[Ms., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]
Philade Octob 31 1780
I cannot begin this Letter but by intreating you to impute my past Omission to any Cause you please excepting a Forgetfulness or willful Neglect. The making of Apologys is among Friends so formal a Business that I hardly know how to set myself about it. I am sure you will not be prevaild upon to suspect the Cordiality of my Affection for you. That I assure you would be punishing me more than I am conscious I deserve. I will frankly own to you that I am astonishd at the Reflection of four Months having elapsd since I last came to this City, without my having written to you one Letter, even to acknowledge the favor I have receivd from you. But will you my friend bury what may seem to you a Fault in oblivion upon my Promise to amend for the future.
I have more to say to you than my Leisure will at present allow. And indeed the Situation of your Country, I fear is likely to be such as to render the Conveyance of Letters precarious and a free Communication of Sentiments unsafe. Should they fall into the Enemies hands we know not what Use they will make of them—to be sure an ill use & very probably injurious to our great Cause.
I hope the People of Virginia are able to prevent the Troops that may have arrivd from taking a Post there. It will give our Enemies occasion to boast of their having subdued that populous State, in order to give an unfavorable Aspect to our Affairs, in Europe. This, with other important Considerations, should induce you to make every possible Exertion to defeat their Design. I have always thought that the Intelligence contained in a Letter of Colo Campbell intercepted last Spring was genuine. If so, the making a Lodgment at Portsmouth is a material Part of their Plan.
Upon conversing with your Brother Mr Arthur Lee, I am confirmd in my own opinion that his Character is very different from that which his Enemies gave him two years ago. You know I have long corresponded with him, and a Mans confidential Letters are so sure a Criterion by which to judge of his real Disposition, that I before thought I could not be mistaken. He has shared the Fate of honest Patriots in all Times of Corruption in being persecuted. But I am satisfied the People in the Eastern States entertain an high opinion of his Integrity & Abilities. I hope he will meet with Justice in Congress. I think he merits Applause.