<br /> Lee Letter: b389

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Francis Lightfoot Lee

My dear Brother,

Your letter of the 8tth ulto. has lain long unanswered because I have been absorbed about the Amendments to the Constitution. They have at length passed the Senate, with difficulty, after being much mutilated and enfeebled – It is too much the fashion now to look at the rights of the People, as a Miser inspects a Security, to find out a flaw – What with design in some, and fear of Anarchy in others, it is very clear, I think, that a government very different from a free one will take place eer many years are passed. It is very far from want of knowledge that confines our revenue to Impost – a little reflection will point you to other causes – The House of Rep. after much debate, have ordered in a Bill for fixing the permanent Seat of Government on the Susquehanna in Penn., and the temporary residence at this place. Evans after Nature, pointed out Potomac for the seat of Empire – But Evans & Nature are nothing to the purpose. N.H. to Penn. inclusive can & will give law. The Treasury system is finished & all new Officers appointed – every one of the old Commissioners are returned into private life – The Judiciary bill not et through the H. of R. – I informed Ludwell of your desire that I should lay out the money formerly intended thro him, and he wrote me by the last post that Mr. Watson would be here immediately and would bring the money for you – if he does I will lay it out in the best manner I can – Tea is now at n/ this currency by the chest S 14/ in smaller quantities – Coffee at 1/9 this money by the quantity – There is plenty of Nankeen, Muslin – Oil, Anchovies, Raisins, Almonds &c &c but I have not yet enquired the prices of these. –

The love of liberty has fled from hence to France, where, after some very strong convulsions at Paris & Versailles, the Third estate has gained a complete triumph over the Nobles & the Clergy – so that they are now going calmly on to establish a Constitution much like the English – The Military refused to fire upon the people when ordered to do so. A resolve to adjourn on the 22d instant passed both Houses of our Congress some time ago but ’tis plain now that it was premature – I will probably be early in October –

My love to Mrs. Lee & and the little girls – their father is much better – I think the Couched Eye will recover Vision. Mr A. Lee goes to Virg’a shortly.

Most affectionately yours.

Richard Henry Lee

Notes:

Leffingwell CollectionVirginia Historical Society

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 2, 1779 – 1794, pp. 500 – 501.