<br /> Lee Letter: b007

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: – –

My Dearest Sir,

By Captain Talman, I was favoured with your obliging letter of April last, before the receipt of which, I had been informed of the fatal blow given to American liberty, by the ever to be detested stamp act. I am greatly obliged to you, my best friend, for your design of helping me to that collection; but it is very well that the appointment has passed me, since, by the unanimous suffrage of his countrymen . . . is regarded as an execrable monster, who with parricidal heart and hands, hath concern in the ruin of his native country. The light in which our Assembly viewed that act, may be collected from their resolves at the last meeting, which occasioned their dissolution. I would have sent you a copy, had I not been persuaded that some of your numerous friends had done so already.

Have you read a pamphlet said to be written by George Grenville, in which he has, in vain, laboured to prove the legislative right of Britain to tax America? If no better arguments can be produced in support of the measures he contends for, it proves the intrinsic vileness of his scheme; and shows indeed, that systems calculated to destroy public liberty, can be maintained only by idle sophistry and a poor affectation of wit. It is most clear, that such doctrines are as far remote from true policy as they are apparently the production of a futile dealer in expedients, who understands not to draw the necessary supplies of government from such sources only as are consistent with the end of all government, the safety, ease, and happiness of the people.

Yours affectionately.

R. H. Lee


Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume I, 1762 – 1778, pp. 9 – 10. Original transcription taken from R. H. Lee, Memoir of the Life of Richard Henry Lee and his Correspondence, 1:31.