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Lee, Richard Henry (1732-1794) to William Whipple

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC06411 Author/Creator: Lee, Richard Henry (1732-1794) Place Written: Chantilly, Virginia Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 26 June 1779 Pagination: 2 p. : address : docket ; 32.5 x 20 cm.

Colonel Lee, a Continental Congressman, discusses politics with Whipple, who was in Congress in Philadelphia. Of Virginia, states "We have neither wicked ... or foolish Politicians here, whose misconduct makes us fear for the safety of our country. I have frequently admired the philosophic ease with which you have contemptuously viewed proceedings in Congress that Town shocked me exceedingly." Mentions Samuel Adams's departure from Congress. Requests that Whipple, chairman of the Marine Committee, order several frigates into the Chesapeake Bay stating "The Confederacy & the Boston can with infinite ease destroy the enemies Vessels that are doing us so much injury, and creating so great expense by frequent calls for militia." Reports on various British naval assaults in the area. Requests that Whipple transmit an enclosed item (not included) to Mr. Bradford.

Dear General, Chantilly in Virginia June 26. 1779

I wish this may find you as happy at Philadelphia as we are at Chantilly - Nothing but the want of rain disturbs us. We have neither wicked, or perverse or foolish Politicians here, whose misconduct makes us fear for the safety of our country. I have frequently admired the philosophic ease with which you have contemptuously viewed proceedings in Congress that I own shocked me exceedingly. I suppose you have fixed your opinion with Mr. Pope that "whatever is, is right". I believe indeed that the wisdom and goodness of the Creator does most frequently deduce good from evil, yet I am extremely chagrined when I see wicked and weak men have Session in and misconduct the public councils. I understand that our excellent friend Saml. Adams has left Congress - I am truly sorry for it, because I will know that his ability and integrity would be missed from any Assembly, but indispensable to the one from which he went. As you are the oldest [inserted: member] and the most skillful in Marine matters I take it for granted that you are now chairman of the Marine Committee - But whether so or not - Let me entreat that you prevail with the Committee to order two Frigates into Chesapeak Bay, if it is only for a few days - The Confederacy & the Boston can with infinite ease destroy the enemies Vessels that are doing us so much injury, and creating so great expence by frequent calls for Militia - They have already burnt several private houses, and one public Warehouse with between 2 & 300 thds of [fobo] and carried off much plunder & many negroes -- Soon as they see the Militia gathering, they embark and go to another unguarded place - They have 6 Vessels - Otter 16, Harlem 12 guns Kings Vessels - Dunmore 16. Schooner Hammond 14 - Lord North 12 guns & Fincastle 2 three pounders. [2] The 4 Cast are Gubridges Pirates. They say their orders are to burn and destroy all before them - And Eastern Man whom they had captivated and detained, escaped from them when they were burning the Warehouse, and gives us the above account of their force, which is confirmed by others - They land between 60 & 70 men when they mean to do mischief - I do not think that I can be charged with excess of opinion in favor of our Navy when I say it appears to me that the frigates already mentioned could quickly destroy there Pirates and return to their station after thus relieving our water bound Country, and removing the cause of great expence. The frigates by calling at Hampton can get the best intelligence of the enemies situation and force - Do me the favor Sir to convey the inclosed safely to Mr. Bradford and as soon as you can. I shall thank you for your foreign & domestic views, as well as to know what tunes the fiddle party have and are playing - My best respects attend my Whig friends in Congress.
With great sincerity I am dear
Sir your affectionate friend and obedient Servant
Richard Henry Lee.

[address leaf]

Honorable General Whipple
Member of Congress at
Philadelphia

[docket]
Col Lee 26th June

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