<br /> Lee Letter: b334

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: James Monroe

Dear Sir,

I have received the letter that you did me the honor to write to me from Pittsburg, and I am much pleased to find by it that the Indian nations, as nations, are not indisposed to us – I think it augurs well to our treaty at Miami, and for the survey & sale of western territory.

I am very unhappy to inform you of the death of our most worthy friend Mr. Hardy. He has been sick almost ever since you left this place, and early this morning he departed this life, greatly reduced, and without much apparent pain – His loss to’ the public is great – I wish sincerely that the Assembly may be both able & willing to fill his vacancy with equal ability & virtue – but unfortunately for the good of society, such characters as poor Hardy are rarely to be found, and too frequently bad men are ready to oppose merit & to thrust themselves forward into places that should be filled alone by sense & virtue. Colo. Grayson proposes to sell the horses that you & Mr. Hardy had in partnership, as they will soon eat their heads off here, and where no owner wants their use. We have too much reason to apprehend that the Algarines have declared war against our Commerce – These pirates having lately made a profitable peace with Spain, they have now (to the shame of Europe be it said) almost the whole of Europe their Tributaries, so that having little plunder now to get from that quarter, the Arm of Rapine is stretched out against us. It is most clear to me from Mr. Adams’s account of what passed between him & the Secretary of State concerning the British debts, that if our Assemblies do not irritate by throwing obstructions in the way of the Treaty of peace we shall obtain every reasonable wish concerning time for payment – He seems to be apprehensive of Violence – for he says “It cannot be too strongly recommended to let persons & property be held sacred.” You will find that the business of Facilities, insultive as it is to us who have few or none, has been forced upon us as contended for when you were here. It is to me most plainly proper, that our Assembly should Tax our people, only for Federal purposes, what will suffice to pay our Quota of the foreign interest, and the expences of the federal government; and not admit any facilities to be received in discharge of the Taxes but such as have originated with our own Citizens – This last will disappoint the plan of purchasing our produce with the certificates of these Northern States which will pay the domestic Creditors in these States whilst our own go unpaid – And thus we shall realy give a bribe to prevent the settlement of our Accounts and consequently prevent the payment of our own Citizens who are at least as large Creditors of the U. States as the Citizens of any other State –

I shall be very happy to see you at Chantilly before you leave Virginia to return to Congress – I am dear Sir

your friend and Servant.

Richard Henry Lee

P.S. Poor Hardy is to be buried in the evening of tomorrow under the directions and Auspices of Congress – for his funeral we are adjourned two days.


James Monroe PapersLibrary of Congress

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 2, 1779 – 1794, pp. 393 – 95.