Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Henry, Patrick (1736-1799) to Richard Henry Lee

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03869 Author/Creator: Henry, Patrick (1736-1799) Place Written: Williamsburg, Virginia Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 9 January 1777 Pagination: 2 p. : address ; 22.9 x 18.5 cm

Written by Henry as Governor of Virginia to Lee as a Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress. Sends congratulations about Washington's victory at Trenton on 25 December 1776. Observes that the people of Virginia are firm. Believes a great number of volunteers can still be found. Hopes enlistments may be filled, but doubts it will happen quickly. Says the Cherokees are humbled, but fears hostilities will break out around Pittsburgh, and he has prepared accordingly. Says arms and woolens are needed. Says "I do indeed pity your situation ... Let me tell you that altho yr Fatigue is almost too much to bear, yet you must hold out a little longer." Sends compliments to Colonel Frank. Wants to know best method of doing justice to General Adam Stephen's rank. Thinks it should be raised. Address is on separate page, 7 x 12 cm. Letter appears to have been framed and has mat burn around the edges. Date and place written from seller's description. Letter published in "Life, Correspondence, and Speeches of Patrick Henry," Vol. 1, pg. 511.

I congratulate you my dear Sir on our well timed Success at Trenton. I trust the Honor of our Arms will be retrieved.
Our Levys go on pretty well in many places. In some the great Want of necessary clothing & Blankets, retards them. Orders issue this Day for the Officers to hold themselves & soldiers ready to march by Companys & parts of Companys & in a little Time they'll go off, but in Want of every thing
I observe our people (a few excepted) are firm & not to be shaken. A great Number of Volunteers may be had. I hope all the Inlistments may be filled, but doubt if it can soon be done
I am endeavouring at vigorous measures. Langor seems to have been diffused thru the naval Department. However I hope will mend. The Cherokees are humbled, But I fear Hostility about Pittsburgh in the Spring I have provided Ammunition & provisions in that Quarter & shall be able to muster a formidable Militia thereabouts. The powder is not yet sent, but I wait only for the [2] Result of a council of War where to deposit it. Our Sea Coasts are Defenceless almost.
Arms & Woolens are wanted here most extremely. We are making Efforts to procure them
I do indeed pity your Situation. I guess at the many perplexitys, & Difficultys, that attend you. I know how much the vigorous Counsel of America are indebted to you for their support. I know how much you detest that Spirit of Indecision & Lukewarmness that has exposed our Country to so much peril. Let me tell you that altho' y.r Fatigue is almost too much to bear, yet you must hold out a little longer. Many People pretend they perceive Errors in Congress & some wicked ones are greatly pleased at the Hopes of seeing the Respect due to that Assembly, succeeded by contempt
Make my most aff.te compliments to Col.o Frank. Has he forgot me? Indeed he may ask me the same. Tell him that from morng 'til Night I have not a Minute from Business. I wish it may all do. For there are a thousand things to mind to begin.
Adieu my dear Sir & believe me
yr affte hble servt.
P.Henry [illegible]
P.S. I beg you'll tell me what is the best method for doing Justice to Genl. Stephen as to his Rank. I think he ought to be raised above his present Rank.

[address leaf]
Richard Henry Lee Esqr
of the Congress
Baltimore

Order a CopyCitation Guidelines for Online Resources