Gunston-Hall March 4th. 1777.
I never heard a word of the Report you mention, until the Day before I received yr. Favour of the 12th Ulto. when hearing it accidentally from a second or third Hand, I took upon me immediatly to contradict it; and thought I had good Authority from the Letters I saw, during the sitting of the Assembly, from you & yr. Brother, Colo. F. Lee, mentioning the Retreat thro' the Jerseys, to affirm that it was an infamous Falsehood. I beleive it has gained no Manner of Credit, & don't think it's worth giving you a Moment's Uneasiness.
The Gallies now building I hope will be able to afford sufficient Protection to our Bay. I am sure they are as many as can possibly be built and man'd, before the next Meeting of the Assembly. I shou'd be glad to be inform'd if the Governor & Council have proposed to the Congress to furnish them our small Gallies, in Lieu of those they ordered to be built here, for the Protection & Transportation of their Troops over our Rivers; & the Result.
We have a very extraordinary Peice of Intelligence (I suppose it's a tory Invention to delay the raising our Army) in Goddart's Baltemore Paper of the 25th. of Febry. If there is any Truth in it, the British Ministry must be hard push'd, & see that a french War is inevitable. Surely Congress will be cautious how they are drawn into a fruitless Negotiation, or commit any Breach of Faith with foreign Nations: they best know the Powers & Instructions given Dr. Franklin. At any Rate, let us do nothing to cramp our Exports to any Part of the World; they are the only Means by which we can expect to discharge the enormous Debt this War has created. —I really think such a Publication ought not to have been suffered, & that the author shou'd be inquired after.
I beg to be kindly remembered to your Brother Colo. F. Lee, & Mr. Page, and am Dr Sir Yr. affecte. Friend & Sert.