<br /> Lee Letter: b008

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Arthur Lee

* * * Every man in America hath much reason to lament with you, the loss of American liberty. As bad indeed as Egyptian bondage, is now become the fate of every inhabitant of America, by the mother country being converted into an arbitrary, cruel, and oppressive step-dame. But this most unjust proceeding (the stamp act) against us, should instruct every American, that as liberty can never be supported without arts and learning, a diligent attention to those should be the ruling object, with every thinking man. But then, my brother, when these, or either of these are acquired, should not their possessor import them into his native country; which, if forsaken by the best of her sons, must fall into barbarous ignorance, and of course, become a fit subject for tyrannical natures to impose arbitrary and injurious acts upon. Should America make the same progress in the arts and sciences, as she infallibly must do in numbers of people, despotism will quickly learn, that her friendship is on no other terms to be obtained than by a free intercourse and equal participation of good offices, liberty and free constitution of government.

America, then, has a parent s claim to her descendants, and a right to insist that they shall not fix in any place, where, by so doing, they may add strength to cruel and tyrannical oppression. I am, my dear brother, ever

your affectionate, faithful friend.

R. H. Lee


Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume I, 1762 – 1778, pp. 10 – 11. Original transcription taken from R. H. Lee, Memoir of the Life of Richard Henry Lee and his Correspondence, 1:32.