<br /> Lee Letter: b394

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Thomas Lee Shippen

My dear Nephew.

I have had a most dangerous attack of the Influenza in my Lungs & Head which has nearly destroyed me – I am much recovered, begin to ride out, but yet very unwell – However I must write to request that you will forward (nicely packt up) by the Bearer Mr. G. O. Graham, the Son of a friend of mine, returning to Virginia from College – The Bracelets of our Cousin Lucinda – He will Carry & deliver them safely to my Son at Dumfries – The followg. business, tho small, has given me great trouble; but it seems now near a Close which your goodness may possibly put to it –

In the year 1785 I had occasion to remit a small Sum to Bordeaux, and obtained a Bill from Mr. Edwd. Digges for £61.14.5 Sterlg. drawn by him as heir & Executor of his brother on Mr. Waterman of Londn. who owed his deceased brother that Sum –

This bill I remitted the first and Second, of the same Tenor & kept the 3d. – In the fall I was informed that Waterman had noted the Bill for protest, because, as he informed me, Mr. Digges had drawn for £1.10.8 More than was due his brother, and because he wanted Legal Certificates that Mr. Digges was heir & Executor of his brother – Under which alterations he wrote me that he would pay the money – Unwilling to delay the end for which the money was remitted to France, and knowing that I should run no risk by getting & sending a rectified Set as the first were endorsed by me payable for my use, they could not be negotiated but must be returned to me in whom the property rested, in case of protest – Having also a good opinion of Mr. Bondfield, to whom I had written to return me the protest of the first immediately and expect a Rectified draft for the same property in Mr. Watermans hands by first opportunity. I accordingly applied to Mr. Digges, shewd him Waterman’s objections – And he without hesitation gave me a Rectified bill for £60.3.9 Sterling and procured the legal documents desired by Mr. Waterman which were remitted with the first bill of this rectified Set – The Second bill of the same set went by next Packet – Unfortunately the Packet that sailed from hence with the documents and the first bill of the rectified set was lost, and the 2d. bill of same set arrived, was presented & protested, we suppose for want of the documents. Mr. Bondfield, urged by some necessity or other contrived to Negotiate one or both of these bills and never returned them to me – Mr. Cornelius Stephenson & Co. of your City wrote me that he had a Bill drawn by Digges & endorsed by me protested, the same having been sent him by a Monsr. Texier to collect & desiring that I as endorser would pay it – I immediately replied to Mr. Corn. Stephenson, enclosed him copies of my Correspondence on the Subject & referd him to the endorsation which rendered the Bill not Negotiable but kept the property in me should a protest happen – this was in the Fall of 1786 & I heard no more from Mr. Stephenson until I arrived here in Congress Summer of 1787, when a Mr. Governeur Mercht. here came to me with an Order from Mr. Stephenson for the money – this surprised me – I shewed Mr. Governeur all my correspondencies on the Subject – He expressed his surprise said Mr. Bondfield had acted ill, & that certainly the bill was not negotiable, but my property – And so he said he would write Mr. Stephenson & return him the Bill – So the Money remained & yet does remain lockt up in Watermans hands, for Mr. Digges wont give, nor will I ask him for a third draft for the same money in fact – when there has been such foul play somewhere with his two first Setts – Having represented this frequently to Bondfield & that Mr. Digges could not be compelled to pay this money until the Protests were returned to me, who was the only person that could negotiate the business with him – At length Bondfield informed me that he had paid the money in Phila. to Mr. Stephenson & that the protests would be sent me. They were not however, & as I passed thro about 13 months ago I called on Mr. Stephenson & he said he had been paid – directed me where to apply – I went & got the protest of the Second draft for £60.3.9 but the protest of the first for £61.14.5 was still kept back – I was not at the Mark yet, for Mr. Digges would not on the receipt of one of the protests give a draft or pay the money when in fact they had amongst them a Second protest for the same property in fact, but differing in the Sum £1.10.8 which might countenance the idea of their being different bills for different remittances which you have clearly seen was not the fact. I repeated this statement again to Mr. Bondfield last Fall from here, and since my return here this Spring I have received the enclosed from Mr. Bondfield by which it appears that Mr. Stephenson has had both the protests tho but one has been delivered to me – Now my dear Sir I wish you to apply to Mr. Stephenson for the other protest & enclose it with Mr. Bondfields letter now sent – It is in vain for them to keep this protest – the bill is mine by the endorsement & no person but myself can make a settlement with Mr Digges for it – So that the money can never be sent on until this Protest is put into my hands when Mr. Digges will pay the principal immediately as he has frequently told me – If they shd. ask for a Receipt from you it will be necessary to be cautious in the one you give – Some how this way let it be – Received for R. H. Lee from – – a protested bill of exchange for £        drawn in Virg     the – – day of – – 1785 by – – on – – in London ayable to said Lee and being by him endorsed payable for his own use, the property of said Bill remaining in said Lee the said protest has therefore been returned to him – I have been so extremely illtreated, and so foolishly too for themselves, by some hands through which this bill has passed – that I have been advised to sue the holderup of the Bill witht. delay for his unjust detention of it – I hope to hear from you soon on this business – ’tis not much altho a strange misconduct has rendered a lengthy detail necessary for explanation – I immediately sent by Servant with your Sisters letter who delivered it with a note of mine to Mr. John Livingston requesting his care of it.

I am quite tired so that I must now, for this time bid you farewell, requesting my love where it is due. Your affectionate Uncle

& friend.

Richard Henry Lee


Shippen Collection###

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 2, 1779 – 1794, pp. 510 – 13.