George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Arthur Lee, 2 April 1782

Philadelphia April 2d 1782

Dear Sir

I enclose your Excellency the latest account that has been received here of European Politics.

The Governor of Virginia writes us— that a Vessel just arrived from the W. Indies informs, that Count de Grasse has totally defeated the English fleet; taken or destroyd 4 sail of the line, & 100 sail of Transports with 3,000 Troops on board. His Letter is dated the 23d ult.

I beg my respects to Mrs Washington, & have the honor of being, with the greatest esteem, Yr Excellency’s most Obedt & most Humb. Servt

Arthur Lee

DLC: Papers of George Washington.


Extract of a Letter from Baron [Beslerode] to A. Lee

Antwerp Dec. 20 1781

The Empress of Russia, instead of furnishing the assistance to the Dutch which She was bound to do by treaty of armed Neutrality, has been amusing them with an offer of her mediation for a particular [   ] between them & G.B. This mediation the B. [   ] haughtily rejected at first, but have [   ] accepted it in termes very flattering to the [ illegible on] condition however that the Dutch shall submit to their terms. It is supposed the British have gained an undue influence over the present prime Minister, which they attempted in vain with the late one, Count Parrin, who resigned with an open avowel that such an attempt had been made on him, & that they had a corrupt influence over the Councils of the Empress His resignation has occasiond a ferment, which may make it dangerous for her to disclose openly in favor of England. But it is certain that She has sent the Grand Duke & Dutchess, who are Enemies to the British interest, to travel for three years, which is deemed a sort of horrible exile.

The Prince of Orange is sold to England by his director the Duke of Brunswick. The Orange Faction that the popular party in Holland were gaining ground every day & insisted on an immediate treaty with france for a joint prosecution of the war, & a Treaty of Commerce with America, have pushed business of the russian mediation to prevent preparations for the ensuing campaign.

The Emperor has turned his back on Engd & taking advantage of the times is demolishing the fortifications of the barrier towns in this Country where the Dutch kept Garrisons, & which it seems the States general have agreed to withdraw.

We do not know that the political [   ] of France will be alterd by the death of Count Maurepas, but of this we shall be better able to judge when the King fixes upon his successor.

The Spaniards are still amusing themselves, at an enormous expense before Gibralter for St Philips, & they talk publickly of taking Jamaica next Spring for which purpose an Armament, with 4000 Men, is now fitting out at Cadiz It is certain that Spain so unaccountably denying to acknowlege the Independance of America is of infinite prejudice to your affairs. Where the fault is I know not.

The next year will be more a year of intrigue & negociation on the part of your Enemy, than of offensive operations of war; though it is probable that most of their resentment will fall in America[.] unless She is well prepard at all points to resist attacks Virginia will, I think, again be the scene of war, if it becomes offensive, & her foresight dont prevent it, by effectual preparations.

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