<br /> Lee Letter: b380

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Edmund Randolph

Sir,

I have the honor to address your Excellency upon a subject that I think much deserves your indulgence, if, as some judge, the Executive have a right to indulge in such cases. It is, Sir, the case of a revenue execution obtained against William Augustine Washington, Esq., late high Sheriff of this county for a large sum, and the gentlemen’s effects for want of buyers could not be sold. I believe, Sir, the truth is, that the Under Sheriffs, who are universally reputed men of industry, attention and honesty, have, from the necessity of the case, been obliged to indulge the people who, for want of money and means to pay, could not discharge the taxes, nor would their effects have sold if taken for the same reason. An attention to the public receipts will shew, I trust, that until lately this county has been among the most exact payers of the public taxes. It is therefore presumable that the present backwardness is occasioned not by unwillingness but by incapacity. Mr. Washington has not yet availed himself of the remedy given him by law against his deputies, because he relied on their exertions to be ready in season to discharge the debt; hitherto they have failed, but the strongest reasons exist to induce a belief that the crop now coming in will enable them to pay this demand, and at all events Mr. Washington will deliver his own effects to sale, if they, his deputies, fail, and his effects are ample and far more than sufficient to satisfy this execution; but his means of doing this will be greatly aided by a large and plentiful crop now getting in. From a consideration of these facts, if a small indulgence can be shown to Mr. Washington, your Excellency and the honorable council will have an opportunity of gratifying the goodness of your own dispositions, and at the same time of preventing a very great Oppression from falling on a worthy gentleman, whilst the public revenue will not be injured, but suspended only for a short time. I have the honor to be, With every sentiment of respectful esteem and regard

Your Excellencie’s most obedient and very humble servant.

Richard Henry Lee

Notes:

###Library of Virginia

Printed in W. P. Palmer, Calendar of Virginia State Papers,4:509. Printed also in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 2, 1779 – 1794, pp. 481 – 82.