SKU: A01835 Categories: ,


Description: In his January 27th, 1775 autograph letter signed from Williamsburg, Charles Lee critiques Robert Morris, the financier of the  Revolutionary War, in his characteristic manner. He considers Robert Morris’ position as being “in pursuit of a chimera” and sees Morris’ province (Pennsylvania) similar to a “damn’d slow quavering Nag.” He also praises the virtues of the people of Virginia and Maryland who were ready for war. The first major battle of the American Revolution was the Battle of Charlestown (now referred to as the Battle of Bunker Hill).

“Dear Sir,

I received your letter of credit on Mr. Inglis, for which I return you my hearty thanks. I shall make very little use of it as I only want sufficient money to carry me to Charles Town. I am very sorry your Province cannot be prevailed upon to arm themselves, as I think as it absolutely necessary in the present crisis–it is necessary every way– either the ministry must recede or they must persist. If they recede your Province will incur disgrace in having shown less spirit than the others less powerful and if they persist you will be unprepared for the resistance necessary–but you have always, in my opinion, been in pursuit of a chimera–absolute unanimity which cannot be expected in a society of any considerable extent– that damn’d slow heavy quaverring Nag your province is mounted upon ought be flogg’d and spurr’d. Though she kicks and plunges –if it had not been for the smart whip of my friend Phister(?) I believe she never wou’d have advanced a single inch. Virginia and Maryland ride most noble mettled coursers–but to drop this jockey metaphor they are a noble spirited People–never was such vigor and concord heard off–not a single traitor scarcely a silent dissentient–the whole Country is full of soldiers–all furnish’d, all in arms– I hope, Mr Doreius (an oblique reference to the Spartan prince?), has drawn for the money– Adieu.

Dear Sir/ Yours/ C Lee

My respects to Mrs Morris–”

Two pages handwritten on 12 ½” x 8”  ivory laid paper. Stampless cover addressed “To, Robert Morris Esq’r, Philadelphia.” with a “WmsBURG” straight line cancellation. Paper has a full large watermark of an encircled seated liberty with a crown above. Item #A01835

General Charles Lee (1732-1782) was an English-born military officer who sympathized with North American colonialists. He served as a General of the Continental Army and greatly influenced many military maneuvers. His career, however, was tarnished by his relentless criticism of and insubordination to General Washington, for which he faced court martial. Lee was found guilty and relieved of command for a period of one year, but was dismissed from the service in 1780 after he continued to criticize Washington.

Robert Morris (1734-1806) an English-born American merchant, slave trader, and politician was one of the founding fathers of  the United States. He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and The U.S. Constitution.

Condition: Traces of mounting glue along the left blank margin. A couple of short edge splits reinforced with archival tissue/tape. Small paper loss from wax seal with no loss of text. Generally very good condition.