From the short acquaintance I have with you, I count much on your benevolence & to that I trust for indulgence in the liberty I am going to take
Recent events have so shakened my amicable & social relations that I am obliged to ascertain & establish a line of feeling in every direction I may wish to proceed in. I have a very important cause depending in this Superior Court, which will probably be tried next April. My adversary I am told has fortified himself by enlisting the ability & weight of Mr. Philip Barbour of Congress; & I am desirous to obtain the assistance of Mr. Watkins Lieghs Superior talents. It is not so much for the damages I may gain but for the interesting legal importance of the decision, that I am anxious for the best counsel.
Will you do me the favour to enquire of Mr. Liegh whether he will argue the cause (trespass on the case) for me. What the fee he will require, & whether my note for the amt. with good security will be considered as retaining him, it being understood that Mr. Leigh be at liberty to decline a threading to the case unless I pay my note before the trial?
I trust you will make no unnecessary revelation of the object of this letter & that you will make use of the most suitable measures to get from Mr. Liegh a favourable response.
I am, dear Sir,
Very sincerely yr. sert.
P.S. The bearer is a musician & organist. He has tuned Mrs. Lee’s piano. She & Mrs. B. say exquisitely. Pray trust him among the musical people of Richmond.
Stratford 12th Septr. 1821
Source: The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 2, M2009.136, Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 April 21