<br /> Lee Letter: b254

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: William Shippen, Jr.

My dear Friend,

It may seem strange to you that my letter should be prefaced as this is – but as you may possibly have heated something of the operations of faction here lately, it is enough that “the antidote should go along with the poison,” as the most learned, most wise, most virtuous, and most admirable Judge Mercer says – The rest of this delectable and Honorable business will be communicated to you by our brother A who has had the Honor, for certainly it is an Honor to have been a principal object of this faction. I was going to congratulate you on your being removed from the ways of faction, but I believe factions are found in physicks as well as politics. However I know that you have wisdom to despise these, and to proceed onward to the attainment of those rewards which are due to the eminent and the diligent in your profession It would considerably add to my happiness if our situations admitted of sometimes seeing each other, when the delights of friendly social converse might compensate for the wicked things and wicked men that we see abroad.

How comes on your grandaughter Livingston – I have a little Frank Lightfoot full as mettlesome as she can be, & who will not refuse a challenge from any fair one, whether begotten, or born, upon the North river – So that the little damsel must be very modest and very reserved when Frank is present.

I was going to write a word or two about politics but – Mum for that – Some penetrating eye may see it, or curious ear may hear of what I have written; and with lengthened face, shrug’d shoulders, and important air, whisper “an enemy to the French Alliance.” It must be very hard tho, if they will not let us say, that a War for nothing ought to have at least one years duration less than that which was waged for the fairest woman in the World. Do not let my Sister see this part, nor show it to any zealous politician, least it bring on my devoted head a storm both of religion and politics. Remember me with much affection to the old Doctor, to my Sister & Cousins – farewell.

Richard Henry Lee

REPORT – That there is a British Party on the continent at the head of which are Mr. S. Adams, Messrs. Lees and Mr. Laurens.

Resolved Unanimously that no art of the communications before the Committee of privileges & elections does in any manner touch the public or private conduct of M. R. H. Lee or induce the most distant suspicion of his want of attachment to the interests of this country; but that on the contrary this Committee do bear testimony to the World that the uniform rectitude of his public conduct entitles him to the fullest confidence and warmest approbation of his country.

N. B. this passed in a Committee of the Whole House and was confirmed by the House.



Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 2, 1779 – 1794, pp. 277 – 78.