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.

Lee, Francis Lightfoot (1734-1797) to John Page

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 #: GLC04806 Author/Creator: Lee, Francis Lightfoot (1734-1797) Place Written: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Type: Autograph letter Date: 30 January 1776 Pagination: 3 p. : docket ; 23.8 x 18.7 cm.

Summary of Content: Lee, a Virginia delegate to the first Continental Congress, reports on the reception and failure of the Olive Branch Petition (an attempt to broker peace with England after the outbreak of the American Revolution but prior to the Declaration of Independence). Also discusses raising an army, sending newspapers, and a potential military appointment. Page was a Virginia politician and military officer.

Full Transcript: My dear Page Philada Jany 30th 1776
I receiv'd yours of the 20th Instant last night. I will deliver any Letter you may send to Mr Rittenhouse; tho' my acquaintance with ...him is but slight.
A very critical time is approaching. It is expected that administration will make some advances towards an accommodation. There are English papers in this [illegible] brought by a ship from Dankirk, that mention Mr Penn, who carried the East Petition to the King, being examined before the House of Lords. His answers were short & cleaver & seem'd to have weight with some of that Body, who had before been kept in the Dark. The expression is, that he had made several of them Quakers." The Duke of Graston, the Archbishop of Canterbury & the bishop of Peterborough have it should be the American cause. The [calus] begins to operate & I think some of them with quake[illegible] it be long.
Administration have demanded 24,000 Men for the American Service, which is ordered by that in opposition, as entirely insufficient, after having [2] been told by Mr Penn that the Province of Pennsylvania singly was 60,000 strong. They were call'd upon to speak out at once & declare what would be demanded, but that they did not chuse to do, untill they had sounded & found how the Land laid. I have endeavourd to procure a paper for you, but being in the hands of the Printer [inserted: who] they do not assure to part with them [text loss] disappoint & must therefore refer you to [illegible] who will have the news from his Brother [printors] of this city. A Battallion of the [Devorshire] militia have petitiond the King to send them over to America to [text loss] with the Rebels. Their Petitions are attack'd in the House of Commons by the friends of Liberty as dangerous & highly improper & the Minister condemn'd for suffering such anyone to be presented to the Majesty [text loss] accus'd of altering several parts of it himself & seating it to his own purpose, after it had been taken out of the hands of the Petitioners. [text loss] have I given you all the news I can recollect, not in a very imperfect, [inserted: manner] [inserted: illegible] having never seen the Paper.
I am much concern'd to find [Bulit] & Innes neglected by the Convention. I will consult my [3] Colleagues whether it will be proper to move for the former to have rank as a Colo. I think it would & if they will join me it may be done. What we can do for Innes I do not know unless provided a General be appointed, we can prevail on him to make him his Aid deCamp, a post that I think would suit him well, but there his rank would be only that of Major, whether he would like this or not I can not tell.
Adieu

[docket]
January 30. 1776
See More

People: Lee, Francis Lightfoot, 1734-1797
Page, John, 1744-1808

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: DiplomacyPetitionPoliticsMilitary HistoryGlobal History and CivicsForeign AffairsPeaceContinental CongressCongressContinental ArmyRecruitment

Sub Era: The War for Independence

Order a Copy Citation Guidelines for Online Resources