General Charles Lee, Traitor or Patriot?

General Charles Lee, Traitor or Patriot?

General Charles Lee, Traitor or Patriot?

General Charles Lee, Traitor or Patriot?

Excerpt

This is an attempt to tell the history of an extraordinary individual, of an Englishman who played a major role as an American leader in the drama of the American Revolution. It is not the first book to be devoted to a study of the career of Charles Lee. Four works concerning Lee, by Edward Langworthy, Sir Henry Bunbury, Jared Sparks, and George H. Moore, were published between 1792 and 1860. Of these, the biography written by Sparks is the only one of any considerable value. The others are brief, and that by Moore is permeated by strong prejudice against its subject. Although large quantities of data concerning the American Revolution-- and Lee--have become available since 1860, no full-length study of Lee has hitherto appeared. This circumstance is probably explained in part by the fact that Lee became a bitter enemy of George Washington and ipso facto a sinister figure in the minds of many persons, including even historians; and it undoubtedly proceeds in part from a suspicion that Lee was a traitor to the American cause. Nevertheless, Lee was one of the fathers of the American Republic, and his career obviously deserves serious examination. The present writer has tried to set aside national, partisan, and personal prejudices and to relate objectively his story upon the basis of the evidence now available. The Lee who appears herein is, in all likelihood, not the Lee the reader has known, but it is hoped that he bears strong resemblance to the original. If the writer's judgments of Lee seem too favorable, they do not proceed from a desire to set up an idol nor from a wish to destroy one, but from the bias which the author of a biographical study commonly develops toward his subject.

The writer gratefully acknowledges the courtesies and assistance of the staffs of the Don Love Memorial Library, University of Nebraska; the Nebraska Historical Society; the General Library, University of Michigan; the William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan; the Library of Congress; the Archives of the United States of America; the New York Public . . .

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