<br /> Lee Letter: b385

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Charles Lee

My dear Sir,

By the time this letter reaches Alexandria I hope that you and my dear Nancy will be returned in good health to your own house. I expect Nancy will recommence her correspondence with me, now that she has come into the line of Post. I wish to hear very particularly from her about Chantilly, Stratford, Bushfield, Walnut farm, Berry hill, and how my daughter Flora is in health & spirits at present – These are subjects lengthy enough to fill a journal, and I shall not regret the time employed in reading it. The impost bill is upon the point of passing the Senate, where many of the duties on capital articles have been reduced one third. The regulation bill upon which the collection of these duties depends, is yet before the house of Representatives, and being both long and complicated its progress is slow. The bill proposes Collectors, Controllers, Naval Officers, Surveyors &c at some principal ports, and part of these only at others – How this matter will finally end it is not easy to say, and therefore a minute description of the bill is now not necessary. I understand that the N.O. is to have fees, the Collector commissions and the Controller Salary – Which of these will be the most profitable seems not certain yet – Where the importations are great, the Collectors will be the best place, but where they are small and the Controllers Salary good this last may be the best – However, you shall lave due notice that a proper determination may be come to.

Conversing on the subject of these appointments lately with the P.I mentioned two principles which I had the pleasure to hear him approve of. The first that State Officers in similar lines who had behaved well deserved preference in the service of the U.S. and 2dly that having discharged these duties undivided, now that they become divided, the same officers were entitled to the best – He assigned some strong reasons in support of both these ideas. So that it seems probable your wishes for any one of them will be gratified. And when the time comes for application if you choose to write to the P.I will wait on him with your letter and give it all my assistance. What think you of our friend Colo. Fitzgerald, if he thinks either of these places, after yours, advantageous to him, it is probable that upon application to the Constitutional Nomination he might succeed – I am sure that I will do him all the service in my power – If you judge it proper to mention this to him you will do it. I see that the bill requires personal residence at the Port, & if Yeoco. should be a port of entry on Potomac the Residence of the N. Officer there will be necessary. This wd. probably not suit Colo. Fitz – It might perhaps do for Mr. Scott whom I see by y’r. note to yr. brother that you approve – These applications are so exceedingly numerous, and often so respectable, that they must distress the P. & many others concerned – I do not see in the progress of this business that the Senate will have much to do in the affair of appointmts. but if it lays in my way to aid Mr. Scott I shall not forget him. I see that Mr. Blane has sent the Matresses, Sieves & Ticken, that I wrote for last year – Will you have the goodness to get them contrived safely to Chantilly without their coming under the distinctive direction of Mr. W.H. or his Clerks – Apropos – Mr. Hunter promised me here to settle with you & Ludwell on his return for my Goods lost in the Winter through his mismanagement – I shall thank you much for pressing him to an immediate conclusion of this affair that if I am obliged to bring suit no time may be lost in doing it. Or if he will do me justice, that goods may be replaced in kind & value & sent to Chantilly where they are much wanted – My son Ludwell has got the list of the goods, their kinds & cost – You will please to inform me of what is done in this business – I have written to Mr. Wm. Washington desiring him to remit Turners debt without waiting for Moreheads payment. I expect he will do so, when I will either remit you the money you were so good as expend in the purchase of things for my dear daughter and also for the Tea China – Or it may, at your pleasure, be employed here in the purchase of any thing you may want. I find here, Linnen for shirring Negroes, of two kinds; & much cheaper than anything of the kind in Virg the first, which I think the best bargain, is a thick strong white German Linnen, better in my judgement than any Oznaburgs, rather more than 3 quarters wide at 9d. a yard our currency, or a shilling this money. I have got 250 yes. of it for my people – There is but one Merchant in Town who has it, & he is a German – the other Linnen is brown & made in Connecticut – Tis I think better than the best Oznaburgs, is rather above yard wide and cost 12¾ our money a Yard – I think that both these are much referable bargains to any that can be made with us. excellent Chocolate is here at a shilling our money a pound. The German Merchant also sells a very strong kind of Bagging containing 18 yards in a piece at 1s/ our money a yard – Very fine for bags – This will make about 7 large strong & useful bags – My love to Nancy, to Ludwell, Flora, S Cassius – I am dear Sir

your affectionate friend.

Richard Henry Lee


Ford CollectionNew York Public Library

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 2, 1779 – 1794, pp. 489 – 92.