Parliament being decided on immediately after the intelligence of the capture of their E. and W. India Fleet, (which you find are all safe in Cadiz harbor), of Kniphausens defeat in the Jersies, of Ternay’s safe arrival at Rhode...
I was very happy to find by your favor of the 21st. Ultimo that Mr. S. Adams still continues in the Public service and I am the more pleased at this choosing to serve in Congress rather than in any service in his particular State, for I think there is not any man that can doubt of America having very greatly suffer’d, if the continuance of the War is a sufferance by some of the States having...
A severe attack of a dangerous dysentery, a sick Family ever since Mr. Searle left us, and above all, having nothing material to communicate, have prevented me from writing to you for some time past and indeed my principal object now, is to enquire after the health of yourself and your Sons, as it will give me sensible pleasure to hear that you have escaped the contagion of the late very...
I am honor’d with your favor of the 19th. and am happy to hear that you and your Sons have escaped the general contagion of the Season. I flatter myself with the Idea that Arnolds Apostacy will not be attended with any inconvenience to America, but I cannot help regretting that a Man who has render’d essential service to his Country and laid a solid foundation for permanent and substantial...
I have the honor of your favor of the 6th. instant and perfectly agree with you that Congress must assume a more decided authority to prevent a repetition of such infamy as Arnold s . In our situation, I look upon a Congress without full authority and respect to its determinations, as a body without a Soul—it is the knot which tyes the union between the States; which if once dissolv’d, may be...
Your favor of the 20th came to hand last Post. I have been confidently assured that the British Ministers, at least the greater part of them, are greatly anxious for a Peace, as they find the difficulties of carrying on the War, almost insurmountable, but the obstinacy of the King prevails and will do so, until some heavy blow frightens him and enables the Ministers to bring forward...
I had the Honor of receiving your favor of the 1st. instant by Mr. Searle, who arriv’d here two daies ago and intends to pursue his Journey tomorrow. You will receive by this post from our friend here a full account of the Amn. News such as we have it here by the two vessels arriv’d at L’Orient from Phila., and at Bourdx. from Maryland, tho’ you must have more authentic intelligence in your...
I have received your favor of the 20th. instant which disappointed me a good deal, for I had received much pleasure from being told by Mr. Searle that you were fully vested with the same powers that Mr. Laurens had, which occasion’d my writing what I did in my last. I must confess that I can’t be perfectly easy, however favorable things may appear, while the War continues and the Independence...
I had the Honor of writing to you the 28th. but omitted answering your Quere about the Southern States determining to embody Ne­ groes as an Army. I never heard of such an Idea but in the letter forged, as from Genl. Clinton, nor do I immagine such a one will ever be entertain’d seriously in those States, for exclusive of many reasons against it that appear unanswerable, those who know the...
The Bearer of this, Mr. Brailsford a native of South Carolina, is now on his way to America with the laudable design of serving his Country in the Feild, and being desirous of the Honor of your acquaintance I have taken the Liberty of introducing him to your Civilities, as I am sure you will take pleasure in incouraging such praiseworthy motives as carry Mr. Brailsford to America. Since my...
I am advised from very good authority that the Emperor is desirous of entering into a Treaty of Commerce with the United States of Am a. , on terms of equality & mutual advantage, therefore shall be much obliged to you for informing me if there is any person in Europe authoriz’d by Congress to enter into such a Treaty with his Imperial Majesty. Altho’ I have no doubt of your being well...
Having been lately on a Journey I cou’d not sooner thank you for your obliging favor of the 23 d. Ulto, which I found here on my return home. In consequence of What you tell me, I shall refer the Emperors Agents to M r. Dana, at the same time I perfectly coincide with your opinion that we ought not to be in a hurry, now we have Peace, to enter into Com l. Treaties. I see no reason for changing...
Your obliging favor of the 15 th. inst t. did not come to my hands ’till the 8 th day after its date, but it did not appear to have been open’d, tho’ the direction was in a handwriting that I am not acquainted with. I can readily, from my own experience, subscribe to the Truth of every thing you have said in your Letter, & to prevent D r. Franklin from repeating the same unwarrantable practice...
Above ten Daies after its date I was honor’d with your favor of the 10 th. instant, & am indeed apprehensive with you, that America has lost the favorable moment for establish g a desirable commercial connection with Great Britain; but this is not the only, nor the greatest, mischief that has flow’d upon us from the same Source. you will by this time be able to judge of the dispositions of the...
AL (letterbook draft): Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Stratford Hall, Va. The Bill of Mess. W. & M. dated 12 Decr. 1775 on Mess. P. & J. Berthon value £300. which you remitted to my Brother, is this day accepted payable at 60 daies by Agreement, this I doubt not you will think prudent to accept. I wish you long life, health, Success and happyness, and with a tender of any service, in my...
ALS : American Philosophical Society In my way to Town this evening I call’d on Mr. D. to request he wou’d write the Letter to Nantes that had been talked of, which he promised to do, at the same time he inform’d me he was going on Monday next into the Country for some weeks, and proposed that we shou’d together wait on you on Sunday Morning to settle what was best to be done. This proposition...
ALS : American Philosophical Society The other day I made use of the Liberty you gave of leaving two paper percels and a letter for my Brother at your house and was sorry to be so unfortunate as not to find you at home. Very early in the morning I set out for Havre and expect to return in 8 or 10 daies at farthest, but if in the mean time my presence here Should be requisite, a line directed...
ALS : American Philosophical Society I cou’d not set out so soon as I intended but expect to be in Rouen tomorrow night and shall be back by Saturday or Sunday at farthest unless some unforseen accident detains me a day or two longer. The inclosed letter is just recd. Be so good as to take care of it ’till I return, the writer is generally well inform’d and thoroughly to be depended on. By the...
AL : American Philosophical Society Mr. Lee presents his Compliments to Doctor Franklin and informs him that he shall set off for Nantes tomorrow forenoon and will with pleasure take care of any thing he has to send there. Addressed: Honble. Benjamin Franklin / Esqr. Passi Notation: W Lee. to BF. no date. He must have changed his mind and taken off soon after writing this note. He left on the...
ALS : Princeton University Library; copy: Virginia Historical Society; two copies of extracts: University of Virginia Library Yesterday arrived here The Brig Liberty Capt. Herbert with 108 hogsheads of Tobacco on Account of the State of Virginia consign’d to J. Gruel & Co. She left Virginia July 10th runing the fire of 5 Men of War that guards the mouth of the Bay of Chesapeak. The Capt. is a...
Copy: Virginia Historical Society The 4th. two little boats arrivd here from Virginia (private property) which they left the 4th. of Augt. They bring the Papers with the Congress account of the evacuation of Ticonderoga, which is inclos’d, with some other Papers which the passenger Mr. King will bring with him as he sets out for Paris on Sunday or Monday next. Mr. K. who seems to be an...
Copy: Virginia Historical Society; copy: National Archives In consequence of the Instructions to me from the Honorable Congress of the United States of America I am to request that you will be pleased to furnish me with a copy of the Treaty, originally proposed by Congress to be entered into with France together with the subsequent alterations which have been proposed on either side. As my...
ALS : American Philosophical Society I presume you have seen the London Gazette Extraordinary of Friday last, saying that Mud Island and red Bank were evacuated. Howe says a forward movement against the Enemy would immediately take place which he hopes would be successful. From this we are to conclude that Howe himself conceives that all his movements before were retrograde . His last date...
AL : American Philosophical Society Mr. Lee presents Compliments to Dr. Franklin. He received the Louis. The London paper is inclosed. That with the Boston papers were sent by Mr. Deane to Mr. A. Lee who carried them out with him yesterday as Mr. W. L. tho’t to leave them at Passi, but it seems he left them with Mr. Izard. They will be sent for today and return’d immediately. Mr. L. is just...
Copy: Virginia Historical Society As you have now furnish’d me with the copy of the Treaty, I do not know of any reason for remaining here any longer, therefore propose setting out for Vienna in two or 3 daies to execute my appointment at that Court, provided you will supply me with the necessary funds to bear the expence of my Commission. The money will not be immediately requisite, as a...
AL : American Philosophical Society Mr. Lee has the Honour of presenting his Compliments to Doctor Franklin and shall be obliged to him for the loan of the two last Boston papers he has, which shall be returned in an hour and also for the last English papers. Mr. Lee would be glad to know if any determination is come to, relative to supplying him with the necessary funds, for his appointment...
ALS : American Philosophical Society; copy: Virginia Historical Society The trunk that is the subject of this letter was coming to resemble Pandora’s box. Thomas Morris had jumbled his papers as he had jumbled his two roles, as agent for the secret committee and for Willing & Morris. The commissioners were interested only in his public papers, but the official order that Lee took to Nantes was...
AL : American Philosophical Society; copy: Virginia Historical Society Mr. Lee presents his respectful Compliments to Dr. Franklin and informs him that Mr. Deane is engaged this day and cannot come, but can attend tomorrow or next day. Mr. L. therefore wishs to know what day and hour will be most agreeable to Dr. Franklin that he may fix with Mr. Deane and if it is inconvenient to come here,...
ALS : American Philosophical Society; draft and letterbook copy: Virginia Historical Society We print the letter as sent. It shows a self-restraint quite lacking in the original draft, in which Lee answered in heat what he must have considered the gratuitous censure in Franklin’s letter of the same day, and defended his conduct in Nantes: he was not authorized to deliver Thomas Morris’ private...
Autograph copy: Virginia Historical Society; two transcripts: National Archives In conformity to the general instructions of the secret committee that you should be consulted and advised within all important cases relative to their commercial affairs, and Mr. Thos. Morris joint commercial Agent with me being now dead and as I am just on the point of setting out for Germany, I think it...
ALS : American Philosophical Society; autograph copy: Virginia Historical Society I send you the keys of the Trunk containing the late Mr. Thos. Morris’s papers, which were forgot the other day. Please acknowledge the receipt that I may know they are safe. I wish very much to have an answer tonight, if it is convenient, to my Letter to the Commissioners relative to the Commercial Agents, as I...
ALS : American Philosophical Society; copies: Harvard University Library, Virginia Historical Society In your favour dated the 6th instant which you did me the honour of delivering in person last night, you are pleased to tell me that my proposition about appointing Agents in the Ports shall be layed before the Commissioners when they meet. ‘Tis now five days since I wrote to the Commissioners...
AL (draft:) Virginia Historical Society Before I quitted this place it was my wish to put the public commercial business, as far as I was empowerd, into such a train that it might be conducted with harmony and effect. I had experienced in myself that the partiality you and Mr. Deane manifested for Mr. Williams and the powers with which you thought proper to invest him had greatly impeded me in...
ALS : American Philosophical Society; autograph copy: Virginia Historical Society I shall be obliged to you for furnishing me with a Copy of the Treaties you have enter’d into with the Court of France, that I may not propose any thing inconsistent therewith to the Courts of Vienna and Berlin for which places I intend to set out on Saturday next. Any information or advice that you may be...