<br /> Lee Letter: b265

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Thomas Lee Shippen

My dear Cousin,

This mornings post put into my possession your favor of the 17th. instant, and I thank you for it with great sincerity. I am very happy to hear that Mr. Reed is in your delegation, and I should have been much more so, if your worthy father had been there likewise. It greatly smooths the rugged paths of politics, to travel them with men of ability, integrity, and candor. We are as remote from having a Congress, as we were 19 days ago – with the southern delegates at Philadelphia and those of your State inclusive, we have but Six States and a half represented. But one delegate as yet from the eastward, whence formerly proceeded the most industrious attention to public business – I do not like this lentor, this strange lassitude in those who are appointed to transact public affairs. I am here placed in the house of a Mr. Howe, where I have a good warm bedchamber, and other conveniences to my satisfaction – The Streets of the Village in this rainy season, are most disagreeably wet & muddy – How long we shall remain here, it is not in my power to say – Mr. Woolcot, one of the Commissioners for the Indian treaties has come here with a Treaty concluded very satisfactorily with the Six nations. He says that the other two Commissioners are gone to Pittsburg to treat with the Western Indians, and he apprehends that they will accomplish their business on that quarter with facility – I am a good deal distressed about my horses – if they go to vendue, they will sell for nothing – if they remain unsold, they will eat more than they are worth – At this place I think they would not sell because here are so many for sale – If they were in Virginia, I should have no doubt of being able to sell the two for 40 or 50 pounds – In this state of things I can devise no mode of proceeding but the following, which by your friendly offices may perhaps be accomplished – My namesake Mr. Lee of the Indian Queen, is a good natured, obliging person, and I understand that he has something to say with the Stage that goes to Virginia – But tho’ this last should not be the case his interposition with Twining’s Stage may obtain what I want; which is, that my horses be received to work their way to Alexandria in Virginia so as not to injure them, but only to travel them reasonable distances at a time and giving them due rest & food – Which will at once save their Cavalry, and accomplish my purpose of getting my horses to Virginia. At Alexandria they are to be delivered to Mr. Fendall (with the inclosed letter) who lives about half a mile from the Town and is well known there. If Mr. Lee will undertake the affair for me, I shall certainly succeed, & my horses will not be injured in going back – Which latter may happen by overdriving – not properly resting, & properly feeding – Will you be so kind as try your talents at negotiation with Mr. Lee – Julius Caesar shewd his ambition as much when he preferred being the first man in a sma// village to the second in Rome; as when he grasped the Imperial purple. – So evidence may be given in small negotiations of superior fitness for great affairs – I will inclose you a letter for Mr. Fendall to go with the Horses, upon a presumption that your address will be surely successful – I am glad to know that Mr. Quanier promises well, and I expect he will remember that the promises of a Man of honor are sacred –

Present my best love to your Father, Mother, & Sister – and when you see the Old Gentleman do not forget me with him – I am my dear Cousin

your affectionate Uncle and sincere friend.

Richard Henry Lee

Will Mr. Hilkheimer be so kind as to have attention
paid to my horses backs while they stay – They shd. be put to Oats & dry hay 2 or 3 days before they Travel –


Shippen Collection###

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 2, 1779 – 1794, pp. 295 – 97.