I must inform you that Dr Lee & Dr Berkenhout, mentiond by the Querist, were formerly fellow Students at Edinburgh; and as both were esteemed learned in their Profession, it is not improbable that on that Account they kept up their Acquaintance while both continued in Great Britain. Dr Lee you know was requested by Congress to go over to France, where he was made a joynt Commissioner with Messrs Franklin & Dean. It is possible that a Correspondence might afterwards have been carried on between them; but from the Knowledge I have of Dr Lee, I will venture to pledge my self it was not a criminal one, as the Querist would seem to insinuate, and if Dr Berkenhout was in the Service & under the Direction of the British Ministry, which by the Way is but base Suspicion here, it was utterly unknown to Dr Lee. It is doubtful whether any Correspondence was held between these two Gentlemen. I am rather inclind to think it is a Creature of the Querists own Fancy, or an artful Suggestion thrown out to the Publick to serve the Cause of our Enemies. America shod beware how she suffers the Character of one of the most able & vigilant Supporters of her Rights to be injurd by Questions designd to impute Slander, without any Reasons offerd why such Questions should be made. It is the old Game of mischievous Men to strike at the Characters of the good and the great, in order to lessen the Weight of their Example & Influence. Such Patriots as Lord Russell & Algernon Sydney of the last Age, have of late been falsly & audaciously chargd by a Scotch Tool of the most nefarious Court, with having receivd Bribes from the National Enemy; and it is not strange that a Gentleman whom the leading Whigs of America have always placd so high in their List of Patriots, who has renderd the most laborious & important Services to our Country in England France & other Parts of Europe, who so often & so seasonably developd the secret Intrigues & Practices of wicked Men & who at this time stands high in the Esteem & Confidence of the Congress, & in addition to this, when it is considerd that there are too many disaffected & insidious Men still lurking among us, it is by no Means a strange Thing that Dr Lee is also chargd with a criminal Correspondence with the Enemy, without even the Shadow of Reason.
The Post who has been retarded by violent Rains is just arrivd & brings me your obliging favr of 30 Sept. It contains very interesting Matters which shall have my Attention at a more leisure Hour than the present.
TO JONATHAN TRUMBULL.
[Ms., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]
PHILAD Oct 16 — 78