<br /> Lee Letter: b362

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Richard Lee

Dear Sir,

Altho you have favored me with three letters you do not in any of them acknowledge the receipt of a letter from me that I wrote to you many weeks ago. I thank you nevertheless for the intelligence you gave me, especially that which relates to the welfare of my family – The bad crops in consequence of the drought comes very hard upon us when pressed so heavily with other burthens – Those evils which happen independently of us, we must bear with manly firmness; and those which flow from our own misconduct we have no right to complain of. Among the last is the pressure of private debt, which almost universally arises from idleness and extravagance; one or both – This will be corrected & remedied by industry & economy – The debts created by a war forced upon us, and by which we have secured the blessings of liberty, we ought to pay without murmuring – Congress is endeavoring to lighten the public burthens by selling the federal lands beyond the Ohio to pay the domestic debt which forms so great a part of our whole debt – We have already contracted for the sale of 6 millions of acres, and a proposition is now on the Table to purchase three millions more. We hear a talk of a plan forming to purchase 20, Millions more – These lands will all be sold for discharging the principal of the debt, and the public securities paid in by installments – These bargains once made will sink in season a large part of the debt.

The friends to American honor & happiness here all join in lamenting the riots and mobbish proceedings in Virginia – They say it will injure the American name & character thro the world – And the wonder is that all good men in the country dont unite to suppress such evil doings, and punish the offenders – We are deeply concerned for the honor & reputation of Westmoreland that our records should be stolen and the strongest efforts not be made to find out & punish the Thief – A public purse should directly be made up by the good men of the County, and a large reward offered f or discovering the offender – The Magistrates of New Kent soon found out Price Posey & sent him in chains to Richmond to be tried for his life – Colo. H. Lee & myself will pay our guineas apiece towards making up this purse –

The public papers make it quite probable that a general war in Europe will attend the civil war in Holland – This will not hurt us if we are wise enough to keep out of the scrape – The federal Convention will rise this week – Good powdered Bark sells here from 12 to 14/ a pound – Nutmegs very scarce & dear being 8/ an ounce & other spices in proportion – When you consider this, and also that we are obliged to meet all our expenses with ready money; you will see the necessity of remitting me Cash for the purpose of buying the things you want, for indeed I have it not of m own – My compliments, if you please to the Ladies of Lee Hall, & to all friends in Westmoreland – I am dear Sir

your affectionate friend & Kinsman.

Richard Henry Lee

Notes:

Ford CollectionNew York Public Library

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 2, 1779 – 1794, pp. 436 – 37.