<br /> Lee Letter: b161

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Thomas Mifflin

Dear Sir,

I think Fiddle has played a fine tune in Dunlaps paper of May the 29th – If you wish to know what Fiddle, whether a Cremona, a Steyner, or a Base viol, or the Head of a Base Viol, ask our friend Ellery and he will explain the mystery. Some people rather than not be remarkable would be so for being supremely ridiculous – So, that rather than it should not be known that Fiddle sometimes plays in Congress a first Fiddle, the yeas and nays must be published in Dunlaps paper on the 29th. of May, <tha>t all the world may be set to laughing – at whom – not at Mr. Laurens – But, a jocis ad seria – Have you rescued the fishery from the paws that are used to pull the Chesnuts out of the fire – It is mighty convenient, when a person does not choose to burn his own fingers, to have ready an officious hand, willing to encounter the embers. I think that as the house near the Capitol is less than the Capitol, that the Lesser ought not to dictate to the Larger, and more especially as the “Alliance not being victorious cannot give law to the common enemy” . . . Mr. Ellery’s sagacity can help to explain this last enigma if you should find any difficulty with the thing yourself –

Richard Henry Lee

Notes:

Lee PapersUniversity of Virginia Archives

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 2, 1779 – 1794, pp. 69 – 70. Endorsed “Letter about Fiddle alias Merrywr Smith to Gen Mifflin.”