*** Limited Edition, eleven hundred copies,
printed from type.
WILLIAM WIRT HENRY
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CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
COPYRIGHT, 1891, BY
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
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Patrick Henry to Edmund Pendleton.
HAMPTON, Dec' 19th, 1775, 8 O'clock, P.M.
SIR: I arrived here last night & found the Troops in tol-
erable good condition. The Inhabitants are pretty quiet.
But from the small Distance that separates them from the
Enemy, the officers think it necessary for the Troops to per-
form Duty that is very severe.
Understanding that a large Ship & Sloop were in the
Bay abt 15 Miles below, I thought it advisable to order out
a party of Soldiers to make Discovery, & bring them in if
Cap' Barron accordingly set out with 20 men in a swift
sailing Vessel & has brot in a Sloop from Turks Island
having on board 900 Bushels Salt, a peice or two of Popns
& Irish Linens, & a few other articles. The Sloop is just
now broth within the Bar, & her Cargo waits the Dispo-
sition of the Convention. The Ship is very suspicious. I
can't form a probable guess whether she is a friend or a
Foe. I shall order out another party very early in the
morning to attempt something with her.
Capt James Barron, who is so kind as to be the Bearer
of this, will hand you a large Bag of Letters which seem to
have been concealed by Capt Harris, & kept back when the
former papers brot by him were discovered. A small par-
cel of Goods are found on him which I judge belong to
Sprowle of Norfolk, agreeable to an Invoice among Har-
ris's first Letters, & very probably some of these may as-
certain the Matter.
Inclosed are sundry papers relative to the Sloop Agatha
4 PATRICK HENRY.
now detained here. I should be exceedingly glad if the
Convention would please to determine what is to be done
with the several Vessels now in this port. The near
Neighborhood of the Enemy makes it almost certain, that
every one of them that go out from hence will fall into
I perceive Sir, from the situation of things here, that a
pilot Boat is indispensably necessary for the Safety of this
place, & the furtherance of the Service. I have therefore,
from the Necessity of the Case, ordered Latimer's Boat into
If the Convention disapprove of it I shall give orders for
her discharge. With sentiments of the purest Regard &
Devotion, I beg you to lay me before the Convention, & be
assured that I am proud of having the Honor to be
yr mo. obt & very h'ble Sert,
P. HENRY, JR.
The HONBLE EDMD PENDLETON, Esqr.,
President of the Convention.
Patrick Renry to Edmund Pendleton.
WILLIAMSBURG, Deco 23. 1775.
Sm: I have the pleasure to inform you, that an Express
from Colo. Ellet at Hampton brings the agreeable News,
that we have taken a Vessel of the Govt. bound to the
Eastern shore for provisions, commanded by Capt. Collett &
manned with 16 Negroes. Another Vessel of the same
sort was Yesterday pursued by our people, & little doubt
remained of taking her also. A third Vessel with 2,400
Bushels Salt is also taken, but not quite brot. into the Har-
bor, the Tide falling.
The Captives inform Colo Ellet, the Liverpool is, as I'm
informed, laden with Guns, but the Brig with military
stores. Both together have 400 men, & have been 3 months
& 3 days at Sea.
The Enemy Exult greatly on their Arrival, & threaten
Vengeance agt that Neighbourhood, Hampton &c. The
Salt is said to be MCAlester & Brown's at Norfolk. Col
Ellet, notwithstanding I know his Zeal & Activity, finds
himself greatly at a Loss to secure the Salt, & at the same
Time keep up the necessary Duty by Land & Water. He
thinks more men wanting there. I am of his opinion. The
Col also thinks it best to send up the prisoners, all hands
there being busy.
Collett the Capt, who is from every Circumstance a
great Villian, is closely confin'd & seems a dangerous per-
son. He says 57 men only were killed, wounded & taken
at great Bridge.
You have now Sir, the whole of the Intellegence I'm fa-
vour'd with. Any Comands you may please to have shall
be instantly comply'd with. An indisposition prevents my
waiting on you in person. I have the Honor to be
Y' mo. obt Sert,
P. HENRY, JR.
P. S.-I hope the Vessel I ordered into the Service may
be ordered to continue, she being found so successful. I beg
a line for that purpose.
To EDMr PENDLETON, Esq'.,
President of the Convention.
General Charles Lee to Patrick Henry.
CHARLESTOWN, July 29, 1776.
DEAR SE: I used to regret not being thrown into the
world in the third or fourth century of the Romans, but
I am now thoroughly reconciled to my lot. The reveries
which have frequently, for a while, served to tickle my im-
agination (but which, when awakened from my trance as
constantly I considered as mere golden castles built in the
air,) at length bid fair for being realized. We shall now,
most probably, see a mighty empire established of free-
6 PATRICK HENRY.
men, whose honour, property, and military glories, are not
to be at the disposal of a sceptered tyrant, nor their con-
sciences to be fettered by a proud, domineering hierarchy.
Every faculty of the soul will be now put in motion; no
merit can lie latent; the highest offices of the State, both
civil and military, will now be obtained, without Court fa-
vour, or the rascally talents of servility and observance by
which Court favour could alone be acquired. Sense, val-
our, and industry, will conduct us to the goal; every spark
of ability which every individual possesses will now be
brought forth, and form the common aggregate for the ad-
vantage and honour of the community. The operations of
war will be directed by men qualified for war, and carried
on with that energy natural to a young people. True unar-
tized knowledge, unsophisticated learning, simple genuine
eloquence and poetry, will be carried to the highest degree
of perfection. This, to many, I am sensible would appear
rant, but to you, who, I think have congenial feelings with
my own, it needs no apology. However, I shall now en-
deavour to deliver myself more like a man of this world.
I most sincerely congratulate your country on having citi-
zens deserving of the high honor to which you are exalted;
for the being elected to the first Magistracy of a free peo-
ple is certainly the pinnacle of human glory; and I am
persuaded that they could not have made a happier choice.
Will you excuse me ? but I am myself so extremely demo-
cratical, that I think it a fault in your Constitution that the
Governor should be eligible for three years successively. It
appears to me that a government of three years may fur-
nish an opportunity of acquiring a very dangerous influence.
But this is not the worst; Tacitus says, Plura peccantur
dum demeremur quam dum ofendimus. A man who is
fond of office, and has his eye upon re-election, will be court-
ing favour and popularity, at the expense of his duty. He
will give way to the popular humors of the day, let them
be ever so pernicious. In short, his administration will be
relaxed in general, or partial to those whom he conceives to
have the greatest interest; whereas, were all hopes of re-
election precluded till after the intervention of a certain
number of years, he would endeavour to illustrate the year
of his government by a strict, rigorous, and manly perform-
ance of his duty. These notions may, perhaps, be weak
and foolish; but such as they are, I am sure you will excuse
my uttering them.
There is a barbarism crept in among us that extremely
shocks me; I mean those tinsel epithets with which (I come
in for my share) we are so beplaistered. His Excellency,
and His Honour; the Honourable President of the Honour-
able Congress, or the Honourable Convention. This fulsome
nauseating cant, may be well enough adapted to barbarous
Monarchies, or to gratify the adulterated pride of the mag-
nifici in pompous Aristocracies; but in a great, free,
manly Commonwealth, it is quite abominable; for my own
part, I would as lief they would put ratsbane in my mouth,
as the Excellenicy with which I am daily crammed. How
much more true dignity was there in the simplicity of address
amongst the Romans: Marcus Tullius Cicero, Decemo
Bruto Imperatori, or Caio Marcello Consuli, than to His
Excellency Major General Noodle, or to the Honourable
John Doodle. My objections are, perhaps, trivial and whim-
sical, but for my soul I cannot help stating them. If, there-
fore, I should sometimes address a letter to you without the
Excellency tacked on, you must not esteem it a mark of per-
sonal or official disrespect, but the reverse.
The discontent of the troops, which you mention as
arising from the want of regular payment, might have been
remedied by General Lewis; his warrant is undoubtedly
sufficient for the Paymaster; however, I have written to
that gentleman on this subject, and am in hopes that affairs
for the future will be more satisfactorily conducted. An
old rice-boat, which we converted the other day into a row-
battery, has made a considerable prize-no less than a brig
with a whole company of the Royal Highland Emigrants on
board, consisting of two officers and fifty men. Although
they saw they were inevitably our prize, they had the impu-
dence to throw their arms overboard, for which they ought
8 PATRICK HENRY.
to have had their ears cut off, as it was contrary to all
rules of war.
I send you enclosed the state of the enemy's Navy. I
think there is no doubt of their Army having steered their
course northward. On this presumption I shall direct my
course toward Virginia, but first must assist to regulate the
military affairs of this Province in the best manner I can,
though, in fact, that will be doing little. The inconven-
ience of this complex play we are acting, of Duke and no
Duke, are numberless and great. The President is thought
by some to be the real commander; I am thought so by others;
in short, there must be no troops but Continental. The
Council is at present employed in settling a more regular post.
We have received none these eighteen days; for my own
part, I conclude the mail has been intercepted and carried
on board a man of war. Seven tons and a half of powder
were safely landed four days ago at Georgetown.
Adieu, dear sir, and believe me to be, most entirely and
His Excellencey P. HENRY, Jun.,
Governor of Virginia.
Richard Henry Lee to Patrick Henry.
BELLB VIEW, 20th August, 1776.
DEAR SIR: I am thus far on my way to Congress, having
been sometime detained by the slowness of the Workman
that made my Carriage wheels, the old being quite shattered
and useless. I have learned with much pleasure that a re-
covery of health promises you speedy return to public busi-
ness, and I heartily wish the latter may be benefited, as it
will be, by your uninterrupted enjoyment of the former.
I have been informed of two things, which if true, I think
we may benefit from. These are, that the ships of war
have all left our bay, and that plenty of salt is stored in the
Islands of Bermuda. Would it not be proper to fall upon
some method of giving the Bermudians speedy notice how
things are circumstanced here, that they may embrace the
opportunity of supplying us with that useful article. The
present rainy season, will, I fear, disappoint the wise
measures of the convention for making salt. But at all
events our manufactured salt will be too late for many pur-
poses, which a quick supply from Bermuda would effectually
save. Among these, the curing of grass beef and early pork
for the army are important objects. But should our Works
fail, I fear most extensive and powerful convulsions will
arise from the want of salt, to prevent which, no precau-
tions, I think should be omitted. Our enemies appear to
be collecting their whole force at New York (except what
goes to Canada) with design, no doubt, to make a last and
powerful effort there. Our numbers, it seems, increase with
theirs, so that I hope we shall be able to parry every thrust
the Tyrant can make.
I learn from Maryland that the counties have excluded
from their new Convention, all those that have been famous
for Moderation, as it is strangely called, and under this idea,
that Johnson, Gouldsborough, Stone, and Tilghman are left
out, with the new delegates to Congress, Alexander and
I hope to have the pleasure of hearing from you at Phila-
delphia. I mean exclusive of public writing-and in the
mean time assure you that I am with much esteem and
regard, dear sir, your affectionate friend and obedient
RICHARD HENRY LEE.
His Excellency, P. HENRY, JR.
P.S.-Be so kind as to contrive the inclosed to our friend,
I do not know rightly where he is, so you will please finish
10 PATRICK HENRY.
Richard Henry Lee to Patrick Henry.
PHILADELPHIA, 15h Sept., 1776.
DEAR SIR: I am happy to hear of your returning health
and hope you will long enjoy it. We still continue here in
anxious suspense about the event of things at N. York.
Since the removal of our troops from Long Island nothing
of consequence hath happened, but the enemy show by their
motions a design to land their army above ours, on the
tongue of land upon which stands the city of N. York.
Their design being foreseen, I hope it may be prevented, if
the large frequent desertions of the militia do not weaken
us too much. The enemies' force is very considerable, it
being by the best accounts about 24,000 men, besides their
Canada army which is about 7,000, opposed by 13,000 of
our people under the command of Gen. Gates, who with a
superior marine force on lake Champlain, appears not to be
apprehensive of injury from that quarter this campaign.
Lord Howe's great powers to do us good have lately been
bared to public view, as you will see by the Congress publi-
cation of a conversation between his Lordship and a com-
mitee of their body lately on Staten Island. The stories
are almost driven out of their last holds, but still they say
Lord Howe could not be expected to produce his powers,
when such strong independents as Franklin & Adams
were sent to him." These men will not be right, tho' one
should rise from the dead to set them so. The conduct of
the militia has been so insufferably bad, that we find it
impossible to support the war by their means, and therefore
a powerful army of regular troops must be obtained, or all
will be lost. It seems to be the opinion that each State
should furnish a number of Batallions proportionate to its
strength, appoint all the officers from the Colonel down-
wards, and the whole be paid by the Continent. Letters
from Bourdeaux the last of June, inform us of the greatest
preparation for war in France and Spain. From the French
W. Indies we have the same accounts, and the strongest
assurance and acts of friendship imaginable shown to N.
America. I verily believe that all the submission, art and
management of G. Britain cannot much longer prevent a
war with France. When we consider the water accessi-
bility of our country, it is most clear that no defence can
avail us so much as a Marine one-and of all sea force practi-
cable to us, that of Gallies is the cheapest and the best. I
wish therefore most earnestly that my Countrymen, at their
next meeting of General Assembly, may early direct the
immediate building of 10 or 12 large sea Gallies, upon the
plan of these large ones now building here by Congress, to
carry two 32 pounders in the bow, two in the stern, and 10
six pounders on the sides, to row with 40 oars, and be
manned with an hundred men. These placed between the
Middle ground and Cape Charles, near to a fine harbour in
the Eastern shore, will secure our Bay against everything
but line of battle ships, keep open our trade, and secure
our shores better than 50,000 men. An able Builder here
advises them to be ship-rigged. Besides the great security
these Vessels will yield, they will be a fine nursery for sea-
men so much wanted by us. If the forge and foundry on
James River be well attended to, we may easily and quickly
be furnished with plenty of Cannon. I pray you, sir, to
consider this matter, for I am sure if it be viewed in the
light that I think it may be seen in, the plan will be
adopted, and pushed with vigor into execution. At present,
two or three Sloops of war can stop up our Bay, harrass our
shores, and greatly distress our country, when with the
Gallies I have described, it would not be safe for twice as
many line of battle ships to attempt it, and utterly impossi-
ble for smaller vessels to effect it.
The committee that waited on L. Howe have not returned
their written report, and therefore it is not yet published,
but the verbal report was, substantially, that his Lordship
had no power at all but to grant pardon and prosecute the war.
I am, with much esteem, dear Sir, your affectionate and
obedient Servant, RICHARD Y LEE
His Excellency, PAEN HENRY, JR.
His Excellence, PATRICK HENRY, JR.
George Washington to Patrick Henry.
HIGHTB OF HAERLEM, 5, October, 1776.
DEAR SIR: Your obliging favor of the 20th ultimo came
duly to hand, and demands my best acknowledgments. I
congratulate you, Sir, most cordially, upon your appoint-
ment to the government, and, with no less sincerity, on
your late recovery. Your correspondence will confer honor
and satisfaction; and, whenever it is in my power, I shall
write to you with pleasure. Our retreat from Long Island,
under our peculiar circumstances, became an act of prudence
and necessity, and the evacuation of New York was a con-
sequence resulting from the other. Indeed, after we dis-
covered that the enemy, instead of making an attack upon
the city, were endeavoring, by means of their ships and
superior land force, either to intercept our retreat, by get-
ting in our rear, or else by landing their forces between our
divisions at King's bridge and those in the town, to separ-
ate the one from the other, it became a matter of the last
importance to alter the disposition of the army. These
measures, however, although of the most evident utility,
have been productive of some inconveniences, the troops
having become in some measure dispirited by these suc-
cessive retreats, which, I presume, has also been the case
among several of our friends in the country. In order to
recover that military ardor, which is of the utmost moment
to an army, almost immediately on my arrival at this place
I formed a design of cutting off some of the enemy's light
troops, who, encouraged by their successes, had advanced to
the extremity of the high ground opposite to our present
encampment. To effect this salutary purpose, Colonel
Knowlton and Major Leitch were detatched with parties of
riflemen and rangers to get in their rear, while a disposition
was made as if to attack them in front. By some unhappy
mistake, the fire was commenced from that quarter rather
on their flank than in their rear; by which means, though
the enemy were defeated and pushed off the ground, yet
they had an opportunity of retreating to their main body.
This piece of success, though it tended greatly to inspire
our troops with confidence, has been in some measure em-
bittered by the loss of those two brave officers, who are dead
of the wounds they received in the action. Since this
skirmish, excepting the affair at Montresor's Island, where
Major Henley, another of our best officers, was slain, there
has been nothing of any material consequence. Indeed,
the advantage obtained over the enemy's light troops might
have been iniproved, perhaps to a considerable extent, had
we been in a proper situation to make use of this favorable
crisis; but a want of confidence in the generality of the
troops, has prevented me from availing myself of that, and
almost every other opportunity which has presented itself.
I own my fears, that this must ever be the case, when
our dependence is placed on men insisted for a few months,
commanded by such officers as party or accident may have
furnished; and on militia, who, as soon as they are fairly
fixed in the camp, are impatient to return to their own
homes; and who, from an utter disregard of all discipline
and restraint among themselves, are too apt to infuse the
like spirit into others. The evils of short enlistments and
of employing militia to oppose regular and well appointed
troops, I strongly urged to Congress before the last army
was engaged. Indeed my own situation at Cambridge, about
the close of the last campaign, furnished the most striking
example of the fatal tendency of such measures. I then
clearly foresaw, that such an armament, as we had good
reason to expect would be sent against us, could be opposed
only by troops enlisted during the war, and where every
action would add to their experience and improvement, and
of whom, if they were unsuccessful in the beginning, a rea-
sonable hope might be entertained, that in time they would
become as well acquainted with their business as their
enemies. This method I am convinced, would have been
attended with every good consequence; for, besides the
militia being altogether unfit for the service when called
into the field, they are much more expensive than any other
kind of troops; and the war could have been conducted on
more moderate terms, by establishing a permanent body of
forces, who were equal to every contingency, than by calling
in the militia on imminent and pressing occasions.
I would not wish to influence your judgment with respect
to militia in the management of Indian affairs, as I am
fully persuaded that the inhabitants of the frontier counties
in your colony are, from inclination as well as ability, pe-
culiarly adapted to that kind of warfare. At the same time,
I should think it would be highly advisable, in case you
should conceive yourselves to be in danger from any detach-
ment from the British army, or from their marines, not to
depend on any troops, but such as are well officered and en-
listed to serve during the war.
I make no doubt, but your State has turned its views to-
wards forming some obstacles against the enemy's ships and
tenders, which may go up your rivers in quest of provisions,
or for the purpose of destroying your towns. If you have
depended on batteries to prevent them without any other
obstruction, a trial of the matter has taught us to believe,
that it will be altogether ineffectual; as, when under sail,
with wind and tide in their favor, any damage they might re-
ceive from a battery will be of very little consequence. At
the same time I must observe, that this kind of opposition
is exceedingly proper for the defence of a town, or in any
case, where it is necessary that the ships should come to
anchor before the batteries, for the purpose of silencing them.
In the first instant, I would strongly recommend row galleys,
which, if officered with brave and determined men, and con-
ducted with prudence, would, in my opinion, be productive
of the greatest advantage, and be the most likely means, in
your situation, of securing your towns and houses on navi-
gable waters from any impression from the shipping.
I imagine, before this, Congress have made you acquainted
with their resolutions for raising the new army, and that
your colony is to furnish fifteen battalions to be enlisted
during the war. As this will occasion the choosing a num-
ber of new officers, I would, in the most urgent manner,
recommend the utmost care and circumspection in your
appointments. I do not suppose that there are many expe-
rienced gentlemen now left with you, as, from what I have
understood, those who have served in the last war are chiefly
promoted. However, I am satisfied that the military spirit
runs so high in your colony, and the number of applicants
will be so considerable, that a very proper choice may be
made. Indeed, the army being put upon such a permanent
footing will be a strong inducement for them to step forth
on the present interesting occasion. One circumstance, in
this important business, ought to be cautiously guarded
against, and that is, the soldiers and officers being too nearly
on a level. Discipline and subordination add life and vigor
to military movements. The person commanded yields but
a reluctant obedience to those, who he conceives are unde-
servedly made his superiors. The degrees of rank are
frequently transferred from civil life into the departments
of the army. The true criterion to judge by, when past
services do not enter into the competition, is, to consider
whether the candidate for office has a just pretension to the
character of a gentleman, a proper sense of honor, and some
reputation to lose.
Perhaps, sir, you may be surprised at my pressing this
advice so strongly as I have done in this letter; but I have
felt the inconveniences resulting from a contrary principle
in so sensible a manner, and this army has been so greatly
enfeebled by a different line of conduct, that I hope you
will readily excuse me. I am, sir, with sincere regard, your
affectionate humble servant,
His Excellency, PATRICK HENRY, JR.
Colonel William Christian to Patrick Henry.
SIx MILE CAMP, October the 6th, 1776.
HONOURABLE SIR : I have advanced six miles from Fort
Patrick Henry, which Lieutenant Colonel Russell has called
the Fort at the great Island. I will enclose you herewith a
16 PATRICK HENRY.
return of the Army with me; besides which about 100 men
are left at the Fort to Guard the Stores there. Lieutenant
Colo. Morgan of Colo. Lewis's Battalion, is on his March
with about 140 men, officers included, but I doubt is too far
behind to have any probability of overtaking me.
I came to the Island on the 21 of September, since which
time several parties of the Enemy have been about us; they
killed one Soldier and one of the Countrymen near the
Island, and took another prisoner, who escaped the second
night after he was taken, but was not able to give me any
information, more than that the party were 12 in number,
and making homewards. Several of the country people
have been also fired upon, and some wounded, since I came
to Holston. The Enemy generally fire from behind Logs
and bushes, and seldom at a greater distance than eight or
ten steps; last Tuesday three of them fired upon two men
and broke one of their arms, but they got away. Nothing
has been done Since.
I have no intelligence from Brigadier Rutherford since
his letter of the 27th. of August. I will enclose you both
his letters, and my answer to his first. The last I have not
answered. If he is an enterprising man he may finish the
Campaign before I get to the Indian Towns. The difficulty
of marching from the valley Towns to the overhills is not
half so great as from Green Bryer to Point Pleasant.
I shall march in less than an hour, and take with me 30
days flour and seventy-days Beef. I hope to cross Broad
river the 15th. instant, where it is most likely I shall be
attacked or meet with proposals of peace. The men who
have fled from the Towns say that the Indians will surely
fight desperately; which they promised Stewart, the King's
superintendent, to do; and Camron, his deputy who remains
amongst them, is daily encouraging them to defend their
country against a parcel of Rebels. I Heartily wish that
they may first attack me; and it is the wish of the Army.
Camron, being an artful man, may invent measures to delay
our March, if the Indians will execute them with dexterity,
but still I have no doubt of returning to the Island in five
weeks from this time; six at the farthest. Yesterday I
sent four of my scouts to the Towns to endeavour to take a
Prisoner, that I may know what the Enemy are doing, but
the attempt being new, and the probability of meeting some
of them before they can reach the Towns so great, that I
have but little hopes of success. I have promised the four
men 100, if they succeed. I have also sent another party of
scouts about Eighty miles from here, and within fifty miles
of the Towns, to watch the path. If anything new occurs at
Broad river I shall send you an Express as speedily as pos-
sible. If I am attacked there and my March delayed, I
must send back to the Island for more Flour.
Mr. Madison, the Commissary in Chief, will write you
fully about the Provisions, so that I will not trouble you
and the Hon'ble the Council on that head.
The people on Holston and Clinch, from ten miles above
Stalnakers downwards, are in Forts, the number of souls
contained in them, I am told, amounts to more than 3000;
their distress is very great. I called at such as are upon
the mainroad, and found many in want of provisions, great
numbers sick, and heard of many that had died; occa-
sioned I supposed by their close confinement, and being too
much crowded together. I ventured to direct that a few
loads of Flour should be distributed amongst the Wives and
Widow mothers of those men who are with me, and gave
orders to the Commissary to keep an account thereof, that
the men may be called upon to pay for it, or such other
steps taken therein as your Excellency and the Hon'ble
Council shall please to direct. In all Probability there will
be more Flour than I shall want for the Expedition. It
might prevent great distress, if your Excellency and the
Hon'ble Council would allow some of it to be sold to such
of the Inhabitants as have lost their crops by the War.
Lieut Colo. Russell who was much disappointed, espe-
cially in the County of Fincastle, about getting the three
hundred men ordered by the Convention, took into the ser-
vice a great part of the men in the Forts; that step, and
that alone, prevented the people from starving or quitting
18 PATRICK HENRY.
the country altogether. I should have written your Excel-
lency several times since I wrote to his honour the Presi-
dent, but I really did not know well what to say; I could
not, until within a week past, speak with such certainty as
I wished to do.
I am, Sir, your most obedient, Humble Servant,
To His Excellency, PATRICK HENRY, ESQ.,
Governor of Virginia.
Patrick Henry to the Speaker of the House of Delegates.
IN COUNCIL, October 9th, 1776.
HoNble SIR: The Schooner, Polly, having arrived from
Bermuda with a Cargo, the Particulars of which will ap-
pear from the Invoices inclosed; and, the Master, Capt.
Bascome, being desirous of obtaining Permission to dis-
pose of the same within this. State; I am advised by the
Council to lay the Case before you, for the Direction of the
Honble General Assembly. I am to inform you, Sir, that
this is the same Vessel which cleared out for Hispaniola
the 25th of July last, in Relation to which the Proceedings
of the Council are herewith sent.
Altho', Sir, the Board are of Opinion that it would be
highly beneficial to indulge the freest Trade with all Coun-
tries, and in the particular Instance before them wish to be
empowered to grant the Permission asked for, the original
Object of the Association having, in their Opinion, van-
ished ever since the Declaration of Independence, yet as
that Association has never been formally abolished, it is
requested that the General Assembly would be pleased to
instruct the Board, for their Conduct in this Affair, & other
I also send you an Order of Council respecting the Dis-
position of Capt. Michael Bowyer's Company of Regulars,
which you will also be pleased to communicate to the As-
sembly. It may be necessary to add, that since the Date
of that Order, I have received Information from Gentle-
men, well acquainted with the Frontiers, that that Com-
pany might be much better employed at Point Pleasant,
now Fort Randolph, in strengthening the Garrison there.
I have the Honor to be
Sir, yr mo. obt. & very h'ble. sert.,
P. HENRY, JR.
To The Honble THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF DELEGATES.
Patrick Henry to the Virginia Delegates in Congress.
IN COUNCIL, WMSBURG, Octr. 11h, 1776.
HoNBLE GENTLEMEN: Having this moment received from
Mr. Calloway, Manager of the Lead-mines, a Return of
what Lead he has on hand, & the Post being just ready to
set out, I have only Time to inform you, that there are
now Ten Tons of Lead, which are ready to be delivered for
the use of the Continental army-Thie Quantity would have
been greater, if there had not been lately a considerable
Demand for supplying our Army sent on the Indian Ex-
pedition. By Christmas, or perhaps sooner, we may be
able to spare as much more.
I should be glad to be informed in what Manner you
would chuse to have it conveyed-If waggons come from
Philadelphia, Mr. Calloway will have orders to load them;
but as this Country is obliged to make great Remittances to
Pennsylvania for goods supplied from thence, & at a Price
far beyond what such Goods have usually borne, it is rea-
sonable that we should embrace every opportunity of enab-
ling ourselves to bear so heavy a Burden. If, therefore, I
should give orders to send the Lead by Waggons belonging
to this Country, I should be glad to have Instructions
where and to whom they are to deliver their Loads.
I am, Gentlemen,
Your most obedient & very h'ble Servt.
P. HENRY J.
20 PATRICK HENRY.
Colonel William Christian to Patrick Henry.
BANK OF BROAD RIVER, October the 14, 1776.
HONBLE SIR: I am now encamped with the Army on the
Bank of Broad river next to the Cherokee Nation. On the
12th. in the evening just before I was about to Encamp, a
white man with a Flag met me about five miles from the
river. He said that the Nation desired peace, and that the
Raven Warrior of Chote in particular had sent him to
desire he might speak to me, & that he did not doubt but
that we should agree, in case I would treat upon reasonable
terms. He told me more over that the advanced par-
ties were at my present Camp, & that the whole strength
of the Nation were expected here that evening, in order
to Oppose my crossing, which was easily to be done at
this Fording without great loss. Yesterday, about twelve
o'clock, I Cane to & formed my Camp on the other side,
from whence it was discovered there were Indians here. I
sent up & down the river to search for fordings, one was
discovered above by our men seeing four Indians pass over,
& below a place unfrequented was found which it was
supposed could be crossed at. Ten o'clock at Night I set
off with betwixt ten and eleven hundred men, 200 of them
mounted on Horses, and by one o'clock in the morning got
over with much danger & difficulty; the river being so
deep & rapid that None of the men could wade, the night
was so very dark I was obliged frequently to make lights,
the river about half a mile, counting the several windings
we were obliged to make; About an hour before day I
marched within a mile of this spot, where I expected the
enemy were, and at Sunrise surrounded the place; but
found no enemy. Upon this I ordered the remaining part
of the Army, with the Provisions & Baggage, to be brought
over, which is now effected.
At twelve o'clock the three men mentioned in my former
letter returned, without a Prisoner, but with intelligence
(but the manner of getting it I must not now mention,
least this may be miscarried,) that the whole Force of the
Nation is now near me, with a determined resolution to
attack me, and to Skirmish at me from here to the Towns;
aiming to destroy the Cattle & Horses, and in Obedience
to Stewart's orders (now at Mobille) never to make Peace, to
Fight & retreat on. It appears also that the Flag was dis-
approved of by most of the Towns, except three under the
influence of the Raven; that he, his Brother, & Capt.
Gist were here, when the white man was sent to me with
the flag. I forgot above to mention my Answer to the
Raven's message, it was: How can he send to me for
peace before he has delivered up Camron, that enemy to
white & red people. How can the Nation think of Ask-
ing peace of me when they retain our Prisoners; How
can they ask a peace when they have the assurance to as-
semble their men to Fight me, if they should dislike my
terms. That I would cross the river, and that I would
Proceed to the Towns. That mercy & Bravery were
Characteristic of the States of America; And that
I should Distinguish betwixt those Towns who had be-
haved well towards us, & others who had not done so.
They have not sent to me Since; but It seems more than
Probable that by the Proposals, although really the sen-
timents of three Towns, the majority hoped to take me
unguarded while a Treaty was on Foot. Six Indians
were seen this day, one Six miles down the river where
I crossed last Night, & four within half a mile of this
Camp. I shall look for an attack to morrow: However I
Judge the enemy will be vexed & disconcerted at finding
me here to-day. It will I dare say take me four or five
days to reach the Towns, as I must march slow & always
in order. It is reported in the Towns that Stewart is
sending 800 Creeks, who are to be there in a few days.
However, be as it may, I shall Proceed, & endeavour to
have matters settled before I return. General Ruther-
ferd has returned to the Seneka Towns, some where
about Keowee, after laying waste the Valley. One of my
accounts say, that he has sent a woman Prisoner with
22 PATRICK HENRY.
Proposals of Peace. Another says, He has not. This is
all I can hear: But I believe it to be certain he has re-
turned. Perhaps Another Flag may come, as the Indians
say we travel as fast as they & seem very impudent.
They attended me all the way from the Island, but seldom
came nearer than to hear the Tapping of the Drums;
which was pretty constant, in order to keep the several
lines in Order. It is now evening, & I intend to march
to morrow by ten o'Clock if possible; Should Anything
new occur before then I will add it.
I am Sir Your Most Obed. Servt.
To His Excellency GovB HENRY.
Capt. James McCall of South Carolina, who was taken
Prisoner the first day of July last by the Cherokees, is now
with me, and a brave man. He had a wife and five
children, and wishes it to be published in the Gazette
that he is here and well. By this means it will get into
the Carolina Paper and reach his family.
Colonel Charles Lewis to Patrick Henry.
CAMP ON FRENCH BROAD rIVER, Oct. 14th, 1776.
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENCE: Yesterday about noon
our whole army arrived at the river, but from the accounts
Col. Christian received from one Harland, a white man whom
the Indians sent with a flag of truce, he did not think it
prudent to attempt crossing in the day. Harland told us
that there were about 7 or 800 Indians lying on the opposite
bank of the river, and that he overtook several parties of
them as he came from their towns, on their way to the river.
About 8 0 clock at night Col. Christian took about 1100 men
with him, and marched down the river about 4 miles to a
ford the spies had discovered, though there was no appear-
ence of its ever being used; crossed safe with all the men,
and after a most surprising march through the woods, ar-
rived at the place the Indians were said to be at, before sun-
rise. But instead of a general engagement, as was expected,
the bank of the river was found clear, and no sign of more
than three or four Indians. Upon which the Col0. ordered
the rest of the army to cross, which was done to-day, and the
whole encamped in good order. From the accounts Col.
Christian received to-day, from three men he had sent to
the Cherokee Towns, we have the greatest reason to expect
an attack in a day or too. Our men are in high spirits, and
really wish for an attack, that they may have it in their
power to chastise the cruel villains.
I am sorry to tell your Excellency, that from sickness and
death, I have not been able to bring but a little more than
300 men of the 2d Battalion on this important expedition.
The men being so very sickly while they were in the service
below, gave the people of the counties that composed the
battalion, such a distaste to the minute service, that a very
few new recruits could be raised by the officers. But the
deficiency has been amply made up, by the activity and good
conduct of Col. Christian in raising the men in the back
I am your Excellency's most Obedient hum'. servt.
His Excellency PATRICK HENRY, Esq.,
Governor in Chief of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Colonel William Christian to Patrick Henry.
BANK OF BROAD RIVER, Octr. 15th, 1776.
HON'BLE SIR: I wrote to you yesterday evening what
news I then had. It is now little after sunrise and I am
preparing to march. About an hour after dark last night,
Captain Gist came in with a flag from the Raven Warriour,
to intercede for Chote. He seems to doubt my other in-
telligence, that the whole force was to fight me. He says
that from the answer I gave the first flag that the Raven
had hopes, and had turned all he had influence over, as the
24 PATRICK HENRY.
enemies' forces were encamped about four miles from here;
that when his party drew off the others followed, and that
yesterday morning great numbers were moving off their
families and corn. He says that Camron offered a great
reward for his head and the man who brought the first Flag.
That he advises the Indians to burn their Towns and Corn,
because they must then depend on him for ammunition to
get meat and by that means to continue the war. He says
that one thousand of the Carolina Side Indians are over
this side. He says that Camron will try to assemble them
all somewhere about Highwassey, and to defend that place,
or to bring them to fight. I intend to speak to some of the
warriors to catch him, if possible. He says there are
several small parties about us who will do what harm they
can, but that no general battle will be fought except when
I cross the Tenesee; or towards Highwassey, if I follow
there. He says that the whole people of the valley and
lower settlements have come over and quit that country.
That their loss of men was very inconsiderable. I judge
the flag was only an excuse for him to get with me. I be-
lieve he is sorry for what he has done. I did intend to
have him put in Irons, but the manner of his coming I believe
will prevent me. The officers tell me that the camp is in
great confusion about him, some think there are many
favourable circumstances attending him, and many for kill-
ing him, of the last the greatest part. I spoke but little
to him, and don't know whether he wants to go back or not.
He says that the Creeks are expected soon.
I believe I shall push first for the Island Town and those
who bred the war, and have thoughts of sparing Chote.
I am sir your most obedient and humble Servant,
To His Excellency PATRICK HENRY, Esq.,
Colonel William Christian to Patrick Henry.
THE ISLAND TOWN, October 23rd, 1776.
HON'BLE SIR: I crossed the Tenesee on the 18th instant,
passed through the Town of Toquo, and encamped in the
Town of Tomatle; on the 19th I moved from Tomatle here,
after passing through the Town of Tuskeege, & a Town on
Telliko river. The Island Town is about six miles from
Toquo where I crossed the river, and it is the lowest on the
River, except a new Town opposite to the lower end of it
called Nioee. I met with no opposition in crossing the
River, and found the Indians had ran off hastily; some of
them had shut their doors, and some had not; they had
carried off their Cloathes & best of their Household goods,
but took but little provisions, the greatest part of them I
Judge went off in Canoes down the Tenesee. They left
Horses, Cattle, Dogs, Hogs, and Fowls. The crops of
Corn and Sweet Potatoes are very great. It appears to me
that in the Towns on this side of the Hills there must be
between forty and fifty thousand Bushels of Corn, and
ten or fifteen thousand Bushels of Potatoes. Harlin, the
man who met me with the Flag at Broad river, says that
every party he delivered my answer to, Turned about
and run home as quick as possible; that he rode fast
from Broad river to the Towns, and that some of them
kept up with him on foot. That the next day after, all the
people in the Towns packed up and Fled; those that did
not go down the river went to the Highwassey river, where
there is a Town, on the path to the Creeks; Camron em-
ployed some of the Indians to kill him and Gist for being
concerned in talking of peace; but that he kept out of their
way. On the 21st I sent two men towards Highwassey,
and two up the river, in order to meet with some of the
Indians, and tell them that as they refused to Fight, I would
now Hear what the Raven and the other Chiefs had to say.
The men that went towards Highwassey returned last night,
and inform me that ten miles from here they met with an
S.. *. .* . .* : ..
...... .. .. *..
. *. .
.. ... .. S .
26 PATRICK HENRY.
old woman and two children, who had been then six days
and nights in the woods,.without Fire or Provisions other
than Grapes and Hawes; the two men made them a Fire
and gave them victuals; they then Proceeded ten miles
farther, and met a young man who had lost his wife, and
was then in search of her; as soon as they saw him, they
called to him to come, on which he clubbed his gun and
came up. His information was, that the Indians were so
much afraid that they would fly before us wherever we went,
that Camron had pushed off for the Creek Nation, as soon
as he knew I had crossed Broad River, with only his own
family and two or three of his wife's relations, one or two
white men, and a young woman, daughter to one Captain
Smith in South Carolina. She was taken prisoner by the
Indians, and bought by Camron from them. He treats her
well; she told him when it was reported I was coming, that
she would run to the army as soon as she could: He answered,
she must not, for the rebels would murder all without dis-
tinction. I wrote to the Raven that as he wished to speak
to me, as I was now here & found His Nation would not
Fight, that I was willing to hear him & the other Chiefs;
that I did not come to war with Women and Children, but
to Fight with men. That His people had better be upon
their guard, Because If they did not comply with my terms
after seeing me, that I should see them safe from my Camp,
and then consider them as Enemies. Three white men, who
have always been our friends, with their wives and Chil-
dren, and the woman and two Children I mentioned above,
are to be in my Camp this morning; they were within three
miles last night. To morrow I expect the Raven, Occunas-
tota, the Carpenter, & many others of the Chiefs; and I
suppose that in three days after I can open a Treaty, or
begin to destroy the Towns and pursue the Indians towards
the Creeks. I know sir, that I could kill and take Hundreds
of them, and starve hundreds by destroying their Corn, but
it would be mostly the women and children, as the men
could retreat faster than I could follow. And I am convinced
that the Virg'a. State would be better pleased to hear, that
-..." '..:- '...
..:*.. .*. . ..
*' *.* **
I shewed pity to the distressed and spared the suppliants,
rather than that I should Commit one act of Barbarity in
the destroying a whole nation of Enemies. I believe that
all the old warriors and all the women in the Nation on
this side of the Hills, were averse to the War; and that the
rest were led on by Camron, sometimes by Bribing them,
and at others by threatening them. A chief called, the
Dragon Canoe, lately raised to Power, went to Mobile last
spring, and came from there with Henry Stuart, and through
the Chickasaws, where Gist Joined them. They brought
in about Three thousand Pounds of good powder & a good
deal of other presents. This Chief was the principal agent
in hastening the war. I came through other Towns, with-
out touching any thing in them, And am now destroying his.
I intend to destroy some others that were under his influence,
whether I make peace, or not, particularly a Town in which
a man was burnt, that was taken at Wataga. It is said here
that Mr. Wilkinson, the agent for South Carolina in lower
Towns, has all along corresponded with Camron, & from
several circumstances I believe it to be true. One McClean
at Augusta Town in Georgia, it is said, has also corresponded
with Camron. I find his intelligence has been pretty good.
He told the Indians that the Carolina armies would be
about 4,000, and the Virginia army about 2,000 men.
When the Shawnese came here with the war belt, they
told these people that they meant to amuse the white people
with treaties, and then fall on them when unexpected, But
amongst them there was not one Chief or a man of note,
nothing has been heard from them since.
When the Carpenter was at Mobille, perhaps between
three weeks and a month ago, he was informed that the
English men of War had taken a number of Vessells belong-
ing to the Continental Fleet, near that place, several small
vessels were brought up to the Town and shewn him as
prizes. As I hope in a week more to know what is to be
done, I do not send this letter by a particular Express, but
by a few Drovers, who intend to move their families to
Kentucky this fall; they will convey it to Botetourt, from
whence I will direct it to be sent by Express to 'Augusta, or
Bedford to which place a post comes with the news papers.
I have now written to the commanding officer at the
Great Island to let me know by express whether the
Shawnese have broke out or not.
I forgot to mention in any former letters that I had left
with the Lieutenant of Botetourt 200 lb Powder, with the
Lieut of Fincastle 300 lb, that I had distributed some
amongst the Forts on Holston, And that I had sent to the
People of Harrodsburg on the head of Salt river, near
Kentucky, 100 lb Powder & 176 lb lead. I sent it by
Capt Harrod & Capt Benj. Logan, who came into the
Inhabitans to procure some, and followed me to the Island
on Holston on that account. I expect to be in Botetourt by
the 20th of November, whether I treat or not, unless I
am detained along the Frontiers of Fincastle and Botetourt
by the Shawnese being broke out.
Mobille is an object worthy of the Publick's attention;
more so than Detroit. There are great quantities of Indian
goods there. I hope to gather a good deal of information
respecting the American Affairs to the Southward before I
go down. The report is here, that the Indians say that they
thought Col. Henderson was sent by Government to buy
land from them. The two members of the Convention
that are with me, will get what information they can about
that affair, as they expect to be at Wmsburg early in De-
cember, & reckon the Convention will not rise until
Christmas, or after it.
If the people can settle in peace, I fear differences about
land near the Carolina line will grow high if something is
not done about it.
I think these Towns are about 60 miles from the Bound-
ary betwixt Carolina & Virga. when extended. South
Carolina formerly gave law to the white people & regulated
the Indian Trade, but if No. Carolina is only one Degree
wide it will take in the Tenesee here. If North Carolina
can take a Degree & half, which it is said by one of its
officers with me, it will have a most valuable part of the
back country. I like it better than the Virginia part on this
side of Ohio.
I am Sir, Your most obedt servant,
To His Excellency GovR PATRICK HENRY.
Willie Jones to Patrick Henry.
HALIFAX, Oct. 25th, 1770.
SIR: Mr. Sharp, a gentleman of our board, who accom-
panied Gen'. Rutherford on the Expedition against the
Cherokees of the Middle & Valley Settlements, having just
returned, we take this opportunity of communicating to
you, pr post, the Intelligence which he brings. Gen'. Ruth-
erford, with his whole Force, whereof we informed You
in our last, marched from the head of Catawba River on
the 1t of Septembr, and arrived, unmolested, and undis-
covered, within thirty miles of the middle settlements;
from thence he ordered a Detachment of one thousand
men, by forced marches, against the Towns, in order to
surprise the enemy. The Detachment, on their way, were
attacked by about thirty Indians, who fired, and immedi-
ately fled, having wounded one man in the foot. It is but
Justice to our Troops to observe, that when they were fired
on, and expected the Enemy on every side, the only Con-
tention among them was, who should be foremost to share
the Danger and the promised Fights. The Detachment
without further Interruption proceeded to the Towns,
which the Indians had evacuated before their arrival, and
destroyed them. From hence about 900 Men, under the
Command of Gen' Rutherford, who had left the main body,
taking ten days provision, marched on against the Valley
Settlements. They found great Difficulties, & were much
embarrassed,.and for want of an intelligent pilot, crossed
the Mountains at an unaccustomed place, by which means
they were to their great Mortification, disappointed of an
encounter with about 500 Indians, who were then, and had
been for several days before, lying in Ambuscade on the
common crossing place. Two days after this Colo. Wil-
liamson, with the South Carolina Troops, crossing at the
usual place, fell into the Ambuscade, was attacked, and lost
twelve killed & twenty wounded, but defeated and put the
Enemy to the Rout, with the Loss of about 14 killed.
Their Loss is supposed to be much greater, but only four-
teen were found upon the ground. Gen'. Rutherford de-
stroyed the greater part of the Valley Towns, killed twelve
& took nine Indians, and made prisoners seven white Men,
from whom he got four Negroes, a considerable quantity of
Stock and Deer Leather, about 100 wt of Gunpowder &
200 wt of Lead, to the amount of 2,500 prov. which they
were conveying to Mobile. Colo. Williamson, with the So.
Carolina Forces, now joined Gen'. Rutherford, & having
destroyed all the Towns, the Corn and every thing which
might be of Service to the Indians, it was determined by the
Commanding Officers to return to their respective States,
it being utterly impracticable to go against the Overhill
Cherokees, the gap thro' the Mountains being impass-
able for an Army in case of opposition. Gen'. Rutherford's
Army was Never opposed by any considerable body of In-
dians. He lost three men only. Mr. Sharp supposes that
many of the Indians lay concealed in the Mountains, that
Some had gone to the Overhills; but that the greater part
had fled Southwestward, to Coosawatee River, bordering on
the Upper Creeks. Should your army meet with any
signal success against the Overhills, or should they only
destroy their Towns & Corn, we flatter ourselves that the
Southern States will suffer no farther Damage this season
from the Savages, as it will employ their whole time to
provide sustenance & shelter for their squaws & children.
We are with the greatest Respect Sir,
Your Most obed. & Most hum'ble Servts.
By Order of Council, WILLIE JONES, preS'dt.
To His Excellency PATRICK HENRY, JUN.
Richard Henry Lee to Patrick Henry.
PHILADELPHIA, Srd Dec., 1776.
DEAR Sm: The present moment is critical in the Ameri-
can war. The enemy have taken vigorous advantage of the
space between the old and the new enlistments, and have
rushed like a torrent through the Jersies, our little army of no
more than 5,000 men under the command of Genl. Wash-
ington being compelled to retreat rapidly before them. The
object is this city, and they were on sunday last at Bruns-
wick, about 60 miles off in the Jersies. The Associators
are at length alarmed and turning out to reinforce the Gen-
neral, but they move rather slower than the important stake
demands. We hear that Gen. Lee has crossed North river
and is following quickly after the enemy, but we are not
sure that his numbers are sufficient for any thing decisive.
However, if the people here have any title to the freedom
they claim, Mr. Howe will not be gratified with the posses-
sion of this city. And if he gained 20 such Cities, still he
would be short of gaining the point meditated over America.
You remember, Sir, we told them from the beginning that
we looked on our Cities and Sea Coasts as devoted to de-
struction, but that ample resources were still left for a
numerous, brave, and free people to be content with.
Our latest accounts from the French W. Indies tell us
that war between G. B. and France and Spain is inevitable,
and must be immediate.
I hope our winter councils will be every where devoted
solely to the purpose of carrying on a vigorous, active, and
early campaign. For this purpose the recruiting officers in
all quarters should be often called upon by the respective
governments to know how they go on, and to urge them to
quick and effectual execution of the business. Every thing,
my dear Sir, depends upon the new levies being early
ready. Col. Charles Harrison leaves this place to-day with
250,000 dollars under his care for the use of our forces in
Virginia, and for paying the bounties. Your recommenda-
32 PATRICK HENRY.
tion of this Gentleman, seconded by his real merit, has pro-
cured him the command of a regiment of artillery, to be raised
in Virginia, Congress having resolved to keep the artillery
and engineer's departments under immediate continental in-
spection. The other day we dispatched for the Head of Elk
to the care of Mr. Hollingsworth there, the arms taken from
our soldiers here that better might be put in their hands.
They are between 7 & 8 hundred in number, and may be
had from thence when you are pleased to receive them.
With some repair they will do tolerably for the new levies.
I am extremely pleased to hear that you have recovered
your health, may it long continue good.
I am with great regard, dear Sir,
Your most affectionate and obedient,
RICHARD HENRY LEE.
Business and alarm press so constantly that we have scarce
one moment to spare.
His Excellency PATRICK HENRY, JR.
Patrick Henry to Richard Peters, Esq., at the War Offce,
WILLIAMSBURGH, Dec. 6, 1776.
SIR: I lost no Time in laying your Letter before our As-
sembly, & late last night they did resolve, that the Troops
of Horse (Six) shall be marched to join General Washington.
I have issued the necessary Orders this morning to the
Major Coffandant to prepare for the march. But before it
can be begun I fear a considerable Time will elapse, owing
to the Troopers beingin want of many necessary. I shall as
soon as possible transmit to you an Acct of such things as
cannot be had here for them, that they may be got with you.
The prisoners of War are scattered in different places in this
State, but will be collected & sent to Brunswick. I am,
Y' mo. obt Servt,
P. HENRY JR
Patrick Henry to Richard Peters, Esq., at the War Ofice,
WMSBUsRH, Dec' 18t, 1776.
SIn: Inclosed is a List of Necessarys wanted for the
Cavalry of this Commonwealth, which are ordered to Join
Gen' Washington agreeable to a Requisition of Congress.
A few things comprised in this List have been furnished
here. Perhaps 100 arms or thereabouts will be found in the
Troops when they arrive with you. I have the Honor to be
Yr mo. hble Servt,
P. HENRY, JR.
P.S. The Prisoners of War are not yet sent. The Opera-
tions your way may possibly induce some alterations of the
former Requisitions. Please to inform me.
[Enclosure: "List of necessary referred to.]
Richard Henry Lee to Patrick Henry.
BALTIMORE, December 18t, 1776.
The movements of the enemy's army in the Jerseys, by
which the neighborhood of Philadelphia had become the
seat of war, determined Congress to adjourn from thence
to this town, where public business will be entered on the
20 instant, unless a sufficient number of members should
be assembled to begin sooner. At this place the public
business can be conducted with more deliberation and un-
disturbed attention, than could be the case in a city subject
to perpetual alarm, and that had necessarily been made a
place of arms. The propriety of this measure was strongly
enforced by the continental Generals Putnam and Mifflin,
who commanded in Philadelphia, and who gave it as their
34 PATRICK HENRY.
opinion, that, although they did not consider the town as
liable to fall into the enemy's hands but by surprise, yet
that possibility rendered it improper for Congress to con-
So long as the American Army kept together the enemy's
progress was extremely limited, but they knew and seized
the opportunity of coming forward, which was occasioned
by the greater part of the army dispersing in consequence
of short enlistments; and this indeed was a plan early
founded on hopes of accommodation, and for the greater
ease of the people.
When a new Army is assembled, the enemy must again
narrow their bounds, and this demonstrates the necessity of
every State exerting every means to bring the new levies
into the field with all possible expedition. It is the only
sure means of placing America on the ground where every
good man would wish to see it.
The British army is at present stationed along the Dela-
ware from above Trenton, on the Jersey side, to Burlington,
about 20 miles above Philadelphia. General Washington,
with near 6000 men, is on the river side, opposite to Trenton;
and the gondolas, with other armed vessels, are stationed
from Philadelphia to Trenton, to prevent the passage of
the Delaware. General Lee, with about 5000 men, remains
on the enemy's rear, a little to the westward of their line
of march through the Jerseys.
In this State, if the country associators of Pennsylvania,
and from this neighborhood, reinforce the General with a
few thousands, so as to enable him to press the enemy's
front, it may turn out a happy circumstance that they have
been encouraged to leave their ships so far behind.
We have good reason to expect a general war in Europe
soon, and we have such proof of the friendship of France,
as to leave little doubt of the willingness of that country to
The enclosed handbill will sufficiently instruct the Ameri-
cans what treatment they are to expect from the cruel dis-
turbers of their peace, and evince the necessity of the most
speedy and manly exertions to drive these foes of the human
race from this continent.
I am, &c.,
RICHARD HENRY LEE.
His Excellency PATRICK HENRY, JR.
Handbill inclosed in letter of R. H. Lee of December 18,
BUCK'S COUNTY, NEW JERSEY, Dec. 14, 1776.
The progress of the British and Hessian troops through
New Jersey has been attended with such scenes of desolation
and outrage as would disgrace the most barbarous nations.
Among innumerable other instances, the following are au-
thenticated in such a manner as leaves no doubt of their
William Smith, of Smith's farm, near Woodbridge, hear-
ing the cries of his daughter rushed into the room, and found
a Hessian attempting to ravish her.
In an agony of rage and resentment, he instantly killed
him, but the Officer's party soon came upon him, and he now
lies mortally wounded at his ruined and plundered dwelling.
On Monday morning they entered the house of Samuel
Stout, Esq., in Hopewell, where they destroyed his deeds,
papers, furniture, and effects of every kind, except what they
plundered. They took every horse away, left his house and
barn in ruin, injuring him to the value of 20001. in less than
Old Mr. Phillips, his neighbor, they pillaged in the same
manner, and then cruelly beat him.
On Wednesday last three women came down to the Jersey
Shore in great distress, upon which a detachment of the
American Army went and brought them off, when it ap-
peared that they had been all very much abused, and the
youngest of them, a girl about 15, had been ravished that
morning by a British officer.
A number of young women in Hopewell, to the amount
36 PATRICK HENRY.
of 16, flying from this ravishing and cruel enemy, took re-
fuge on the mountain near Ralph Hart's; but information
being given of their retreat, they were soon brought down
into the British camp, where they have been kept ever since.
The fine settlements of Maidenhead and Hopewell are en-
tirely broke up. No age or sex has been spared; the
houses are stripped of every article of furniture, and what
is not portable is entirely destroyed : the flocks of cattle and
sheep are drove off, every article of clothing and house linen
seized and carried away, scarce a soldier in the army but
what has a horse loaded with plunder; hundreds of families
are reduced from comfort and affluence to poverty and ruin,
left, at this inclement season, to wander through the woods
without house or clothing. If these scenes of desolation,
ruin, and distress, do not rouse and animate every man of
spirit to revenge their much injured countrymen & country
women, all virtue, honour, and courage must have left this
country, and we deserve all we shall meet with, as there can
be no doubt the same scene will be acted in this province
upon our own property, and our beloved wives and daughters.
It is hoped by all good men that the above relation will
induce the brave Militia of Maryland immediately to comply
with the recommendation of the Continental Congress, by
marching, without delay, to reinforce General Washington's
army, that a stop may be put to the progress of these cruel
foreign spoilers; and that our much injured country folks in
the Jerseys may be revenged, and the rapine and devastation
committed there be prevented from reaching this State.
Richard Henry Lee to Patrick Henry.
BALTIMORE, 9th January, 1777.
DEAR SIR: I have no doubt but that Mr. President in-
closed you with his last dispatches the printed account of
General Washington's success at Trenton. The number of
Hessian prisoners there made do not fall much short of
1100. Since that event we have had no regular account
from the army, but from a committee of Congress at Phila-
delphia we have the accounts brought into Philadelphia by
a number of persons, and believed there, in substance as fol-
lows: The British forces stationed at Brunswick, Trenton,
and other places in New Jersy, hearing of the success at
Trenton, collected and marched towards that place to attack
our army, now strengthened by the junction of all its de-
tatchments, and by several corps of Militia. Gen. Wash-
ington ordered two Brigades to advance on the Princeton
road and interrupt the enemies march. About 3 miles
from Trenton they met the enemy, and being attacked by a
much superior force, were compelled to retreat, which they
did slowly, keeping up a retreating engagement until they
joined the main body, drawn up on a high ground on this
side of a bridge that divides the village of Trenton nearly
in two parts. The enemy attempting to force the bridge
were received by Gen. Mifflin with the Philadelphia ma-
litia and a number of Field pieces, which drove them back
with great loss, and some batteries being now opened on the
heights commanding the enemies' part of the town, they
were soon obliged to quit it with loss. The armies still
continued posted opposite each other until midnight, when
Gen. Washington (having reced. certain intelligence that
Gen. Howe was on his march in person with a large rein-
forcement to join his army) having previously directed large
fires to be made to deceive the enemy, decampt, made a
forced march that night to meet Gen. Howe, met with him
at a place called Quakers bridge, gave him battle, and
routed his troops, taking from 6 to 800 prisoners. Pursu-
ing the fugitives he entered Princeton, where a number of
officers, 6 or 7 field pieces, and the 40th regiment were taken.
The British army that remained at Trenton knew nothing
of General Washington's designs until they heard the firing
next morning, and then, having possessed themselves of the
heights for some time, they retreated towards Brunswick
along the Pennytown road, a circuitous western way, leav-
ing the place of engagement on the right hand a good dis-
tance. This extraordinary motion, denotes panic, because
their direct rout to the scene of action was along the road
to Princetown, as thus
NOTE.-For the sake of clearness Lee's diagram has been supplemented by a
map of the surrounding country.
The account goes on that our army was pursuing from
Princeton to Brunswick, where the enemy had some large
stores kept. We know that Gen. Heath with above 3000
men is about Hackingsack, and Col. Ford with 1500 Jersey
militia is before him in the way to Trenton. This is the
posture we understand things to be in, and we wait in
hourly expectation of receiving authentic intelligence of the
total rout of the enemies' army in Jersey, and their dis-
graceful evacuation of that state. Thus we bid fair to de-
rive great advantage from what we once apprehended
would injure us extremely, the dispersion of our army.
The enemy knowing we had no army, and trusting to
their Tory intelligence that no forces could be collected,
had divided their troops in such a manner as to expose
them to ruin from militia only, or chiefly so; for except-
ing about 1500 Eastern troops, the same number of Vir-
ginians, about 200 of Smallwood's Marylanders and a
broken Pennsylvania regiment, the rest of Gen. Washing-
ton's army is militia. Another valuable consequence will
result from this success, it will prove to our enemies that
America, without an army, is formidable in its militia.
For sudden exertions the militia certainly do well, but they
cannot bear the continued discipline of camps and cam-
paigns. This certainly makes it of the last importance that
our regular army should be assembled with all possible dis-
patch, and such you will find to be the sense of congress by
their requests to the several states for this purpose. Our
wicked enemy to freedom and all its friends are actually
preparing to try Gen. Lee by a special court martial. For
it seems that in order to be aided by a court martial that
gentleman's resignation of his commission was not accepted.
We have sent to remonstrate with Mr. Howe on this sub-
ject, to demand Gen. Lee's enlargement on his parole, and
to assure that the same infliction exactly that is applied to
Gen. Lee shall directly be applied to 5 Hessian Field offi-
cers and Col. Campbell, their favorite engineer, who shall
be reserved for the special purpose. We have offered 6
Hessian field officers in exchange for Gen. Lee.
I heartily wish you the compliments of the season, and
am with great esteem, dear sir, your most affectionate and
RiciHiD HBENY LEE.
His Excellenoy PATRICK HENRY, EsQ.
Governor of Virginia.
Be pleased to let the scheme of lottery be published in
our papers, that people may be prepared against the Tickets
40 PATRICK HENRY.
Richard Henry Lee to Patrick Henry.
BALTIMORE, 17th Jany, 177.
DEAR SI: I am favoured with yours by Maj. Johnston,
and I should certainly have served him to the utmost of
my power in Congress, if the appointment you proposed for
Maj. Johnston had not now been in another channel. You
know Sir, that by the resolve of Congress the General is to
fill up all vacancies in the Continental troops that shall
happen for six months from the date of the resolve. I
have recommended it to the Major to get a letter from you
and the council, with one from Colonel Harrison, to the
General in his favour, and if he is very intent on success,
to carry them himself. I think this will not fail to procure
him the commission he desires, and in the mean time, the
Liutenants and Ensign may be recruiting the company.
We have not heard from Gen. Washington since the 5th in-
stant, when he was at Morris Town in West Jersey, about 20
miles from Brunswick where the. enemy keep their head
quarters. But a Gentleman who arrived here yesterday,
and who passed through our army at Morris Town on the
8th, says, the men were in high spirits, that he thinks they
were 12,000 strong, that they were under marching orders,
and they were supposed to be going towards Elizabeth
Town, which is between the main body of the enemy and
New York. That Gen. Heath was to join them on the 9th
with between 2 and 5 thousand men. That the Jersey mili-
tia had many skirmishes with the British troops and always
beat them. That he met large bodies of militia on march
to the Jersies, whence he concluded that the enemy must
either quit that state soon, or be exposed to great danger by
remaining there. Unluckily our army consists almost en-
tirely of Militia, whose stay is very uncertain, and renders
the speedy coming of regular troops absolutely necessary.
I am with very particular regard and esteem dear sir,
Your most obedient and most humble Servant,
RICHARD 11ENRY LEE.
His Excellency PATRICK HENRY.
Patrick Henry to Colonel William Christian.
HANOVER, Jan. 24th, 1777.
SIR: I laid your last despatches by Mr. Morrison before
the council, and upon considering the distressed situation of
the Cherokees, and that the long absence occasioned by a
journey to Williamsburg might be detrimental to their pri-
vate affairs, and possibly give the disaffected an opportunity
to further their designs, the council board have come to a
resolution that the Indian Chiefs may be met at the most
convenient place near the great island. They advise me to
appoint yourself, Col. William Preston and Major Evan
Shelby, to be commissioners on behalf of Virginia, to nego-
tiate with the Cherokees on all such matters as may be found
necessary for ratifying the late convention held at their
towns, or establishing a firm and lasting peace with their
Nation on terms of equity and mutual advantage. In con-
formity, I do hereby appoint you Sir, Colo. William Preston
and Major Evan Shelby, to meet the Indian Chiefs, and
to negotiate with them, for the above purposes. You may
expect to receive from me some further instructions touch-
ing the Treaty, but in the meantime I judged it proper to
send you this by express, that the affair may be put into
motion, and the necessary notice and preparations may be
thought of. You will please to order the several things
necessary for the reception of the Indians, and give me no-
tice of any thing you want from below, or the solution of
any question on which you may desire to be instructed. I
am Sir your most h'bl servt,
P. HENEY, JR.
COL. WILLIAM CHBISTIAN.
Richard Henry Lee to Patrick Henry.
BALTIMORE, Jan'y 80, 1777.
DEAR SIR: 'Tis with much pleasure I inform you, that our
affairs in the Jersies wear as favorable an aspect as we could
possibly expect. And if the militia remain with the Gen-
42 PATRICK HENRY.
eral until the recruits get up, I verily believe the business
of the campaign will be nearly finished for the winter.
Wonderful as it may seem, yet it is a fact, that our great
success in Jersey since the 24th of Deer has been obtained
by an army chiefly irregular, and much inferiour in number
to the regular force of the enemy. And the Army that now
so greatly and so ignominiously distress the British force at
Brunswick, is inferior in numbers to the one it now confines
to the Brunswick hills. The committee of Congress at
Philadelphia tell us, a report has come there of an engage-
ment between Gen. Sullivan's detatchment of the Army near
Brunswick, and a strong detatchment of the enemy. The
issue not certainly known, but they say a person immedi-
ately from Brunswick relates, that the British light horse
came in much confusion from the field of battle to that
Town, calling for a reenforcement. We therefore hope
hourly for good news from that quarter, nor are we without
hopes of a good account from N. York. We know they
were in a very defenceless situation lately, and if the mo-
tions of Gen. Heath are not too slow, so that reinforcements
may come from Rhode Island, or be sent from Jersey for
the defence of New York, he will go near to free that city
from the Tyrant's Troops. We have no late news from
Europe except by the way of Halifax, where the report is,
that a war between France and G. Britain is inevitable, and
the B. officers there say, The damn'd Rebels would keep
America yet." I hope the rightful owners will keep Amer-
ica, and in despite of all the efforts of Tyranny & its tools.
Farewell dear sir, affectionately yours,
RICHARD HENRY LEE.
His Excellency PATRICK HENRY.
Richard Henry Lee to Patrick Henry.
BALTIMORE, 6th Feby, 1777.
DEAR SIR: The events of war having not been con-
siderable lately, this is chiefly intended to enclose you the
British king's speech to his Parliament, which you will see
in the News paper. Skirmishes are daily happening between
our troops and the foraging parties of the enemy, in which
we seldom fail to beat them and take their forage. Their
numbers are this way daily decreasing, and the survivors
in great distress for food and feed. The many horses
we have taken from them are emaciated extremely. If our
new army can be got up in good time I hope we shall deal
effectually with these Tyrant Tools. Mr. Page writes us
that a Vessel has arrived with you that brings continental
soldier's cloaths. I hope that these being put on the backs
of your new recruits, will greatly forward the new inlist-
ments. That the troops should expeditiously join the Gen-
eral is a point so clearly necessary, that I am sure you will
promote it with all your power.
I am, very affectionately yours,
RICHARD HENRY LEE.
His Excellency PATRICK HENRY.
Patrick Henry to the Virginia Delegates in Congress.
W'"BnuGH, Feb. 11th, 1777.
GENTLEMEN: MF Clements of Major Bland's Regiment
is accompanyd by two Gentlemen who served the King of
Prussia in. last War, the one as Capt, the other as
Lieutenant of Cavalry. They are last from St. Eustatia
and have papers which they call Credentials, but which are
not intelligible to me, being in the german Language.
The Council concur with me in opinion that they may be
highly serviceable at this Time, as a large Body of Cavalry
is soon to be raised, and our officers must be generally in-
experienced in that service. They are therefore reco i-
ended to you, in Hopes that their Merit will one day amply
compensate for any favor they may receive from Congress.
Two Brass field pieces were sent to this State from Phila-
delphia some time ago. The continental Regiment of Ar-
tillery now raising here will carry them away, I expect, when
they march. The officers will not permit them at present
to be taken into the service of this Country, but keep them
in their Corps of Artillery. We are exceedingly distressed
for want of Field Pieces; and if Congress can spare us the
above, we will gladly pay for them, & acknowledge the
Favor. With great Regard I have the Honor to be
Yr mo. ob? h'ble serv?
P. HENRY, J.
Patrick Henry to the Lieutenant of .Montgomery County.
WMSBURGH, March 10*, 1777.
SIR: You are to embody fifty men of your militia under
the usual officers, and order them to Kentuckie. In con-
junction with fifty others from Botetourt, they are to Pro-
tect and defend the Settlers there, 'til further orders. In
case it shall be judged impossible to hold the Country with
this Reinforcement joined to the Inhabitants there, they
are to escort all the People with their Effects to the near-
est place of safety, and then to disband, if no other orders
are given by me, or by my Direction.
This detachment to Kentuckie must be victualled there,
as I understand Provisions are plenty and cheap.
The great variety of War in which this State is engaged,
makes it impossible to spare such a number of men for this
Expedition as I could wish; and also requires that you
raise the men in the interior parts of your County least
liable to Invasion
You will give the officer you send orders conformable to
the above. If a field officer of Kentuckie should be on the
spot, he will take the command. If not, the eldest Cap-
tain that commands the Reinforcement.
y' mo. ob'. h'ble servt,
P. HENRY, JR.
P. S.-There is powder I hear arrived at Kentuckie.
Lead must be had with you. An order accompanys this.
LIEUTENANT OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY.
Patrick Henry to Thomas Johnson, Governor of Mary-
WILLIAMSBURG, 12th March, 1777.
SIR: Having received a letter from the Delegates of this
State in general Congress, acquainting me on the authority
of a well informed friend to America residing in London,
that the war is likely to go on another year, in which case
Chesapeake Bay is to be the Seat, & more particularly the
Eastern shore will be the first object, or place of landing;
it naturally occurs, (what also our Delegates recommend,)
that in this common danger it is exceedingly necessary to
confer with you upon the subject of assistance to be mutu-
ally afforded, and the cooperation of the forces of each State.
Everything which can possibly be done by us, may be
depended on, yet I cannot but lament our impotence, aris-
ing in great measure from the peculiarity of our situation
respecting the Eastern shore. The difficulty of Transport-
ing Troops thither, to oppose an Enemy who will have the
absolute command of the Bay which divides us, or of bring-
ing them back again, whenever opportunity may invite the
Enemy to change their design and invade this Western
shore, is as obvious as it is melancholy. Thus circum-
stanced, altho' difficulties must not discourage, and we ought
to put forth our utmost exertions, I am constrained to ob-
serve, that they may possibly prove so insurmountable, as
to throw the defence of that Country principally upon your
The Shoaliness of all that Coast rendering it impossible
for the larger ships of War to lie near the shore, suggests
the utility of Gallies which are so constructed as to Sail in
shallow water; & are too strong for such smaller vessels as
will probably be employed to effect a landing. In this
idea, I have ordered two of the Row Gallies belonging to
this State to be stationed on the Eastern shore; and two
Companies in the service of the United States, will, I ex-
pect, be shortly transported there.
46 PATRICK HENRY.
The Congress recommend to us the Removal of the Cat-
tle and other Stock, that the Enemy may not find there Re-
sources for the ensuing Campaign, as they did for the last
at Long Island. But besides the very great difficulty al-
ways attending such a measure, the proposal of which in
this case has already created a murmuring among the peo-
ple on the Shore, I find myself not a little embarrassed by
the proceedings of our Convention, when similar circum-
stances seemed to demand the removal of stock from Prin-
cess Anne and Norfolk Counties. They were of such a
nature as to put me under the necessity of leaving things
as they are in that respect, 'till I can have an opportunity
of laying the matter before the General Assembly, or at
least till an actual Invasion shall take place. I wish to be
favored with your sentiments on this important subject as
soon as may be, and have the honor to be,
P. HENRY, JR
His Excellency THo". JOHNSON.
Patrick Henry to George Morgan, Esq., Superintendent
of Indian Afairs, and Colonel John Nevill.
WILLIAMSBURGH, March 12th, 1777.
GENTLEMEN: YOU will perceive by the Papers which
accompany this, that the Indians at Pluggy's Town are to
be punished in an exemplary manner. When you apply to
the Shawnese & Delawares on the subject, it may not be
amiss to observe to them, that these villainous Indians, by
their frequent mischiefs, may breed Suspicions against
innocent friends & Allies; for it is often difficult to tell
what Nation are the Offenders.
Willing to cultivate that good understanding that subsists
between Virginia & their Nations, the Shawnese & Dela-
wares cannot take umbrage at the march against the
Pluggy's Town people, more especially as the latter march
through the Country of the former when they attack us.
You will readily understand the delicacy of the Business
in opening this matter to the Chiefs. -Many, if trusted,
may not keep the secret. If the Enemy have warning, the
Expedition will produce but little good compared to what
may be expected if they are attacked by surprise.
You will please to communicate to the Allies of this
State the strict orders given to the Officers & Soldiers, not
to molest or offend any but the Enemy of Pluggy's Town;
& that orders are given to spare the Women and Children,
and such men as submit.
I take the liberty to remind you, that the success of the
Enterprise depends upon the address & propriety which
will, I hope, distinguish your conduct in communicating this
affair to the Shawnese & Delawares.
I trust Gentlemen, that you will leave nothing in your
power undone, that may tend to give success to a measure
so necessary for the well being of your Country; and that
you will not confine yourselves to the strict line of duty, with
respect to what falls into the business of each Officer respec-
tively, but act on the most liberal plan for promoting the
I have the Honour to be,
Gentlemen Y' most Obt h'ble Servt,
P. HENRY, JR.
P.S.-You will communicate every thing necessary to the
Officer who is to command in chief.
P.S.-If it is judged best to go part of the way to Pluggy's
Town by water, let it be so-this may avoid perhaps all
offence to other Indians.
To GEORGE MORGAN, & COLO. JOHN NEVILL,
Or in the Absence of the latter,
To ROBERT CAMPBELL, EsQ., PITTSBURGH.
48 PATRICK HENRY.
Patrick Henry to John Hancock.
WMSBURGH, March 28th, 1777.
Sm: I am honored by your Despatch of the 13th, & I'm
sorry to observe that it gives me some embarrassment.
Tis very true we have a Gun Factory at Fredericksburgh,
& I believe there are some arms finished there.
I should have been obliged to your Informant had he
mentioned to me the State of it, that I might have com-
pared the number of Arms with the public occasions for
them, whereby an estimate might have been formed of
the number to be spared, & to what Quarter or Corps of
Troops the General Interest required them to be sent.
Yesterday I ordered the Keeper of the public Magazine
to furnish me with a Return of the public Arms, having
engaged to deliver Col Mason all that can be spared, for
his Regiment. You will therefore perceive the necessity
of postponing the Delivery of the Arms to Colo Stevens un-
til this matter is settled with Colo Mason.
Congress will be pleased to excuse me when I observe,
there is propriety in the Executive power of this State
taking up the business of distributing the few arms we
have among the Troops we raise, according as various local
circumstances may require. Would Congress be pleased,
Sir, to call upon me for information as to our Stock of
public Arms, they might depend upon receiving a true one.
With great regard I have the Honor to be,
Yr mo. obt & very h'ble Servt,
P. HENRY, JR
HONBLE M' HANCOCK,
President of the Congre8s.
Robert Pleasants to Patrick Henry.
CuRLES, 3d mo., 28, 1777.
RESPECTED FRIEND: A knowledge of thy sentiments, a
remembrance of former favors, and thy present exalted sta-
tion, induceth me to offer a few hints to thy consideration,
which being, as I apprehend, of great importance, may not
be unworthy a serious thought at some leisure moment. It
is in respect to slavery, of which thou art not altogether
a stranger to mine, as well as some others of our friends
sentiments, and perhaps too thou may have been informed,
that some of us from a full conviction of the injustice, and
an apprehension of duty, have been induced to embrace the
present favorable juncture, when the representatives of the
people have nobly declared all men equally free, to manu-
mit divers of our negroes; and propose, without any desire
to offend or thereby to injure any person, to invest more of
them with the same inestimable priviledge. This I con-
ceive was necessary to inform the Governor of, especially
as I have been told there hath not been wanting some busie
meddling people, who have threatened to put in force the
former most unjust and unreasonable law, empoweringg the
church wardens to take up and sell such manumitted ne-
groes for slaves,) and that application hath actually been
made to thee for this very purpose; altho' from a knowl-
edge of thy sentiments on this subject, I am far from
thinking, such application would meet with any encourage-
ment from thee. Indeed few, very few, are now so insen-
sible of the injustice of holding our fellow men in Bond-
age, as to undertake to vindicate it; nor can it be done in
my apprehension, without condemning the present meas-
ures in America; for if less injury offered to ourselves
from the mother Country, can justify the expense of so
much Blood and Treasure, how can we impose with pro-
priety absolute slavery on others? It hath often appeared
to me as if this very matter was one, if not the principal
cause of our present troubles, and that we ought first to
50 PATRICK HENRY.
have cleansed our own hands, before we could consistently
oppose the measures of others, tending to the same pur-
pose; and I firmly believe the doing this justice to the in-
jured Africans, would be an acceptable offering to him who
"Rules in the Kingdoms of men," and "giveth Wisdom
to the wise, and knowledge to those who have understand-
ing," and for a purpose too of his own Glory; and happy
will it be for us if we apply our Talents accordingly; for
such it is that are often made a Blessing to themselves, to
their posterity, and to mankind in General. But if on the
contrary we seek our own glory, and present interest, by
forbidden means, how can we expect peace here, or hap-
piness hereafter ? O may we therefore, break off our sins
by Righteousness, and our iniquities by shewing mercy to
the poor, if haply it may be a lengthening of our tranquil-
ity." The declaration of Rights is indeed Noble, and I
can but wish and hope, thy great abilities and interest may
be exerted towards a full and clear explanation and con-
firmation thereof; for without that, the present struggle
for liberty, if successful, would be but partial, and instead
of abolishing, might lay the foundation of greater imposi-
tion, and Tiranny to our posterity than any we have yet
known : And considering the uncertainty of future events,
and all human foresight, the immediate posterity of those
now in power might be effected by such partiality, as well
as others whose grievances might remain unredressed. It
would therefore become the interest, as well as duty, of a
wise and virtuous legislature in forming a government, to
establish a general, uniform and constant liberty, as well
Civil as religious; for this end, I just propose to drop a
hint, which hath appeared to me as likely to accomplish
the great and wise end of a general freedom, without the
dangers and inconveniences which some apprehend from a
present total abolition of slavery, as any thing that hath
occurred to me, and perhaps might be as generally ap-
proved; which is to Enact, that all children of slaves to be
born in future, be absolutely free at the usual ages of 18
and 21, and that all such who are convinced of the injustice
of keeping slaves, and willing to give up the property which
the law hath invested them with, may under certain regu-
lations, (so as not at an age to become chargable, or from
other impediments obnoxious to the community,) have free
liberty to do it. By such a law I apprehend the children
would be educated with proper notions of freedom, and be
better fitted for the enjoyment of it, than many now are; the
state secured from intestine Enemies and convulsions, (which
some think would attend a total immediate discharge,) its
true interest promoted, in proportion to the number of free-
men interested in its peace and prosperity, and above all, to
do that justice to others which we contend for, and claim as
the unalterable birthright of every man. It surely can
never be consistent with Reason or equity, for a law to in-
vest me with absolute property in my fellow creatures, and
at the same time debar me from disposing of that property
according to my own will and desire; this, as far as my
knowledge in History extends, was never disallowed under
any form of government, when slavery was the general lot
of captives taken in War; and should Christians so far de-
generate from the practice of heathen, as not only with
them to enslave Captives, but entail Bondage on their in-
nocent offspring, and then on their unhappy possessors for-
ever I must now beg thy excuse for these Remarks. And
wishing thy present and future happiness, I remain very re-
spectfully Thy assured Friend,
To GovT PATRICK HENRY
Patrick Henry to General Adam Stephen.
W-BUa~H, Mar. 81, 1777.
You tell me, my dear General, more in a paragraph, than
others do in a page. Continue your agreeable correspond-
ence, & gratify that curiosity which is eager to know every
circumstance of the Army at this interesting Period. Poor
Thurston met with a Rebuff I hear. I am anxious for him
52 PATRICK HENRY.
to live, & in the next affair that he may have better
Pray how are your people armed, & what prospect have
you as to arms in future. Great exertions are made here to
import & fabricate. I hope Congress have thot of doing so
in Time. We have abt 100,000 lbs powder. The Hunters
make very fine, & in plenty. I am just sending sulphur to
them. It is the only ingredient they want.
The Cherokees are likely to plague us again. Those whose
Towns are destroyed lay out & war on our people. I fear
their party increases so as to become formidable. Orders
are dispatched as to Pluggy's Town. Give me your opinion
as to Pittsburgh. Its great importance you know. If that
is lost, we shall retain no post from the Gulf of St. Lawrence
to the mouth of Mississippi. I hear a Fort is building at
Sanduske. Stewart is gone to the Ohio Nations, many of
whom I fear are Enemys. In this situation may not an ar-
mament come agt Fort Pitt; especially if there is no Diver-
sion in Canada. By attacking that Fortress the Enemy will
act systematically, as Howe seems to make an impression in
Jersey. But I wish for your sentiments as to the number
of Troops necessary for that Garrison. I have ordered some
Cannon & repairs there. But the great distance wont per-
mit me to know how the Orders are executed. Enlisting
goes on badly. Terrors of the small-pox .added to the Lies
of Deserters &c &c, deter but too many. Indeed the ob-
stacles & discouragements are great.
My Kinsman Winston, whom you mention, is clever. He
is a gentleman that may be rely'd on. He commands a com-
pany of Continental Regulars from Hanr County. I shall
tell him of yours. How many subalterns do you want An
army of them may be had. Is there any certainty of their
being provided for ? As they are but low in cash they are
shy of going so far, unless on a certainty.
Adieu, my dear Sir. May we live to see the happy Days
of Victory, & safety which will result from that alone; &
may the present Times be remembered by us with that
pleasure which a wise Improvement of them will give. May
you long live in the full enjoyment of that Happiness you
so nobly struggle to give your country.
P. HENRY, J.
Patrick Henry to the Oficere who were to command the
Forces marching to the help of Kentucky.
MARCH 29th, 1777.
GENT": The Quantity of Provisions & the No. of Pack
Horses are great, but the service being necessary, it must be
done, tho' I hope it may be conducted on the cheapest terms
Circumstances will allow. I suppose the meat must be had
in your Parts, but the Flour had better be had out ye G.
Island, or purchased with you & waggon'd to that Place,
where there are a N. of Public horses that may be taken
to carry it to Kentuckie. Let the horses be brought imme-
diately & left at such Place as Colo. Shelby directs, as they
may be wanted again to visit the Cherokees; and without
them great inconvenience may arise. The Officer command-
ing your Militia, must pass his Rec'. for all the public prop-
erty he receives. It is impossible to prescribe the Time the
Reinforcement are to serve at Kentuckie. They must stay as
long as the preservation of the Lives of the People make it
absolutely necessary, & no longer. I expect you'll employ
proper Persons to get the Provisions on the most frugal
Plan. Certainly some allowance might be made for wild
meat, & so some abatement in the number of Pack Horses
and other charges. I need not tell you of the necessity of
frugality, arising from the great extent and variety of mili-
tary operations, that altogether bring on monstrous Expense
to the State. I would send up ammunition but have no
Conveyance. If the quantity necessary can be had your
Way, it shall be replaced from here by the first waggon.
Majr Bledsoe has Orders to deliver the Pack horses neces-
sary out of the Public horses near the great Island. I hope
less than you mention will do.
I am Gent". &c.,
PAT. HENRY, JUNR.
54 PATRICK HENRY.
George Morgan and John Nevill to Patrick Henry.
FORT PITT, April 1t, 1777.
SIR: We had not the honour to receive your Orders &
the Minutes of Council of the 12th Ultimo, until this day.
We immediately wrote to Colonel Shephard & Major Tay-
lor, to meet us here the 8th inst to confer thereon, & deter-
mine the most effectual steps to carry the same into execu-
tion. And your Excellency may be assured we will leave
nothing in our power undone, that may tend to promote
the interest of our country in general, or the success of this
Enterprize in particular, not regarding the strict Line of
Duty in our respective departments, but the promotion of
the service on the most liberal plan. We, nevertheless,
wish we were left more at liberty to exercise our Judg-
ments, or to take advice on the expediency & practicability
of the Undertaking at this critical time-for, although we
are persuaded from what has already passed between Col.
Morgan & our Allies, the Delawares & Shawnese, that
they would wish us success therein, yet we apprehend the
inevitable consequences of this expedition will be a general
Indian War, which we are persuaded it is the Interest of
the State at this time to avoid, even by, the mortifying
means of liberal Donations to certain leading Men among
the nations, as well as by calling them again to a general
Treaty. And if the State of Pensylvania should judge it
prudent to take some steps to gratify the Six Nations, in
regards to the encroachments made upon their lands on the
north western frontier of that State, of which they have so
repeatedly complained, we hope, and believe, it would have
a very salutary Effect. The Settlement of the lands on
Ohio, below the Kenhawa, & at Kentucke, gives the Western
Nations great uneasiness. How far the State of Virginia
may judge it wise to withdraw or confine those settlements
for a certain term of Years, or during the British War, is
too delicate a matter for us to give our opinion on, but we
have reason to think that the measures we have (tho' per-
haps out of the strict line of our duty) presumed to hint at,
would not only tend greatly to the happiness of this coun-
try, but to the Interest of the whole State; more especially
if care be taken to treat the different Nations in all re-
spects with Justice, Humanity, & Hospitality; for which
purpose, & to punish Robberies & Murders committed oni
any of our Allies, some wholesome Orders or Acts of Gov-
ernment may possibly be necessary; for Parties have been
formed to massacre some who have come to visit us in a
friendly manner, and others who have been hunting on
their own lands, the known friends to the commonwealth.
These steps, if continued, will deprive us of all our Indian
Allies, & multiply our Enemies. Even the Spies who have
been employed by the County Lieutenants of Monongahela
& Ohio seem to have gone on this Plan, with a premedi-
tated design to involve us in a general Indian War; for on
the 15th instant, at day break, five or six of these Spies
fired at three Delaware Indians at their hunting Camp,
which they afterwards plundered of Peltries to a considera-
ble value, & brought them off.
This was committed about twenty miles on this side the
Delaware Town, between that & Wheeling, & out of the
Country or track of our enemies.
Luckily all the Indians escaped, only one of whom was
wounded, & that slightly in the wrist.
We enclose to your excellency the copy of a Speech or
Message, found near the body of a dead man, who had
been killed & scalped two days before near the Kittanning,
on the North Western Frontier of Pennsylvania, when
another man was taken Prisoner. We suppose the party
of Indians who left this Message, & perpetrated the Mur-
der, to have been hired for that purpose by the British Offi-
cers at Niagara, in order to promote an open Rupture be-
tween the Six Nations and the United States; as we had
intelligence of such a party being out, & having come from
thence. In consequence whereof, & on considering the
present situation of this Country, a Council of Field Officers
& Captains met here, & gave their opinion on certain mat-
56 PATRICK HENRY.
ters, of which your Excellency is doubtless ere now fully
informed ; among other things Col' Crawford was requested
to make a Return of the Stores requisite to be sent here,
& an Estimate of the Expense of Repairs, to make this Fort
defensible against any body of Troops which may be brought
against us by the way of Presque Isle & the Allegany,
that being the Route by which this Fort will be attacked,
if ever an Expedition should be formed against it from
Canada; & not, as has been intimated to your Excellency,
from Detroit and Sandusky, there being no Post at the latter
place, & as we are informed but Sixty Six Soldiers at De-
troit, from whence by land to Fort Pitt is near three hun-
dred Miles, impassable for artillery ; & all that Country, we
are told, could not furnish to an Army of 1000 men suffi-
cient Provisions or Horses for such an Expedition.
Your Excellency cannot but be already informed that
many persons among ourselves wish to promote a war with
the Savages, not considering the distresses of our Country
on the Sea Coast. This disposition, with the conduct of a
Banditti consisting of 60 or 80 savages at the heads of
Scioto, may possibly create a general Quarrel. Yet we
flatter ourselves that by prudent measures it is possible to
avoid it. But if, as seems the inclination of some, all In-
dians, without distinction, who may be found, are to be
massacred, & even when visiting us as Friends, a general
War cannot be avoided, & we fear the consequences would
be fatal at this critical time; but should it please God to
bless us with Victory to overcome our British Enemies on
the Sea Coast, we shall have it in our power to take ample
satisfaction of our Indian Enemy. In the Interim we are
humbly of the opinion, that the most pacific measures with
liberal Presents, if in our power to make them, will be at-
tended with much happier consequences with the Savages
than an armed force can produce. Nevertheless, we beg
leave again to assure your excellency, that nothing in our
power shall be wanting to promote & insure success to the
Expedition now ordered to be executed. But as it will be
impossible to have the Men raised & armed before the
first day of June next, we shall have sufficient time to re-
ceive your Excellency's farther instructions on that head, &
we shall in the interim take every possible precaution to
prevent Intelligence reaching the Enemy, so far as to defeat
the wise intentions of Government.
We are with the greatest Respect, Your Excellency's
most obedient and most humble Servants,
P. S. By Lieut. Holliback, who left the Kenhawa the
- ulto, all is quiet there, & no Murders or Indian Incur-
sions have been made into the Inhabitants, that we have
heard of since last December, when one man was kill'd on
the Indian side of Ohio, opposite to the Fort at Wheeling,
& one taken Prisoner-they were out as Spies.
The County Lieutenant, who is ordered to send 100 men
to meet Cap. Lynn with the Powder, is at a loss to know
how far to proceed, or where St. Louis on the Mississippi is
-there being one place of that name 160 miles above the
mouth of Ohio, & no settlement or fort less than 400 miles
below the Ohio-the nearest is at the River Arkansa.
To His Excellenoy PATRICK HENRY, JUN EsQW ,
Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, at Wiliamsburgh.
Patrick Henry to Richard Caswell, Governor of North
W-"sRGH, April 1", 1777.
SIR: Last Spring, the Convention of this Coiiionwealth
directed two large Galleys to be built for protecting your
Trade & ours. Will you be pleased to tell me in what
state they are, & how soon they will be fit for service ? A
considerable quantity of European goods were sent from
hence to Edenton, or Halifax, & there deposited. They
58 PATRIOK HENRY.
were intended for the use of Col. Muhlenburgh's Regi-
ment; But as it is marched to the North the Goods will be
sent for, if you will be so obliging as to enquire for them,
& tell me in whose custody they are.
I hope you'll please to excuse the Trouble I give you, as
I really know not who else to apply to, or by what other
means to preserve the goods from being entirely lost.
From.the last Intelligence, I am inclined to think the
Cherokees will be further troublesome. In every Instance,
I shall be happy to cooperate with your State; But espe-
cially in matters respecting these Indians, in whose Enmity
or Friendship, the Back settlers of both Virga & Caro-
lina are so deeply interested. I did myself the Honor to
inform you of a Treaty appointed to be held with them.
It may possibly produce something. If offensive operations
become necessary, is it not best to postpone it 'til corn is
planted ? Will you please favor me with y' sentiments on
the subject, & thereby greatly oblige him who has the
Honor to be, with esteem,
Y' Most obt hble Servt
P. IENRY, JR.
His Excellency RICHARD CASWELL,
Governor of No. Carolina.
Richard Henry Lee to Patrick Henry.
PHILADELPHIA, April 7, 1777.
DEAR SIR: I thank you for your favor, which I found
here on my return from Virginia.
Weak, and exposed as our enemies are in the Jersies to
a stroke that would be decisive, we cannot avail ourselves of
it for want of men, although we have arms, tents, cloaths,
and every necessary ready for 20,000 soldiers. The levies
come up very slow, and these are obliged to undergo inoc-
ulation before they join the army; so. that the General has
not more than 4,000 with him now, and the enemy have
about 17,000. Yet they continue narrowed in their quar-
ters and greatly distressed for forage. O for 10, or 12 thou-
sand Americans to sweep these vermin from our land!
We have received very agreable intelligence from the
commissioners (Dr. Franklin, Mr. Deane and Dr. Lee,) of
the United States to the Court of France. They have
been received with great cordiality, promised protection,
and an answer to their proposals as soon as Spain has been
consulted, with which country France means to act in close
concert. The French had in January 25 sail of the line
ready, & Spain had 17. And both were certainly to have 30
by April. Ten thousand French troops were marched to
Brest where the fleet lay, and opposite the English coast,
which will no doubt occasion alarm, and prevent the send-
ing more troops from G. Britain. The court of London
had solicited the guarantee of its continental possessions in
Europe, and was refused by the allies of France in Ger-
many. The commissioners had negotiated a loan of two
million of Livres, to be paid when America was in peace and
prosperity, without even the mention of interest, and the
ports of France, Spain & Leghorn are open to our prizes as
well as our trade. These things look well, and if we are
not wanting to ourselves, must in time fix the freedom and
happiness of America. We have 12,000 stand of arms ar-
rived at Portsmouth in N. Hampshire, with other military
stores, and 3,000 stand come in here. The enemy lately
made an attack by surprise on our posts upon the highlands
of Hudson river, but they were repulsed, and driven on
board their ships with precipitation and disgrace, by an in-
ferior number of American troops. They have lately em-
barked troops at N. York, the stories say for this city, them-
selves say they are going to Chesapeake Bay. Some think
they mean nothing but to amuse, whilst others imagine they
mean to renew their attack on the heights of Hudson river.
Either of the two last opinions I prefer to the former. I
hope to have the pleasure of seeing you in May at Wil-
60 PATRICK HENRY.
liamsburg, and remain in the meantime with great friend-
ship and affection, dear Sir,
RICHARD HENIY LEE.
His Excellency PATRICK HENRY, Esq.,
Governor of Virginia.
George Washington to Patrick Henry, Governor of
MORRISToWN, 13. April, 1777.
SIR: It gives me much concern to hear that the recruit-
ing service proceeds so slowly in most of the States. That
it is the case in Virginia affects me in a peculiar manner.
I feel myself much obliged by the polite respect your hon-
orable Board of Council are pleased to show to my opinion;
and am under the necessity of observing, that the volunteer
plan, which you mention, will never answer any valuable
purposes, and that I cannot but disapprove the measure.
To the short engagements of our troops, may be fairly and
justly ascribed almost every misfortune which we have ex-
perienced. By that course, and that alone, have the liber-
ties of our country been put in question, and the most
obvious advantages lost. This I speak from painful experi-
ence, and, assured of the facts, I cannot countenance in the
smallest degree what I know to be pernicious in the extreme.
Short enlistments, when founded on the best plan, are
repugnant to order, and subversive of discipline; and men
held upon such terms, will never be equal to the important
ends of war; but when they are of the volunteer kind, they
are still more destructive.
Those who engage in arms under that denomination, let
them agree upon what conditions they may, are uneasy, im-
patient of command, ungovernable; and claiming to them-
selves a sort of superior merit, generally assume not only
the privilege of thinking, but of doing, as they please; added
to these considerations, such corps are long in forming, and
half of their time is taken up in marching to and from camp
at a most amazing expense; nor are the injuries to which
a country is exposed by the frequent marching and counter-
marching of men, to be disregarded. Further, whilst they
are in service, the States to which they belong have but
little, if any chance, to engage them for a longer term.
When that is out, they will return, though the exigency of
affairs should be ever so pressing, and though you should be
on the point of action, or perhaps of grasping a victory.
Their departure has a most baneful and unhappy influence
over those who remain, who consider themselves, notwith-
standing their engagements, as subjected to peculiar hard-
ships, become uneasy and discontent, and many desert.
Their return too, having seen only service sufficient to create
disgust, and experienced in the course of it a few difficulties,
produces the same disposition through the circle of their
connections. In a word, Sir, I cannot advise the volunteer
plan, as I conceive the adoption of it would have the most
fatal and pernicious tendency; and in my opinion the inter-
est of the States would be more advanced by regular enlist-
ments for the war, though it should take a considerable
time to complete them. The apologies you offer for your
deficiency of troops are not without some weight. I am
induced to believe, that the apprehension of the smallpox,
and its calamitions consequences, have greatly retarded the
enlistments. But may not these objections be easily done
away by introducing inoculations into the State ? Or shall
we adhere to a regulation preventing it, reprobated at this
time, not only by the consent and usage of the greater
part of the civilized world, but by our interest and own
experience of its utility ? You will pardon my observations
on the smallpox, because I know it is more destructive to
an army in the natural way, than the enemy's sword, and
because I shudder whenever I reflect upon the difficulties
of keeping it out, and that in the vicissitudes of war the
scene may be transferred to some southern State. Should
62 PATRICK HENRY.
it not be the case, their quota of men must come to the
I have the honor to be, &c.
His Excellency PATRICK HENRY.
Richard Henry Lee to Patrick Henry.
PHILADELPHIA, April b1, 1777.
My DEAR SIm: The express who delivered me your
favor of March 28th last, and who went on to Jersey, has
either forgotten his promise, or not returned, because he
has never since called on me. No person living detests
more than I do the pernicious practise of engrossing, espe-
cially the necessaries of life. Tis begotten by avarice on
inhumanity, and deserves every kind of discouragement. I
have spoken to Mr. Morris, and he declares, that so far as
he has been concerned, his agent was directed to purchase
for him with view of foreign commerce solely. It must
deeply concern every good man to see our army collected
so slowly, by which, instead of crushing the enemy before
reinforcements arrived to them, we are still obliged to be
on the defensive, having but 3000 to oppose to near 8000.
And now they threaten to .attack this City, 9 ships of war
being already in the Delaware. The citizens however are
in good spirits, & say they shall not have the Town. In
the meantime their land force remains in its old situation
at Brunswick. Two, or three days ago, they made two sor-
ties nearly at the same time, one party attacking our Post
at Bon Brook, and another, that at Quibble Town. The
latter attack was immediately repulsed, but the former suc-
ceeded at first, so as to repel our men and get away 3 field
pieces. But a small reenforcement coming up, they were
beaten in turn and driven off, leaving 7 dead on the Field.
We lost 5 men. I strongly incline to think that they mean
only to amuse us and divert our attention from forming an
army, until their succors enable them to take the field, and
pursue to advantage their original plan of possessing the
North river, and joining with Gen. Carleton. Be their designs
what they may, it is evidently the business of every state to
exert itself for furnishing its Quota of troops, that an army
formidable may be collected, and sufficient to oppose every
attempt. We have now arms and every other equipment
ready for 20,000 men, and the Hospital department is put
on the most liberal and judicious plan. Some of the best
medical men on the continent are called to act in it, so that
we hope this business will now be managed in the best
manner, and the sick will be taken care of. A fine ship
from Nantes, with powder, arms, & Woolens, was the
other day chased on shore by two or three Frigates near
the capes of Delaware. The Captain, after bravely de-
fending himself for some time in vain, blowed up his ship
rather than let her fall into the enemies hands. He lost
his life, the rest of the crew were saved, and what is re-
markable, a considerable part of the cargo was driven
safely on shore by the exploding effort of the powder, and
persons are now employed in securing it. We have intel-
ligence from London, via France, late in Jany, by which
we learn that Bankruptcies go on well, two West India
merchants having failed for more than a million, and that
general distress was great. The merchants tell the Minis-
try that they lost one million eight hundred thousand
pounds sterling by the capture of their Vessels last year.
The same accounts tell us that the practices at New York
since the enemy got it, exceed everything described in his-
tory, unless it be the proceedings of the second triumvirate,
and give dreadful specimen of what is to be expected when
the power prevails. It is certain that the refusal of the
India [Company on account of difficulty and delay, alone
prevented the Villains from sending American prisoners to
the East Indies for slaves. And that being refused, they
were on the verge of sending such of them to Africa as
were in England. Yet these are the men, or Devils rather,
that some among us would persuade submission to For
64 PATRICK HENRY.
Heaven's sake let every nerve be strained to expel them
far from North America. They contaminate the air they
breathe. Excuse the length of this letter, and believe me
to be, with affectionate respect yours,
RICHARD HENRY LEE.
His Excellency, PATRICK HENBY.
The Virginia Delegates in Congress to Patrick Henry.
YORK, 21st April, 1777.
SiR: General Howe having industriously circulated the
draught of a bill, said to be the ground of an act of Parlia-
ment, intended to be passed with a view, no doubt, of divert-
ing the people of America from their grand object of prep-
aration and defense, and General Washington having trans-
mitted a few copies of it to congress, expressly to put it in
their power to guard against the baneful effects with which
this political stroke of Great Britain, if not counteracted,
may be attended, we think it indispensibly necessary to give
you thus early the substance of this intelligence, and the
draught of the bill:
A draught of a bill to declare the intentions of Parlia-
ment concerning the exercise of the right of imposing taxes
within the colonies.
And be it hereafter declared that the King and Parlia-
ment, after the passing this act, will not impose any duty,
tax or assessment whatsoever, payable within any of the
colonies, except only such duties, as it may be expedient to
impose for the regulation of commerce; the net produce of
such duties to be paid and applied to the use of the colony
in which levied, in such manner as other duties collected by
the authority of the general courts, or assembly of such
colonies, are ordinarily paid and applied."
"A draught of a bill to enable his .Majesty to appoint
commissioners to treat, consult, and agree upon means of
quieting the disorders in the colonies.
"And it being enacted that persons to be appointed by
his majesty shall have power to treat, consult, and agree,
with such body, or bodies, politic and corporate, or with such
assembly or assemblies of men, or with such person or per-
sons, as they shall think meet, of and concerning any griev-
ances or complaints existing, or supposed to exist, in the
government of any of the colonies, or in the laws and stat-
utes of this realm respecting the same, and of or concern-
ing any aid or contribution to be furnished by all, or any,
of the colonies respectively, for the common defense of the
realm, and the dominions thereunto belonging, and con-
cerning such other regulations, provisions, matter and things,
as, upon mature deliberation of the commissioners, or any
-of them, shall be thought necessary or convenient for the
honor of his majesty, and the common good of all his sub-
jects; provided that no regulation, provision, matter or
thing, so proposed, treated, consulted, or agreed, shall have
any other force or effect, or to be carried farther into exe-
cution, than is mentioned in this act, until approved by
"Provided, also, that the commissioners, or any of them,
may order and proclaim, a cessation of hostilities on the
part of his Majesty's troops, in any of the colonies, for any-
time, and under any condition or restrictions they shall
think convenient, and such order and proclamation may re-
voke and annul, according to their discretion. And be it
enacted, that the commissioners, or any of them, may by
proclamation suspend the operation and effects of the act of
Parliament of the 16th year of his Majesty's reign, for pro-
hibiting all trade and intercourse, or of any of the provisions
or restrictions therein contained, for such convenient time
as they may think proper. And be it enacted, that the
commissioners shall have power to suspend in such places
and for such times, as they may think fit, during the con-
tinuance of this act, the operation and effects of all, or any
of the act or acts of Parliament, which have passed since
the 10th of Feb., 1763, and which relate to any of the
colonies, so far as the same does relate to them. And be it
66 PATRICK HENRY.
enacted, that the commissioners shall have power to grant a
pardon or pardons, to any number or description of persons
within any of the colonies, and to appoint a Governor in
any colony, with such power as heretofore granted to his
PHILDA. April 14th 1778.
Published by an order of the commander in chief
ROB: MACKENZIE, Sect'y."
Respecting this proposal and scheme of the enemy,
whether it be genuine from Parliament, or a production of
General Howe's, we have only to observe, that it may mis-
lead the ignorant, and alienate the minds of the wavering,
unless it is made public, and with its publication such strict-
ures are made upon the probable effect of it as may contrib-
ute to place the subject in its true light before the people.
We are with the highest respect your Excellency's most
FRANCIs LIGHTFOOT LEE.
Richard Henry Lee to Patrick Henry.
PHILADELPHIA, 22nd April, 1777.
MY DEAR SIR : The enclosed resolve is now sent, princi-
pally with a view of rectifying some Typhographic errors
that the copy formerly sent you contained. I am again in
the name of Congress, to desire your Excellency will detain
the flour in Virginia, until further directions, that Mr.
Commissary Trumbul had sent Vessels from the eastward
to remove. The reason you assign of danger from the
enemy's cruisers, is conclusive with Congress for staying
this provision awhile.
Since I wrote you last, few occurrences have happened
worth noticing. Skirmishes often happen, in which we
generally succeed. The enemy with 4000 men & 4 Gen'
officers surprised our post at Bound Brook, and carried off a
few prisoners with 2 pieces of Cannon. But they quickly
retired and not without loss. To revenge this insult, Gen
Stephen attacked one of their picket guards and drove it in,
killing 7 and making 16 prisoners. It seems to be the
opinion of all men, that 10 or 12000 men in the Jersies might
quickly decide the fate of our enemies before reinforce-
ments arrived to them. The Eastern Troops are all to
undergo inoculation before they join the Army. Our
Southern Troops that arrived here are all recovered and
recovering from the Small pox, having had the distemper
very favorably, and as far as I have heard, without loss.
We have accounts just now that 2 of our privateers have
taken and sent into Statia and Martinique, nine sail of Trans-
ports on their way to N. York-and two Guinea men bound
to the West Indies. These transports were to call at the
West Indies for rum for the Army, & to avoid as much as
possible the Eastern Privateers. Deserters come out in
numbers, and say the enemy's army is very sickly, and that
the men die fast.
I am with great esteem, dear sir, your most affectionate &
RICHARD HENRY LEE.
His Excellency, PATRICK HENRY, Esq.,
Governor of Virginia.
l2ichard Henry Lee to Patrick lHenry.
PHILADELPHIA, May 6th, 1777.
DEAR SIR: Having written to you so lately by Express,
this chiefly serves to convey my wishes that another Dele-
gate might be hastened here, for the reasons you will see in
the inclosed note this moment put in my hands. By a
late letter from France, we understand that our enemies
have given up their plan of attacking Virginia for the
present, in order to gratify their stronger resentment
68 PATRICK HENRY.
against New England. However, I greatly question their
being able to do much against either, as a French and
Spanish war seems inevitable. A curious Act of Parlia-
ment has passed, to make our opposition on the land high
Treason, and on the sea Piracy. And directing a place of
imprisonment in England, until it is convenient to try the
offenders. It is an acrimonious and foolish display of
I am, with great respect, dear Sir, your most obedient
and very humble servant,
RICHARD HENRY LEE.
SHis Excellency, PATRICK HENRY, ESQ.
Richard Henry Lee to Patrick Henry.
PHILADELPHIA, 13th May, 1777.
DEAR SIR: The inclosed infamous Act of Parliament is
taken from the New York Gazette, and its authenticity
therefore not to be doubted. The question upon this is,
whether every State will not pass acts appointing places of
security, where the prisoners they may take may be safely
kept as pledges for the good usage of our people, or as ob-
jects of punishment in the way of retaliation.
In proportion as our enemies lose the hope of subduing
us by open force, they endeavor more strenuously to sap us
by corrupt influence, and by the wicked machinations of
their Tory friends. To put an effectual stop to the proceed-
ings of the latter, will it not be necessary so to provide by
law, as that every Tory may be precisely in the same sit-
uation if we succeed in this war, that we undoubtedly shall
be if the enemy prevail. And what this latter will be, the
inclosed Act of Parliament very plainly declares. The
point is how to distinguish previously the Whigs from the
Tories. I believe by a strict test, and by appointing a
General and County board of Commissioners, with small
but competent funds to carry on quick correspondence with
each other, and to search into the conduct of suspicious res-
idents, and of all unknown passengers or travellers. As
you may rely upon it, that Tory machinations are now
more wicked than ever, and their correspondence with each
other, and their injurious communications not to be doubt-
ed, I wish some of the most sensible Whigs in our As-
sembly would take under consideration what I have here
suggested the propriety of. The necessity of completing
our Batallion is so obvious, that I suppose the assembly
will adopt the plan of drafting recommended by Congress,
and if they do, will it not be highly proper to have discreet
recruiting officers at every place where the Militia is assem-
bled for the draft, who by clearly pointing out to the young
men the advantages of bounty, annual clothes, and land for
those that voluntarily engage, may procure a sufficiency on
the willing plan. Nor is it a bad argument with them, to
shew how safely and easily they are carried thro' the small
pox at the public expence, by the present plan of inocula-
tion. Above all things, my dear sir, let us secure the
credit of our money by a vigorous taxation. Maryland has
done so, and so have the Eastern States, and all must do it
to procure public confidence in our funds and the stability
of our currency.
Our army is approaching the enemies' lines and promises
soon to be active. We have no late intelligence from
France, tho' we have reason every day to expect it. Capt
Weeks in the Continental ship Reprisal, of 16 guns and 100
& odd men, has taken & sent into Port L'Orient, a Lisbon
packet of equal force to himself with three ships that were
under her Convoy; and the provisions we have taken at sea,
more than compensates for the Danbury loss, since the lat-
ter was only 1700 barrels of meat with some flouer & grain,
and we have brought in 5000 barrels of meat bound to N.
Col. Nelson is gone home ill, so that we three are fixed
here to hard service; we deserve compassion and relief. I
have no objection to a service however irksome, if it is so
contrived that a reasonable relief may now and then be in-
terposed, so as to ease the individual without injury to
the public. We learn lately, that the account of General
Carleton's approach to Ticonderoga was premature, and in
the mean time a considerable reinforcement has arrived
from the Eastward, so that we are no longer in pain for
I am with much esteem, dear sir Yours sincerely,
RIHARD HENRY LEE.
His Excellency, PATRICK HENRY, EsQ.
General Washington to Patrick Henry.
MORRIs TowN, 17th May 1777.
SIR: When I had the honor of addressing you on the
13tt Ult I flattered myself that tho' the recruiting busi-
ness did not succeed to our wishes, a sufficient reinforce-
ment would, ere this, have enabled me to open the Campaign
in such a manner, as to have recommended the Service to
the lower class of people, and thereby to have removed the
necessity of compelling them to enlist.-But that Hope has
been unfortunately blasted ; so that we have only to decide,
whether the States shall be loaded with the enormous ex-
pense of Militia, with difficulty drawn out, capable only of
making a feeble defence, and the war protracted; or the
Army Compleated by coercive Methods. For altho' the
important season is almost past that afforded the opportun-
ity of crushing the Enemy's power at present here, had I
been sufficiently enabled, yet it greatly behoves us, by an
instant and vigorous exertion of our strength, to put our-
selves into such a situation as to have a good prospect of
never being obliged so greatly to hazard our Liberties as we
have been. The warmest, advocates for Militia and short
inlistments must, from the experience of two Campaigns,
confess that the important purposes of war cannot be an-
swered, but by men engaged for a length of Time; no sub-
stitute can be admitted. What then remains, for us to do.
Nothing less than furnishing our full quota of Continental
troops, by any means that will ensure success. Our situa-
tion perhaps more critical now than ever, Policy directs that
caution should be used in the choice. But whether it should
be by an indiscriminate draft, or by making it the interest
of the Timid, the Rich, and the Tory to furnish soldiers,
at their own expense, in ease of themselves and in conform-
ity to the Resolve of Congress of the 14th day of April last,
is a subject well worthy the most dispassionate and mature
deliberation of your Assembly. Both of these methods have
been tried and are Still practiced by some of the States,
with better success than simple recruiting-They are how-
ever capable of abuse. The former may produce convul-
sions in the people & their opposition, by the manner in
which it is conducted-The latter affords the bad officer too
tempting an opportunity of defrauding the Public, by re-
ceiving the Reward for men already in the Service, or for
some private emolument giving Certificates when no Sol-
dier is furnished; and of greatly injuring the service, by
introducing into it Foreigners of no principle, who seize the
first opportunity of deserting to the Enemy with their
Arms. If the former should be adopted, the men drafted
should serve for a fixed time, 3 years at least, & every
possible precaution taken against their substituting convicts
or foreign servants in their room. If the latter, the Men
procured should serve during the war. Here the evil may
be effectually guarded. The substitute or exemption from
Militia duty, being evidently an Indulgence, may be granted
on no other terms than furnishing a native, or a person of
some property or connections in the Country. The annexed
Return of your Battalions now here, will enable the Assem-
bly to form a good judgment of the number of Men neces-
sary to compleat them to the full Establishment. A well ex-
ecuted law to encourage the taking up of deserters, will
greatly lessen the deficiency that appears upon the Returns;
which is not occasioned altogether by Deaths, because I am
well assured that a Number of the Men (taking advantage
of their absence from their companies, occasioned by their
being left in Hospitals,) have on recovery gone Home with-
72 PATRICK HENRY.
out leave; nor can my most unceasing efforts bring them
back; the officers sent upon that duty, shamefully spending
their time in Dissipation and Idleness.
I hope the Freedom of this letter will find an excuse in
the Importance of the subject, and its length have an apol-
ogy, when 'tis considered that Consequences of the greatest
magnitude are involved in the issue of the present Contest,
the management of which demands our utmost wisdom and
I have the honour to be with great Respect,
Your most ob' Servant,
His Excellency, PATRICK HENRY, Esq.
Mrs. Anne Christian to Patrick Henry.
HAW BOTTOM, May 22d, 1777.
MY DEAR BROTHER: Mr Christian has, I suppose, in-
formed you of my intended Journey down being stopt,
which deprives me of the pleasure of seeing you for
a while; indeed our Family & cares increase so fast, that
God knows when I shall be able to take another journey to
see my dear friends below. Indeed M' Christian is so
much abroad that I am more confined on that account. I
wish my dear brother could, by any means, be instrumental
towards his quitting the public employment that he is en-
gaged in, if it were only for a while, until he could get his
affairs brought into some better way than at present. Cannot
you assist in doing me this great favor ? I am heartily sorry
to trouble you on any domestic business, but I know you
will excuse me. Some one certainly may be.had that would
answer as well to act in his place for the future, & at the
same time save a whole family from ruin, as his stay at
home might yet do; this is the case, & I am sorry to see
that he is entering from one thing to another without con-
sidering his private affairs, which are almost desperate, &
again I must entreat you to have some private conversa-
tion with him. . I hope you can find a few leisure
moments to oblige a sister who is, & ever will be, Your
P.S. Shall I never be so happy as to see you up here.
I have much to say but would not trouble you with a long
letter, necessity urges me to say the above. A. C.
To His Excellency, PATRICK HENRY, Williamsburgh.
Richard Henry Lee to Patrick Henry.
PHILADELPHIA, May 26, 1777.
My DEAR SIR: If I have contributed in any degree to your
satisfaction, or enabled you to combat false news intended
to injure the cause of America, I am happy. I love the cause,
and I have faithfully exerted myself to serve it well. Pro-
vided America be free and happy, I am not solicitous about
the agents that accomplish it. For this reason Sir, I look
with indifference on the malice of my enemies, trusting that
the wisdom of my country will employ in its great concerns,
such men only as are of known uniform attachment to the
cause of America, and who possess wisdom, integrity, and
industry. But it has ever been my wish to deserve the es-
teem of virtuous men, and to stand well in their opinion.
Upon this principle I hope for your pardon when I trouble
you with a detail of the lease business. From motives of
private ease, and, as I thought, of public good if the same
plan were generally adopted in Virginia, I determined some
years ago to break up my quarter, and rent out all my lands
to a number of industrious men, who might benefit them-
selves, and ease me of trouble at the same time. As the
support of a numerous family depends entirely upon these
rents, I was brought to the alarming situation of seeing that
family infinitely distressed when the association took place,
by the tenants not paying me, assigning for the reason that
they could not sell their produce. The present evil was then
74 PATRICK HENRY.
great and pressing, and well knowing the determination of
Great Britain to push her ruinous system, which would of
course drive America into a long and expensive war, that
could only be supported by immense emissions of paper
money, which falling in value with its excessive quantity
would render my small income (but barely sufficient with
the greatest economy to maintain my family in the best
times) totally insufficient; I did propose to Col. Marshall (who
was one of my tenants, and a collector for me in Fauquier)
so early as August 1775, to offer, by himself and Mr. Black-
well, to my tenants, such a change of rent as might enable
them to pay, prevent my total ruin and at the same time be
not injurious to them; since the plenty of money hereafter
which might lessen its value, would certainly raise the price
of all their produce. This proposition you will observe Sir,
was made in August 1775, at a time when emissions of money
for this war were scarcely begun, and when of course, the
malignant insinuation of my enemies could not have existed
with me, that of depreciating a currency not yet in being.
And it is worthy of remark, that in Aug 1776 the tenants
of London County did themselves petition the convention, (if
I forget not) to have their money rents changed to produce.
Col. Marshall very much approved the reasonableness of my
proposal, and promised to offer the matter to the considera-
tion of the tenants. I returned here to Congress, and Col.
Marshall soon after went into the military line, so that
nothing, that I know of, was done in this business until march
1776, when yet very little money had been issued, and when
of course this alteration could not possibly have had the least
effect upon the credit of the paper money. At that time,
for reasons already mentioned, I had for more than a year
received little or no support from my estate, to the great in-
jury of my family; and being obliged to return here, I en-
gaged Mr. Parker of Westmoreland to go up to Fauquier,
and propose to the Tenants to alter the rents to Tobacco at
a price mutually to be agreed on. This he did, and returned
to me the alterations agreed on by all the tenants near
Fauquier Court House, except two or three. It was then
upon two principles that this change took place, first to put
it in the power of the tenant to pay me what was then, and
might become due, and secondly to prevent thereafter the
excessive and partial injury that might be derived to me, from
emissions of paper money not then in existence. Would any
but bad men, hardly pressed for argument against an in-
nocent character, have misrepresented, and miscalled this
absolutely faultless and justifiable conduct, a design to injure
the public by depreciating the currency But the truth is
sir, that certain evil disposed men hate me, partly for the
same reason that I am devoted to destruction in the enemies'
camp, because I have served my country with unremitting
zeal and industry, and in concert with other generous friends
to human liberty and the rights of America, have gone far
towards defeating our enemies, and raising America trium-
phant over its cruel, vindictive, and determined foes. But
it seems there are two other charges equally futile and false;
the one, that I have favored New England to the injury of
Virginia. The other, that as a Member of the Secret Com-
mittee I objected to their proceedings being laid before Con-
gress, meaning to insinuate that I wished to conceal em-
bezzlement of the public money !
The wretch who carried, or sent this last account to
Virginia, knows perfectly well, that my total abstraction
from every commercial concern, renders it impossible that I
can propose any kind of good to myself from trading busi-
ness of any sort. But I have a strong belief that a change
is wished, in order to remove obstruction feared from me,
and to prepare the way for the execution of private plans,
in which the public will not be gainer. The affair alluded
to, is, I suppose, a very inconsiderate motion made at Balti-
more for the secret committee to lay all its proceedings be-
fore Congress. I observed, that so extensive a motion de-
feated the very end for which such a committee was ap-
pointed, and might expose to danger valuable cargoes that
should be coming in, or that might be going out, particu-
larly the former. The motion was narrowed, and even as
it was agreed to Mr. Morris, the chairman of the committee,
76 PATRICK HENRY.
who was here at the time, did by letter so convince the Con-
gress of the impropriety of the order as it passed, that
nothing more was said about it. We did indeed expect at
that very time the arrival of valuable stores that have since
come in. The charge of favoring New England is so con-
temptibly wicked, that I can scarcely bring myself to the
trouble of refuting it, or to trespass on your time to read
my observations on it. Our enemies, and our friends too,
know that America can only be conquered by disunion.
The former, by unremitting art, had endeavored to create
jealousy and discord between the Southern and Eastern
Colonies, and in truth Sir, they had so far prevailed, that it
required constant attention, and a firmness not to be shaken,
to prevent the malicious art of our enemies from succeed-
ing. I am persuaded as I am of my existence, that had it
not been for Virginia and Jersey, with Georgia sometimes,
that our union would ere now have been by this means
broken, like a Potter's vessel dashed against a rock; and I
heartily wish that this greatest of all political evils may
not yet take place, before a safe and honourable peace is
established. I am sure it will not be the fault of many men
that I know, if this event does not happen. I defy the
poisonous tongue of slander to produce a single instance, in
which I have preferred the interest of New England to that
of Virginia. Indeed I am at a loss to know wherein their
interests clash. The guilt of New England is that of a fixed
determination against British Tyranny, & such I believe is
the crime of Virginia in the eye of their common enemies.
Most of the rest have entitled themselves to some hopes of
pardon from the tyrant, by weak, dividing, irresolute, and
pernicious conduct. One thing is certain, that among the
Middle and Southern states Verginia has many enemies;
arising from jealousy and envy of her wisdom, vigor, and
extent of Territory. But I have ever discovered upon every
question, respect and love for Virginia among the East-
ern delegates. Folly and ingratitude would have marked
the Representatives of Virginia, had they shown disesteem
for the latter and attachment to the former. I have
served my country Sir, to the best of my knowledge, and
with fidelity and industry, to the injury of my health,
fortune, and a sequestration from domestic happiness.
I shall rejoice to find that others are employed, who
will do the business better than I have done. It will al-
ways make me happy to reflect, that those Malignants who
would represent me as an enemy to my country cannot
make me so. I am ready to give my enemies credit for
more address than I thought they possessed. I mean the
use they make of a good principle under cover of which to
wound me. For this purpose the delegates' time of service
is to be so limited, as to reward a three years painful em-
ployment by dismission. The plan is precisely fitted for
my case, and thus the most malicious, groundless, and in-
famous slander is likely to succeed against an absent man,
who has labored to deserve a better fate. You will make
what use you please of this letter.
The business of war remains as when I wrote you last,
except that the American Army is daily increasing, whilst
that of the enemy is only added to by a few Tories as yet,
tho' they will I expect in a month or so be reinforced with
8. or 10.000 men from Europe, which will not make them
so strong as when they began the Campaign last year,
whilst our army will be far more formidable. Gen' Wash-
ington has now about 10.000 regular Troops with him, and
his numbers daily increasing. As far as we are able to
learn, the enemy have not now in Jersey so many as 5000.
By accounts just from New York we hear of the death of
Governor Tryon of the wounds he received in the expedi-
tion to Danbury, and also of the death of Col. Woolcot
from the Same cause-This was the Colonel that made such
indecent observations on Gen. Washington's proposal for
exchange of prisoners. It is said that the officers in N.
York are looking grave, and say all hope of conquest over
America is now gone, unless they can succeed in dividing
us. The inclosed resolve of Congress is intended to prevent
injury to the recruiting business and other public service, in
the absence of a General officer from Virginia.
78 PATRICK HENRY.
I beg your pardon Sir, for the trouble I have given you,
and wish to be considered as affectionately yours,
RICHARD HENRY LEE.
His Excellency, PATRICK HENRY, ESQ.
Patrick Henry to the Speaker qf the House of Delegates.
IN COUNCIL, WMS'BUBG, May 27, 1777.
SIR: The board of council being under great difficulty
in carrying into execution the resolution of the last assembly,
for removing out of the country certain natives of Great
Britain, in the said resolution described, they find them-
selves under the necessity of communicating the matter to
the general assembly, for such further directions as the oc-
casion may in their judgment require.
Without loss of time I issued my proclamation, limiting a
time for such persons as were the object of the resolution
to depart this state. A number of gentlemen (chiefly Scots)
procured a ship called the Albion, for transporting them-
selves to Great Britain. But as a good deal of delay was
unavoidable in fitting out the ship, the board occasionally
protracted the time allowed those persons to leave the
country, and it is only of late that the ship could be got into
readiness to come round from South Quay (where she lay,)
through the Cesapeake Bay to James river. But unfortun-
ately in making the attempt, she has fallen into the hands
of the enemy, and the board conceive it to be totally im-
practicable at this time to send them out in our own vessels,
which yet is the only alternation provided by the resolution,
unless it be to treat those gentlemen as prisoners of war;
but this, after the endeavours they have manifested, and the
expense they have incurred to comply with the intentions
of the general assembly, might be thought hard.
The intended passengers have suggested to the council
board, a possibility of their getting on board the Albion
where she now lies, with their provisions and baggage, and
proceeding on their intended voyage, if they were permitted
so to do, but whether such a method would be proper, in
case it should be found practicable, appears doubtful.
I have only to add, sir, that a large number of the above
persons are now at Sleepy Hole in the city of Nansemond,
where they went in order to embark, and where they are
directed by the Board to remain till further orders. With
great regard I have the honor to be,
Sir, yr. mt. obt. & very h'ble Servt.
The HON'BLE GEORGE WYTHE,
Speaker of the House of Delegates.
Patrick Henry to the Speaker of the House of Delegates.
May 27th, 1777.
SIR: A member of the chiefs and warriors of the
Cherokee nation are now in this City. They are come here
for the purpose of ratifying a treaty of peace, which has been
for some time under the Management of commissioners
appointed for that purpose by the Executive power of this
state, as will appear by the papers lately transmitted to you.
If the general assembly shall think it necessary to give any
direction for conducting this business, the Executive will pay
due regard to the same.
The affairs of these Indians will not permit them to
remain here but a short time. With great regard I have
the honor to be,
Sir Yr. most obt. h'ble servt.
To the HONORABLE GEORGE WYTHE, EsQ.,
Speaker of the Houe of Delegates.
80 PATRICK HENRY.
Patrick Henry to the Speaker of the House of Delegates.
W'iBUM May 31, 1777.
Sm: As there was no manufactory of Iron in this state
which was carried on to such an extent, and to purpose of
such vast importance, as Mr. Hunter's near Fredericsburg,
I took the liberty of promising him the assistance of the
public in the prosecution of his works on a more enlarged
plan. In consequence of this Mr. Hunter laid my letter
before Mr. John Strode, his manager, that he might enable
him to inform me how far his works were capable of an-
swering my expectations. This produced a letter from Mr.
Strode, which Mr. Hunter has laid before the council board
with a memorial. The subject of these papers was of so
much consequence to this state, and Mr. Hunter himself so
deserving of the attention of the public, that I thought it
my duty to lay them before the general assembly, who
alone can enable him to carry on these extensive and valua-
What most strongly recommends Mr. Hunter is that he
asks for no pecuniary assistance, but merely for materials
to work. He requires only what the good of the state most
evidently points out, which is to open mines within the
same, and not to depend on our neighbours for so necessary
an article as iron. With great regard I have the honor to
Sir, Yr mo. obt. & very hb'le servt.
To the Hon'ble GEORGE WYTHE,
Speaker of the House of Delegate.
Enclosed in Letter of Governor Henry, May 31, 1777.
To HIS EXCELLENCE THE GOVERNOR, AND THE HONORABLE
THE COUNCIL OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA: The me-
morial of James Hunter humbly sheweth, that your me-
morialist actuated by the warmest zeal for the good of his
country, has with very great labor and expense erected a
variety of works, such as forges, steel furnace &c, and be-
gun others, such as slitting, plating, and wire mills, and es-
tablished factories for fabricating small arms, entrenching
tools, anchors, and other things necessary in the army and
navy, works evidently essential, not only to the welfare,
but to the very existence of the state.
That he has been encouraged to overlook in the prosecu-
tion of these works difficulties which seemed to private
abilities insurmountable, by assurances from your Excel-
lency of public countenance and support.
That he has been heretofore supplied with pig iron, the
basis of all his manufactures, from Maryland ; but that this
mode of supply, at best an improper as well as unbecom-
ing dependence for a great state, is now exceedingly expen-
sive and precarious.
That nature has made ample provision amongst our selves
for these our necessities; but that no advantage can be
derived from this circumstance, either to the public or your
memorialist, these necessary materials being the property
of persons who either have not the power or the inclina-
tion to work them. That he has more than once suffered
by the enlisting of his workmen, and the pressing of his
waggons, and that he dreads the greatest detriment to the
public as well as to himself, if he be not secured from such
injurious proceedings in the future.
And lastly, that for fuller satisfaction with respect to
several matters mentioned in this memorial, your memorial-
ist begs leave to refer you to a letter received by him on
this subject from the manager of his works.
George Washington to Patrick Henry, Governor of Vir-
HEAD-QUARTERS, MIDDLEBROOK 31. May, 1777.
SIR: I this morning received information, which I be-
lieve is not to be doubted, that on Saturday last a large fleet
consisting of a hundred sail, left New York and stood out
to sea. Whither they are destined, or what they had on
board, remains to be known. If possessing Hudson's
River should not be Gefieral Howe's first object, I should
suppose his operations will be against Philadelphia, and
that this fleet, if they have troops on board, are bound into
the Delaware Bay. Though this is my opinion, yet I would
take the liberty of suggesting, that it may be expedient to
put your militia upon the most respectable footing that cir-
cumstances will admit, lest their destination should be more
southwardly. At the same time that I mention this I
would advise, that they should be immediately supplied
with ammunition, or that it be so deposited in the hands
of the several committees, or other proper persons, that it
may be had upon the most sudden emergency. The former
would be by far the most eligible mode, if they would keep
it for the purposes for which it was given.
Should this fleet arrive on your coast, and the enemy to
penetrate the country, or to make incursions, I would recom-
mend that the earliest opposition be made by parties and
detachments of militia, without waiting to collect a large
body. I am convinced, that this would be attended with
the most salutary consequences, and that greater advantages
would be derived from it, than by deferring the opposition
till you assemble a number equal to that of the enemy. By
pursuing this mode, they would be much annoyed, and
would receive an early impression of the unfavorable dispo-
sition of the people towards them. Besides they would not
have the same opportunity of establishing themselves as
they otherwise would; and it may be added, that militia,
acting in large bodies, for want of discipline are unwieldy,
difficult to conduct, and less apt to render proportionate
services. These hints I take the liberty to suggest and
submit to you as worthy of attention. In the course of
this week, eighteen transports have arrived at York with
troops, supposed to be foreign from their uniform. Whether
they are immediately from Germany, or those which were
in Canada, is a matter of conjecture. Some have imagined
the latter would be called to reinforce General Howe.
I have the honor to be, &c.
His Excellency, PATRICK HENRY, Esq.,
Gov' of Virginia.
Patrick Henry to the Virginia Delegates in Congress.
WMSBUnGH June 20, 1777.
GENTLEMEN: I beg leave to observe to you, that in case
that part of Colo Harrison's Regiment which is now enlisted
is ordered from this State, Portsmouth must be abandoned,
and the Continental Frigates there building be probably
lost. One full Battalion of Troops of this State are under
orders to march to Jersey, & this makes it absolutely nec-
essary that our Batterys be manned by Colo Harrison's Artil-
lerymen. If Congress will consent to our keeping that
Regmt, consisting at present of scarce 300 men, it will be
necessary to direct that the officers observe the Orders of
the Executive here.
I must entreat to hear from Congress on this subject soon
as possible, & am with great regard,
yr. Mo. obt h'ble sert,
P. HENRY JE.
84 PATRICK HENRY.
Patrick Ienry to the President of Congress.
WMSBURGH July 8, 1777.
Sm: The first Battalion of Troops of this State are on
their March to join General Washington, agreeable to a
Resolution of the General Assembly. The Troops will I
doubt not be under a necessity of Inoculation for the Small
pox. This will delay their progress and occasion expense. As
the battalion is ordered into the Continental Service, it is
not doubted but that the Continent will defray every ex-
pense necessarily incurred thereby. I have therefore
directed Colo. Gibson, who commands the Battalion, to
draw on the Continental Treasury for the necessary sums
of money on his march. I. have also to request, Sir, that
orders may issue for the pay of this corps on the Continent-
al Account. With great Regard I have the Honor to be,
Y'. Mo. obt. & very
Patrick Henry to the Agent of Benjamin Franklin.
WMBBURGH July 15th 1777.
: SI: Our general Assembly have directed a new Edition
of the Laws to be forthwith printed, but I fear it can not
be done without providing other Types than what are here.
I understand Dr. Franklin left several sorts & sizes of
Types with you, & that they are just fit for our purpose.
I have to beg the Favor of you sir, to spare them for the
above purpose, as I know not where to get others at present.
The money shall be paid for them, the Types returned, or
others imported to replace them as soon as it can be done.
Which of these methods you chuse, if comunicated to me,
shall be cheerfully comply'd with by
y'. mo. h'ble Serv.t.
George Washington to Governor Henry.
PHILADELPHIA, 4 August 1777.
SIR: The great expense and loss of time, which has
attended the recruiting service in most of the States and
the little advantage derived from it, have induced Congress
to recommend to the executive powers of each, to adopt
certain new regulations, for promoting this important and
essential business, and for taking it entirely out of the hands
of the officers of the army. The resolve on this subject,
and the regulations recommended, passed on the 31st ultimo;
and will, I presume, be transmitted to you by the President.
I will not urge the expediency of carrying this proceeding
into immediate execution. I shall only observe that the
necessity is obvious, and that it demands our most active
attention. The principal cause of my troubling you at this
time is, to request that, after the persons recommended are
appointed in your State, you would be pleased to transmit
to me their names, their places of residence, and those also
designed for the rendezvous of recruits and deserters. As
soon as I am advised upon these subjects I shall recall all
the officers who are recruiting, and order them forthwith
to join their respective corps. But before I conclude I
would beg leave to mention, that the success of this interest-
ing business, in all its parts, will depend much upon a
judicious choice of those who are to be employed in it, and
that I think the districts should not be too large and
I have the honor, &c.,
His Excellency, PATRICK HENRY, EsQ.,
Governor of Virginia.
86 PATRICK HENRY.
Patrick Henry to the Virginia Delegates in Congress.
W"BURGH Aug. 6th 1777.
GENTLEMEN: I take the liberty to lay before Congress a
subject which hitherto has made no part of my correspon-
dence with them. It is of such a nature that I cannot be
persuaded to pass it over. The Council advise me to repre-
sent it in the following terms.
On the 4th inst I received from Lt Col Carrington the
letter which is sent herewith, desiring me not to appoint
any of Col Harrison's regimental officers in the Virga
artillery. I could not help considering it as a very officious
intermeddling, because he did not command the Regiment,
& because he thereby tells me not what I ought to do, but
what I ought not to do. Add to this, the Congress, the
Genl. Assembly of this state, & the executive power here,
have constantly proceeded on a different principle. But
more especially in the formation of that Regiment, the
Congress & executive here called into it a great variety of
officers from other corps. It is observable, that almost all
the artillery officers & Soldiers that served this State were
thrown into that Regiment, among whom the Gentleman
himself makes one. For these, and a variety of other con-
siderations, I sent his letter to me inclosed in a blank paper
directed to him. A few days before that, having under-
stood the Regiment were very badly armed & in extreme
Want of necessary, I desired Col Harrison to give me
a state of it with a roll specifying the deficiency. He
politely attended me from Portsmouth with an account of
what was wanted for the main Body at that place. The
next day Col Carrington inclosed his former letter to me
in a blank paper, and sent three other loose papers without
cover, direction, or signature, other than what you will per-
ceive, for I send them to you.
By these it is apparent the men suffer extremely, & his
officious & affrontive interposition is equally evident. After
Mr Ancram, a lieutt in that corps, was appointed a Capt. in
the Regiment ordered to be levyed by our assembly, he in-
formed me that Col Carrington ordered him peremptorily
to his station at York, at the same time he asked me for my
protection. I promised it to him, & have too much reason
to apprehend, from Mr. Carrington's former expressions
of discontent & dislike to the proceedings of our assembly,
& from the above recited particulars, that there will be
occasion for it. By his letters it appears he is restrained
from leaving his post, although it is not pretended there is
the least danger there, and it is certain there is not a due
proportion of men to the officers by one half, or near it.
I must now gentlemen take the liberty of making a few
observations, with that unreserve which the Nature of this
case constrains me to use, & which nothing else would have
extorted from me. Colo Harrison's Regiment was not one
of those which were to compose the quota of this country.
It was resolved by congress to be raised in this state, &
several appointments made in Conformity, & never signi-
fy'd to the assembly, or to me, except by sending the Res-
olution, & that not directed to either. However this meas-
ure was acceeded to. By so doing our corps of artillery
were given up, nor was it done with Backwardness or Re-
luctance. But if our officers, by this or any other manner,
becoming continental, may with impunity forget that Re-
spect which is due to this country, I must beg you will
judge of the consequences. Virginia has it is true, like the
most, or all of the confederated states, been deficient in the
Numbers of troops she was to furnish for the general de-
fence. In order to make it good, troops raised for our par-
ticular defense & service have been more than once parted
with. But will not these be retained in future, if those of
the continent do not behave in a becoming Manner. In
short will not- It is too painful for reflection. The
evils flowing from discord are so many and obvious, that I
need not dwell on the subject. Congress have lately de-
sired me, with the advice of Council, to draw warrants on
the Continental Treasury here for forwarding that service,
in the absence of a general officer. Is it not necessary,
every other consideration apart, that their officers should
at least be respectful, if not obedient. I have to request,
Gentlemen, that no Time may be lost in laying this mat-
ter before Congress. For although I recollect only Mr
Ancram, a Lieutenant, & Mr Valentine, a sergeant, that
are promoted from Colo Harrison's Regiment in our artil-
lery, & so the recruiting Business can't suffer greatly, yet I
shall not be easy so long as the Insult which Government
has received passes with Impunity.
Yours &c., P. HENRY.
William Christian to Patrick Henry.
HAWBOTTOM August 12th 1777.
DEIAR BROTHER : I received yours by Mr Madison, & this
day another letter by Mr Walker. I would by no means
wish you to swop your Ohio Estate away on any account
whatever; I cant think of your parting with it, unless to
your own children upon the approach of your Matrimonial
affair. I wish you Joy of that, as I suppose it will be over
before I see you. I have made some enquiry, but no place
offers to my liking. I will not cease to try, & there is no
danger but you can be suited: If no other way, you shall
have this one I live on, & I will be your near neighbor at
Town, or go to my James river land, so that you may lay
out your Accounts as soon as you please for making prepara-
tions to move your estate. I will soon know whether M'
Madison will take his own money for the Store House; when
he went up he said he would not, but I expected he would
if offered to him. Perhaps something more suitable still
may offer. Our news from the northward Indians is vari-
ous. Perhaps this summer may also pass in peace. I have
no fear that I shall be driven from here. The 30th of July
4 people were killed on Clinch. I Judge it was done by the
Ten Mingoes that were amongst the Cherokees as they re-
turned home. I rec'd the acc by Express from Col. Cam-
bell, but thought it needless to forward it to the Executive.
The greatest want he is at for his Militia is an order for
about half a ton of Lead to the mines. I want to stay at
Home this month In order to get into our new house, and
our work in a good way; next month I propose being down,
but uncertain what time of it, in order to settle my money
account, & to get an order for running the Indian line, &
the money to buy the cows & sheep with. I hope the
money could be had at any time, without delaying me in
Williamsburg. I wrote by Mckee if my presence was neces-
sary immediately I would go down, but I wish to wait at
home this month, & some of next if possible. I am dear Sir,
To PATRICK HENRY, EsQ',
Patrick Henry to Richard Henry Lee.
WBUnRG Aug 30t 1777.
DEAR SIR: Many thanks are due to you for your agree-
able Favor by post. The fleet went up the Bay long since,
& before this you must have heard of their movements. I
have not heard of the Troops landing. The whole affair is
strange and unaccountable. Our Eastern Shore is alarmed,
but not intimidated so much as expected, several Recu-
sants having taken the oath on sight of the fleet. I have
ordered some Reenforcements there, vizt 2 Galleys, & 2 or 3
company of Regulars; & I do think it may be of essential
service to throw a large number of men there, if the Enemy
form lines from the waters of Elk to Delaware. Graham's
draft is not forged. He was very useful to this State in
furnishing necessaries on a liberal plan. I hope therefore
he may meet with civility and receive his money.
Burgoyne's progress alarmed some, but I hope the N. Eng-
land men will repel him. The affair of Tyconderoga was
mortifying. Hurry obliges me to conclude, begging for all
90 PATRICK HENRY.
the Intelligence possible to be had at this critical and in-
teresting period. Farewell, my dear sir,
I am affectionately yours,
HON. R. H. LEE,
At the Congress.
Patrick Henry to the President of Congress.
WMSBURGH Augt 30th 1777.
Sm : I was honor'd with yours covering the Resolutions
of Congress for calling into service a number of Militia
from different States. I have lost no time, but have in-
stantly sent off expresses to the different Countys men-
tioned by Congress, ordering one Third of their Militia to
rendezvous at Frederick-Town in Maryland.
I beg leave to give you, Sir, my congratulations on the
success of our Arms in the North. Be pleased to accept
my best respects, & to be assured of the high regard with
which I have the honor to be,
Y' mo. obedient & very hble Servant,
the HoEble JOHN HANCOCK, ESQ'.
Patrick Henry to Colonel William Preston, of Botetourt
W"-BURG Sepr 1"t 1777.
SI : The Express brot me y' Favor. I am very sorry to
hear of the War which has again broke out. Your orders
to the Militia to be in readiness are very proper; and I
would have you cooperate with Colo Shelby, who has the
Command in Washington of the Forces kept up, & afford
him such assistance from Time to Time as the public
Danger may require, & yr County be able to spare. Scouts
are absolutely necessary. Good ones may be the means of
saving you. I approve Col Shelby's plan of Defence, &
hope it may be executed, as an Expedition over Ohio is im-
possible now. If the Enemy break into your County, your
Defence must be your own Militia. If they are too weak,
other Countys must reenforce them. But they must fight
if invaded. Col Fleming will have Directions to co-op-
erate. If Ammunition is wanted send down for it. The
Manager at the Mines will deliver Lead; perhaps powder
can't be had nearer than Richmond. Col Southall will
deliver it to yr order. I can't make any appointment of
regular Officers in yr County as I know not who is proper.
Wishing you safety, I am, Sir,
Yr. mo. obt. & very hble servt.
Patrick Henry to George Washington.
WILLIAMSBURG, 5. September, 1777.
SIR: Edmund Randolph, Esq., communicated to me that
part of your last letter to him, in which you are pleased to
take notice of your lady's reception at this place. I beg
you to be assured, that every expression of regard falls far
short of that which I feel, and shall retain through life, for
such distinguished merit.
You are pleased also to observe, that you have not re-
ceived any answer from me to your two favors of the 13th of
April and 17th of May last. The latter has never been
received; the former would have been answered, but really,
when I have considered the extent, variety, and importance
of the things which occupy your attention, I have been
afraid of pestering you with letters. The scheme of em-
bodying volunteers was no more thought of after the receipt
of yours, in which it appeared to be against your wishes. In
that, as in every military measure, I shall be solely guided
by your opinions.
Upon the appearance of the British fleet, about three
thousand militia were embodied. They have shown great
alacrity. A third part of the militia of Prince William,
Loudoun, Fairfax, Culpepper, Fauquier, Berkeley, Dun-
more, and Frederic, is ordered to rendezvous at Frederick-
town, in Mary land, and there to await your orders. I have
thought it of great consequence to throw some troops on the
eastern shore, but it is rather disagreeable to the militia,
and, for want of more regulars, two companies only are gone
Colonel N. Gist, with seventeen Cherokees, being here,
chose also to go over, and is gone. Although a good peace
is made with the Cherokees, yet our south-western frontier
is much harassed with small parties of Indians. General
Hand expects pretty warm work about Pittsburg.
Could any particular assistance be rendered to you by
Virginia, at this juncture, I should be made happy. Early
intelligence of the enemy's motions may be of the highest
moment, should they come down the Bay.
I beg leave to assure you of that perfect esteem and high
regard, with which I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient and very humble servant,
His Excellency, GENERAL GEO. WASHINGTON.
Richard Henry Lee to Patrick Henry.
PHILADELPHIA 8th. Sept. 1777.
DEAR SIR: Nothing new hath happened that we know
of since my last. But it seems extremely probable that a
general engagement will take place in a day or two between
the American Army and Gen. Howe. The Quaker motto
ought to be "Nos turba sumus," for if you attack one the
whole society is roused. You will see by the inclosed
testimonies a uniform, fixed enmity to American measures,
which, with the universal ill fame of some capital persons,
has occasioned the arrest of old Pemberton and several
others, to prevent their mischievous interposition in favor
of the enemy at this critical moment, when the enemies'
army is on its way here, with professed design to give this
city up to the pillage of the soldiery. They have taken in-
finite pains, according to custom, to move heaven and earth
in their favor, and have transmitted copies of their indecent
remonstrances over the country. Congress have, to prevent
ill impressions, ordered their several inimical testimonies
to be published in one Hand-bill. Altho' nothing can be
more certain than that allegiance & protection are reciprocal
duties, yet these men have the assurance to call for the
protection of' those laws and that Government which they
expressly disclaim, and refuse to give any evidence of their
allegience to. There is no doubt but that they will endeavor
by means of the Friends" in Virginia, to make disturb-
ance and raise discontent there, but this may serve to put
you on your guard. We understand that Gen. Howe has
put all his heavy baggage, and even his tents, on board ship,
and that all his fleet, except a few ships of war, have fall-
en down to the mouth of Sassafrass, and many of them
gone down the bay-The army has three or four days vic-
tuals cooked, and by all their maneuvres it seems clear that
they mean to urge their way to this place. Genl. Washing-
ton is within 6 miles of their main body, and determined
not to remove without a battle. By your letter of the 30th
last, it would seem that you have not received many letters
from me that I have written, not one post since my arrival
here on the 12. of August having gone without a letter to
you with all the national news, besides one by express. It is
really discouraging to write so much as I do, having so little
time, and yet my friends not receive my letters. This day
Congress has proposed that the Quaker Tories should be
sent forthwith to Staunton in Augusta. I hope you will
have them well secured there, for they are mischievous
people. Should Howe be disappointed here, as it seems
very likely that he will, it is more than probable that he will
endeavor to do us all the injury in his power as he returns,
94 PATRICK HENRY.
and therefore it will be wise to be as well prepared for him
as possible-I am dear sir, most affectionately yours,
RICHARD HENRY LEE.
His Excellency, PATRICK HENRY, ESQ.
P. S.-The worthy Baron Kalb desires me to ask your
good offices in procuring his baggage to be forwarded, by
sending you the enclosed, which shows the route travelled,
and where his trunks were left-at Wright's ordinary.
R. H. LEE.
Patrick Henry to Richard Henry Lee.
W-BuuOH Sept 12th 1777.
Your agreeable favor my dear sir, gave me great pleas-
ure. I rejoice at our success over Burgoyne, & I rejoice
because the New England men had so great a share in it.
For a malevolent set are continually endeavouring to spread
jealousys of these our honest, best, & most faithful allys.
In proportion as I hear them traduced my Esteem for them
increases. I hope now we shall hear no more to their pre-
judice. Indeed I'm not a judge how far they have lately
complyed with the Requisitions of Congress, but only speak
of them as they stood when I was a member. My plan was
to throw a Body of Troops on the Eastern shore, but the
Enemy's ships have made that impracticable in some meas-
ure. I've sent pressing orders, & repeatedly, to Colo Gib-
son to go on, & he will do so whenever the men are able. I
laid the Requisition for the Cables &c. before our Navy
Board, but their answer is that the size of them is too
large. I shall send it enclosed. I am much pleased to
hear of the spirit with which the militia turn out. Their
ardour is great. We have a few corps of them here, but
they are impatient to go home.
Hearing from undoubted intelligence that our lost officers
are imprisoned at N. York, & having one Lieutenant and
3 midship men of the Enemy's prisoners here, I've ordered
them close prisoners in gaol by way of Retaliation. I have
resisted the first impulses to this measure, but repeated
proofs of inhuman Treatment to our people will suffer no
Seventeen Cherokees with Colo Gist are gone to the East-
ern shore with two company of Regulars. The Ohio In-
dians are troublesome, & General Hand meditates some
offensive measures. As the Defence of this country now
rests on the militia, & they cannot be kept constantly em-
bodyed, it becomes necessary for the public safety to receive
the quickest Intelligence of the Enemy's motions. I'm not
without Hopes that they may be forced to embark again, &
in that case they may ravage to great extent, unless there is
time for preparation to receive them. I have sent Capt.
Peirce to the camp for the sole purpose of gaining Intelli-
gence, & in the mean time shall be exceedingly obliged to
you to continue yr agreeable Intercourse, by which I re-
ceive so much pleasure, & the public is availed of those In-
cidents that so much concern it to know.
Wishing you Health, & the
enjoyment of every good thing, I remain
My dear sir,
Your affectionate humble servant,
R. H. LEE, Esq.
Baron Kalb's trunk shall be sought for.
P. S. Lieutenant Colo Carrington having made every con-
cession that was proper, I have to entreat that congress will,
if agreeable to them, erase the Resolution respecting him,
that nothing to his prejudice may appear hereafter. P. H.
The Navy Board answer they can't without difficulty get
Hemp to supply our own little navy.
96 PATRICK HENRY.
Richard Henry Lee to Patrick Henry.
PHILADELPHIA, Sep 13th 1777.
MY DEAR SIR: On the 11th instant at Chadsford on the
Brandywine, about ten miles from Wilmington, we had a
most bloody battle with Gen Howe's whole army, which
ended, after 4 hours engagement, in the enemies keeping the
field and our army retiring. But Gen. Howe may say with
Pyrrhus, such another victory will ruin me. Every account
of officers and country people, who have been in the field
since the action, say the Enemy's loss in killed and wounded
must be between 2 & 3000. Nothing proves this more
strongly than their remaining yet upon the field of battle,
when every interest calls upon them to push on. Our loss
in killed & wounded scarcely comes up to 500. The Mili-
tia were never engaged, nor was a strong division of our
Army much in battle. The Virginia troops have gained
immortal honor. No capital offices are lost, and none
wounded, except the Marquis Fayette in the leg, & Gen
Woodford in the hand, but neither badly. Our army is
now, the greatest part, between Darby & Schuylkill, two
brigades on this side-all in high spirits & wishing for
another trial with the enemy. We are collecting reinforce-
ments with all diligence, & hope yet to give a good account
of Gen. Howe. Gen. Smallwood with 1500 Maryland
militia is coming fast upon the enemy's rear.
Farewell dear Sir,
RICHARD HENRY LEE.
His Excellency, PATRICK HENRY, Esq.
William Lee to Patrick Henry.
NANTEs 30 Septr 1777.
SIR: Mr. King has communicated to me the authority he
has from you, to make an engagement of a commercial kind
in behalf of the State of Virginia with any merchant in