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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Charles Lee to William Henry Drayton
Lee, Charles, 1731-1782
March 11, 1779
Volume 14, Pages 274-275

[From Executive Letter Book.]

Philadelphia, 11th March, 1779.


As I have finished all my affairs, and am given to understand that you will probably set out soon for South Carolina, I take the liberty of addressing you this letter, which is to close our correspondence forever. Till very lately I was taught to consider you as a pompous, ridiculous, dramatic person, a mere Malvolio, never to be thought or spoken of but for the sake of laughter, and when the humor for laughter subsided never to be thought or spoken of more; but I find I was mistaken; I find that you are as malignant a scoundrel as you are universally allowed to be, a ridiculous and disgusting Coxcomb. You say that I am legally disgraced by the absurd and ridiculous sentence of the Court martial by which I was tried; all I shall say in reply is that I can, with confidence, pronounce that every man of every rank in the Army, who was present at the trial, every man out of the Army, every man on the whole Continent (perhaps indeed I might except Mr. Penn of North Carolina, with a few others of his level of Understanding) who has read the proceedings, is of opinion that the stigma is not on him on whom the sentence was passed, but on those who passed it. To do you justice, I do not believe you quite blockhead enough to think the charges had a shadow of support. With respect to the confirmation of this curious sentence, I do not conceive myself at liberty to make any comments on it, as it is an affair of Congress, for which body I ever had and ought to have the most profound respect. I shall

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only lament that they should be ever disgraced by so foul a member as Mr. Wm. Henry Drayton. You tell me the Americans are the most merciful people on earth; there was no occasion, for they gave the strongest proof of it in not hanging you up long ago, with all the other advocates for the stamp act. And do not flatter yourself that all your violent airs of Patriotism or your impertinent letter to the Commissioners and the King, will ever wash away the stain.

If you think the terms I have made use of severe and unmerited, my friend Major Edwards is commissioned to point out the remedy.