<br /> Lee Letter: b386

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Charles Lee

My dear Sir,

Our friend Mr. Wm Lee having had one of his eyes couched has a good prospect of having vision totally restored. In his valetudinary state he has been greatly mortified by a judgement obtained against him in May York court by Colo. Mason for something more than 2400 pounds currency. I think that the real principal due was a little above £800, which with common interest, it seems Mr. Lee was always willing to pay; but Colo. Mason insisted on 10 per Cent – This cause has, somehow or other, been miserably conducted in the County Court – For as Mr. Lee states it, the following facts tho capable of being proved did not appear before the Court. That altho a Notary in France states that Mr. Lee protested the bill, it can be proved that he was in Germany, not in France when & where the bill is said to have been protested by him & in fact he did not protest it – Secondly that the bill was drawn for more than was due to Colo. Mason & consequently might have been protested without incurring 10 pr. Cent damages which was demanded in an action for damages – 3dly. that Mr. Lee had early in the late war shewn a disposition to pay Colo. Mason, perhaps in the only way practicable under the then circumstances of war & distance, by giving an order on two of his Creditors here, very good & sufficient Men, but Colo. Mason chose, as he said, that the money shd remain in Mr. Lees hands – The bill was never transferred by Colo. Mason but remained his property from first to last – How he can be entitled to 10 pr. Cent is the question – Were this allowed it would defeat the law that will only allow 5 per Cent, because the Creditor would only have to make his demand in one way instead of another & thereby gain 10 for 5 pr. Cent, an evasion not to be countenanced – It seems otherwise, & for good reason, where the bill has been absolutely transferred – Under these circumstances Mr. Lee has sued out an injunction from the Chancellor to stop so much of the judgement as relates to interest only, determining to pay the principal – He relies most on you to conduct this injunction, and the consequent Suit in chancery if the injunction should be set up. The discharge of the principal of this judgement Mr. Lee wishes to accomplish immediately and for this purpose he relies on your friendship to negotiate the matter with Colo. Mason. Mr. Lee considers Mr. Mason as putting Money to interest in good hands – he would therefore pay him a bond of Mr. Wm. Washington with Mr. Rutter Security for about £1000, and this mode he prefers – but if this will not suit, he will either send Bills of Exchange or Specie as shall be agreed upon – the latter being attended with hazard and inconvenience is the least eligible mode – But the first thing to be enquired is whether the execution has been levied or not, if it has been satisfied by an injurious sale of Mr. Lees effects, there is no further room for treaty on this subject, To transact this business with the dispatch it wants, my brother requests the favor of you to ride to Colo. Masons, and to let him know immediately by letter enclosed to me, what is the issue of this business – Mr. Lee’s present situation is such as to render the aid of his friends peculiarly necessary –

In the business of this judgement I think that he has been very much insured, and I shall thank you for attending to it in the manner that he requests by his letter to you now sent. – Mr. Wm. Hunter has been gone from hence a considerable time – He promised me to settle for my goods lost (under his care) when he returned to Alexandria – I have not heard that he has done any thing in the matter – I pray you to press him on this business, and if he will not settle it let suit be brought. The goods are wanted in my family very much, so that if he does not replace them I must purchase here – The public affairs remain as when I wrote you last – Love to my dear daughter & other friends in your Town – Sincerely and affectionately yours,

Richard Henry Lee

Notes:

Lee PapersVirginia Historical Society

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 2, 1779 – 1794, pp. 492 – 94. Addressed to Charles Lee “naval officer at Alexandria in Virginia.”