<br /> Lee Letter: b188

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Charles Lee

Dear Sir,

I am much obliged to you for your favor of the 24th. past with its enclosures, both which, with your letter for the Squire, I shall send to him shortly. I congratulate you with great sincerity on your brothers address and success. It was a soldierly performance and will do him honor. The declaration of Spain effectually secures the downfall of G. Britain. A dreadful example to wicked princes, and people abandoned to luxury. A mighty empire quickly crumbled to dust – An empire that five years ago terrified the world, and trampled under foot the rights of humanity, and the principles of justice. The ways of heaven are just as they are inscrutable. You say that the “enemies of my family wish he (Majr. Lee) bore another name” – I am contented that they wish what pleases them best – I shall be allowed I hope in my turn to rejoice, that these enemies have no other cause for their enmity, but an inflexible adherence, on our part, to the independence, the happiness, and the interest of our country. To this Tory cause of enmity in many, you may add if you please, a contemptible envy in a few. Every virtuous man will agree with Leonidas, that honor, gratitude, and good faith, bind us strongly to France in the first place. But it would be insanity to go the lengths he intemperately advises. There is however this reason in favor of such hyperbolic writers, that they may put people into some train of thinking, and thereby prevent the danger of lapsing too far into British systems of any kind, which antient partialities and the present predilection of many, might otherwise endanger. The true policy of the U.S. I apprehend to be universal peace and friendship with the whole world. Whatever excess may be shewn of friendship for any, it should be for France.

My brother Dr. Lee in his letters to me expresses much friendship for, and a high opinion of Mr. Ingersolls abilities – He has written pressingly to have an Action of Libel immediately commenced against Silas Deane for his publication of December the 5th. And he desired that Mr. Ingersol might be retained and employed in this suit. The doctor sent his powers to Mr. Lovell Colo. F. Light. Lee & myself – I have written repeatedly to Mr. Lovell desiring that my brothers request might be immediately complied with – I had some money in the hands of old Dr. Shippen, which I proposed should be employed this way. Pray have you heard anything about it, or has the suit been commenced. Dr. Lee desires that very heavy damages may be laid, in order properly to punish the most false and wicked Libeller that ever disgraced human nature – In the defense and Vouchers sent by Dr. Lee to Congress he has refuted to demonstration every part and parcel of that infamous publication. But Deanes faction in Congress will not suffer these papers to be published – Nothing more clearly proves the rotten bottom of this wicked faction – they dare not stand the test of the public eye – I hope you will continue your agreeable correspondence, and present, if you please, my compliments to Mr. Ingersol. I am dear Sir

your affectionate kinsman.

Richard Henry Lee

Notes:

Ford CollectionLenox Library

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 2, 1779 – 1794, pp. 142 – 44. Addressed “Charles Lee esquire in Philadelphia,” and endorsed “Keep.”