• The Lees of Virginia
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  • The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia

The Lee Family Digital Archive is the largest online source for primary source materials concerning the Lee family of Virginia. It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online. We are always looking for new letters, diaries, and books to add to our website. Do you have a rare item that you would like to donate or share with us? If so, please contact our editor, Colin Woodward, at  (804) 493-1940, about how you can contribute to this historic project.


 

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Chantilly in Virginia April 5, 1770

 

Dear Brother,

I wrote you last from Williamsburg by Capt. Nicks, since which I have been favored with two letters from you, the one by Somerville, the other by Page. I am much obliged to you for the political intelligence they contain. It is some comfort to have the virtuous on our side, altho, we are unsuccessful. I am therefore much pleased to hear these great and good men Lords Shelburne, Chatham, and Camden are with us. But alas I fear, the cause of public liberty, like the setting sun, is going to disappear. I mean from Britain, but I hope America will insist on being free. We are however a good deal disturbed here at the K - s speech - We cannot make it square with the promises (authorised by the highest authority) made to all the Assemblies by the several Governors. Time must develope this mystery. ’Tis some state trick, that plain honesty cannot easily penetrate. Our Assembly meets at its adjourned day in May next, when such measures will be adopted, as our intelligence from London, shall render wise and necessary. Inclosed you have the certificates of your appointment that you desired. One of them is signed by Mr. Parker and myself, the other is an exact copy from the books, which it is proper Mr. Wm. Lee should sign as he was then Treasurer. We expect you will resume our business when a favorable prospect opens, and I beg leave to refer you to my letter by Capt. Nicks on that subject. I do not know how you came to suppose our edition of the Farmers & Monitors letters to have been contrived by our friend Mr. Parker. It was the benefit of my Country that suggested the measure to me and I accordingly wrote the preface, and the terms, negotiated the whole matter with Rind, and got several hundred subscribers for the pamphlets - Rind thanked me for the great profit he had made, and indeed, in the hands of a diligent printer, a very considerable benefit would have arisen as the books were called for faster than he could finish them. Of these pamphlets I have sent one for Lord Shelburne, for Colo. Barre, Mrs. MacCauley, Mr. Jenings, the Revd. Mr. Porteus, Mr. John Stewart my friend. Yourself and Mr. Wm. Lee. These, with letters for them in in a box directed to you, which I have desired Mr. Lee to open if you are not in Town, and deliver Mr. Jenings. Mr. Porteus, and Mr. Stewart their pamphlets. Those for Lord Shelburne Mrs. MaCauley, Colo. Barre, I have requested Mr. Lee to get neatly bound in London before they are presented - The letters for them are left open for your perusal, which you will afterwards please to seal with your arms and deliver.

Capt. Johnstoun has bought your horse young Dabster for thirteen guineas I inclose you an order on him for. I have done everything in my power to sell the two Dabsters, and the chair, in vain - I sent them to the Fredericksburg fair, and then Colo. Thomas our brother attended with them, and could get but £22. offered for them both - The times are greatly altered here, - Carriages do not sell, nor are high priced horses in demand. As quickly as I can get old Dabster and the chair off, you shall have the money - You have also a bill inclosed for £13. sterling, part of Will Brents protest. This bill came to my hands yesterday, with the balance £3.8.6 in paper currency. If I can possibly, before Johnstoun sails, get a bill for this, and as much of my own money as will make up £20. sterling I will not fail to send it. It gives me concern, that I cannot remit all. I owe you for the two horses I bought, but I have been cruelly disappointed in not getting my cash up the country, where I have £200. now due me. I am going there in a few days, and I think you may depend on it by Greigs ship, that will sail I suppose next month. I am the more affected on this ocassion, because I know you want the money. Colo. Phil, assures me that Molleson has orders to pay you the interest of your fortune immediately, and he is determined to pay up your interest annually, in consideration of which he requests that you will not send in any power of Attorney against him - He is now much distressed by a judgment that he was surprized with of one Bromn s Assigneés against him for £600. He is however going directly to sell off all his detached pieces of land, which with his income from Semple will discharge all demands against him soon. Semple I believe owes him largely now, and he intends (as his Mortgage warrants him) for the future to insist on the most punctual payments, or convey the works to one who will pay. I apprehend that Molleson supresses orders that he receives to pay you money from Colo. Phil - Therefore I would enquire of him if he had not received directions to pay you so much money Annually. In the box you will see the Virginia Gazette 15 Feby. and you may observe the insolent letter from London 10 Novr. 1769. I was resolved not to let insolence and falsehood go unpunished and therefore I sent the press and an animadversion on him as well as the other Adressers - This Gazette has not yet come to hand, but I will send it by next opportunity. Colo. Harry Lee tells me that he ordered Mr. Molleson to pay you the seven pistoles for which you left me an order on him. Let me know if you have got this money, or if not, what is Molleson’s reason for not paying it. Our relation Capt. John Lee of Essex request that you will write to Dr. Hamilton of Edenburg to get him a Tutor, and in doing this, the following method is to be observed. Capt. Lee has already written to one Mr. Robert Fergusson Merchant at Sand gate in the shire of Air to procure him a Tutor; but fearing this gentleman might not be acquainted with such business and therefore fail to furnish him, he judged it prudent, by you, to apply to Dr. Hamilton - This Mr. Fergusson is acquainted with Mr. Lee s terms, which makes it necessary, that he should be applied to, before an engagement is made with a Tutor, and likewise to prevent an accident of two Tutors being sent over. I am acquainted with no part of the terms, but, that Mr. Lee offers £30 a year salary. I have not yet got Mrs. MaCauley s history - Will you be pleased to purchase it for me, and any other of her works that may be published - Apply to Mr. Lee for cash to pay for these - You have never informed me, if the wine was received by Do[ctor] Fothergill, or how the old gentleman liked it. The storm in Sep[t] last, by distroying the grapes, prevented any wine from being made in these parts. I have been constantly on the look out for a rattle snake and am now promised by a gentleman above that he will exert himself to get one against Capt. Grieg’s ship sails, or Walker’s at furthest. Let me know if you please whether it will be agreeable to Lord Shelburne, that I send him a cask of our finest spirit made from the peach. It is so highly flavorous, and partakes so much of the fruit, that I really think ’tis much preferable to the finest Arrack - I am my dear brothers

most affectionate faithful friend.

R. H. Lee

 

Since writing this letter, I have inclosed your bills, one for £13 - the other for £20. and an order on Capt. Johnstoun for thirteen guineas by the Lord Camden in another Letter. Since writing the above I have thought it expedient to put in this letter duplicates of the bills and orders.

 

 

Source: Lee Papers, University of Virginia Archives

 

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762-1778, pp. 41-45.

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