<br /> Lee Letter: b431

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Thomas Lee Shippen

My dear Nephew,

Your favor of March 17, has not been answered so soon as it would otherwise have been, because it was rendered partly unnecessary by the letter I had written to you just before the receipt of it, and because my continued feeble state of health renders writing painful to me. I hope for better health as the warm weather comes forward and permits more regular exercise. I observe by the letter I am now replyng to, that you had been misinformed in many respects concerning my late dear brother. And this you will have seen by the date of his Will which was made some months before your return from this State, and not “in his last moments,” but 4 or 5 months before his death, in perfect health, and at his own house. Why this change with respect to you it is impossible for me to tell, any more than I can account for the same omission of my daughter Molly who was known to be a favorite Niece of his, and whom he had in former Wills handsomely provided for! Unless her marriage with a gentleman of wealth induced a belief that she was sufficiently provided for. You will have observed that he has particularly noticed every one of her Sisters. From my return to Virginia to the date of his Will I never saw him but once, & then for a very short time and in much company. You mention 2 or 3 small bills that have been presented to you against him since his death, some for Taxes & some from Tradesmen. But you are not pleased to say who are the Tradesmen and what the nature & amount of their demands. When I reflect on my brothers singular punctuality in the payment of his debts, and the aptitude of some Men to revive discharged claims, I own that I am disposed to doubt of these, until legal, i.e impartial proof is produced. With respect to the Taxes they shall be paid, and so you please inform the Collector. There is money belonging to the Estate in Phila. and I have written to my worthy friend, Tench Coxe Esqr. and to Mr. Wells Cashier of the Bank for information what testimonials or verifications I must send to the Treasury & the Bank of my being duly qualified as my brothers Executor and legal Representative. The Certificate of the Clerk of the Court where Wills are by law proved & recorded answers all purposes of verification in our Courts of Justice. If such a Certificate further sanctioned by a Notary public would suffice to enable me to do business with the Treasury & the Bank, it will save me much Trouble, and indeed I am very little able to travel far in search of testimonials that are in this case more formal than necessary. Will you have the goodness to consult Mr. Secretary Hamilton, Mr. Coxe & Mr. Wells on this subject and quickly let me know the result. What can be done with the Lot near you, so as at least not to let it be expensive or rendered worse by ill treatment before your Infant Cousin becomes of Age?

I join heartily wit you in deploring the fate of Louis – His death, with the lights I have, was cruel, unnecessary and highly impolitic – But if I mistake not, either Mr. Burke or some other Writer, predicted this very early, as a conclusion that wd. be come to by the ambition & avarice of the democratic faction, even at the moment of their affecting high attachment to the Constitution as originally formed. The vengeance of heaven may slumber a while, but I think it will sound terribly, e’er long, in the ears, hearts, & on the heads of these Murderers. I had a deep rooted affection for this good King because he so effectually aided us in the day of our distress. and I will say with Queen Elizabeth – “God may forgive his Murderers, but I never can” – All decency & justice are outraged, if it be true, that these same Jacobins have Confiscated all the British & Dutch trading Vessels that they had embargoed in the ports of France previous to their declaration of War! This is robbery & piracy with a vengeance – It is to be hoped that the British Lion will claw these fellows handsomely for their misdoing.

Mrs. Chantilly has been very ill, but I thank God she is now recovering – the rest are well & we all heartily join in love for our dear Relations in Phila – Remember me to all our friends I am my dear Nephew

Your ever affectionate Uncle & friend.

Richard Henry Lee

What is the now price of 6 pr. Cents & what the best judgm<ent> concerning the cause of the strange fall, or future Rise – My last married daughter is yet unportioned – I want to sell Stock for her –

Notes:

Shippen Collection###

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 2, 1779 – 1794, pp. 555 – 57.