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Lee, Richard Henry (1732-1794) to John Page

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC05587 Author/Creator: Lee, Richard Henry (1732-1794) Place Written: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 19 March 1776 Pagination: 3 p. : address : free frank ; 22.7 x 18.7 cm

He is happy to hear the mutinous spirits of the soldiers have been subdued and hopes it can be prevented in the future. Remarks, "the putrid fever rages so much in the Norfolk fleet . . ." Discusses officers' commissions and appointments. Hopes some arrangements will be made for procuring salt. Remarks that the men are governed by their present feelings and will riot when the need for salt arises. Expresses concern that not all the Continental troops are under Colonial direction.

Lee, brother of Francis L. Lee, was a Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress 1774-1779 and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Page, a colonel in the Revolutionary War, later served in Congress 1789-1797 and as governor of Virginia 1802-1805.

Philadelphia 19th March 1776
Dear Sir,
I am much obliged to you for your favor of the 9th and observe your directions about the Mill. It gives me pleasure to find the mutinous spirit of our Soldiery so well subdued, and I hope the character and weight of our General Officers will prevent the like irregularities for the future. As the patriot fever rages so much in the Norfolk fleet, 'tis pity but Dunmore and his people could be forced into their Ships to partake the ruin of that distemper. The Officers succeed in the Contl. Army generally according to the Number of their Commissions, for which purpose, they are all numbered when issued; but in the instance of Colo. Henry's resignation, Colo. Christian comes to the command of that Batallion, Mr. Yipes Lieutenant Colonel, and Capt. Green Major; but altho it [struck: was] [inserted: is] the 1st Batallion, yet the Colonel now is the youngest Colonel of the six. Nothing yet is done about the [2] Physician. I hope and wish that both the Committee of Safety and Convention would immediately establish public works for making common Salt. We have no Chance for importation, and the want of this Necessary will produce universal riot and convulsion. Men in general are improvident and are governed only by present feelings. They will be quiet until the absolute want of Salt comes on, and then they will rave and riot, complain of & accuse the public councils. Cannot Salt pans be constructed at the public expense, Managers appointed, and the Salt be sold for the public? It will more than difray [sic] costs. I find it gives concern in our Country that the Continentall Troops are not under Colonial direction. I can only say that it is not the case in any Colony, the Continental General having every where the Command. Nor has the jealous spirit even of New England objected. The question is, whether if it was so, the same fate might not attend the American Arms that befel those of the Duke of Cumberland at Closter Severn by being under command of [3] the Council of Hanover? The General will undoubtedly pay great respect to the desires of the Convention or Committee of Safety, and the Congress are ever ready to comply with Colony requests. We have taken much pains to get Mr. Smith away with 500 stand of Arms for our Country, he will sett out in a few days with them.
Farewell dear Sir and be assured that I am with great esteem your affectionate
Richard Henry Lee
No news from the Eastward

Honorable John Page Esquire
in Williamsburg

Mh. 9th 76

[free frank]
R.H. Lee

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