Description: CHARLES LEE
(1731 - 1782) American Revolution second-ranking major general, taken prisoner and thereafter secretly conspired with Howe to defeat the Americans. He was later exchanged and while engaged at Monmouth his retreat nearly cost the battle. Dismissed, 1780. Fine content A.L.S. "Cha: Lee", 2pp. 4to., London, Jan. 12,  to Lord Shelburne concerning a proposal to raise a British regiment in North America. He writes, in full: "The opinion I have of your Lordships goodness and generosity of temper encourages me to take a liberty which I wou'd scarcely take with any other man living. I am confident from this opinion that altho you shou'd look upon my scheme as absurd. You will pardon my impertinence in intreating [sic] your patronage. You must know, My Lord, that some time ago You presented the inclo'd proposals to Lord Bute, who did not seem to disapprove of it and at present since the declaration of the Spanish war seems to relish 'em as of more obvious utility. His greatest objection, I believe, is an unwillingness to enter upon this measure with the concurrence of Mr Amherst, but this objection I fancy, wou'd be immediately surmounted by a proper representation of the delays which must necessarily attend the appealing to his judgment and certainly if the scheme is rational, the immediate execution of it is more so. I therefore, My Lord, apply to your goodness that this obstacle may be remov'd, or in short that this scheme may be patroniz'd, if You do not think it is too absurd, if you do, I only beg that you will condemn it to the flames, but not withdraw any part of the favourable opinion with which I flatter myself you might have honor'd me..." Addressed in his hand on the integral address leaf: "To The Earl of Shelbourne". Lee had already been in America serving under Braddock in 1754 and soon married the daughter of a Mohawk Indian chief. He later took part in the assault on Louisbourg in 1758 and was wounded at the unsuccessful British attempt on Ticonderoga. After the fall of Montreal in 1760 he returned to England. Lee was unable to gain sanction for his American regiment and instead served as a major in the Portuguese army fighting in Spain in 1762. At the close of the Seven Years War, he retired as a major. After a few brief stints with the Polish Army, he emmigrated to America in 1773 (anticipating a conflict and sympathetic with the colonists' cause). An unusually early example with good content. Usual folds, minor marginal wear, weak fold at left margin repaired, else very good to fine condition.