<br /> Lee Letter: b436

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Thomas Lee Shippen

Dear Nephew,

Such is the weak state of my health, & so greatly does writing disturb me, that I am compelled to employ an Amanuensis for the purpose of acknowledging the receipt of your Letter of January the 18th. last. I will again begin with what relates to yourself and assure you that I lament exceedingly the unfortunate cause of your confinement. As you state the Abscess to be unconnected with the rectum, it seems to me that your Father is perfectly right in not risking the division of that intestine. As you say that your Surgeons have opened to the bottom the Sinuses that were formed in different parts of the Ulcer, I make no doubt that if they found these cavities fistulous that care has been taken effectually to remove any callocity with which these cavities may have been lined; without which it seems impossible that any reunion of parts can ever take place. Should there be no fistula formed within I see no impropriety in the opperation proposed by your father. This however looks much like the Rhetorician descanting on the art of War before Hannibal. I consider your father as the first Surgeon in America & therefore should not have gone so far on this subject had I not relied on his goodness for pardon. As a Physician he knows well that whilst the Surgeon is at work the Doctor must be idle. The Blood, I take it, must be essentially attended to; & he will judge whether Murcury in its best & most effectual arms of exhibition, together with such other medicines as act in the Same line; with a regulated diet, may not be indispensably necessary.

With respect to Politicks it seems to me that your zeal for liberty prevents you from so quickly discerning the true state of things. I too love Liberty, but it is a regulated Liberty, so that the ends & principles of society may not be disturbed by the fury of a Mob or by the art, cunning, and industry of wicked, vicious & avaricious Men. Do you really think that the present rulers in France, are contending for liberty? or will you conclude with me, upon reflection, that they care not a groat for Liberty any further than as a great noise about it may conduce to their acquisition of wealth & power. It is impossible that so sacred a thing as liberty can ever be necessarily supported by assassination, murder, deceit, plunder and every species of wickedness that the mind of Man has hitherto been supposed capable of possessing. As for Mr. Genet he appears to me to be the wicked Servant of wicked Masters, that he has exceeded the bounds of his most insolent instructions will I fancy fully appear from his commissions granted for levying Troops within the United States without the consent of Government & granting Commissions to Privateers before he was the acknowledged Minister from that Country to this. I heartily wish the French as much Liberty as they can bare but I do not beleive that the present rulers design it for them therefore I hope that in Gods good time they will all be hanged.

Disputes with your father about anything I never designed, I love him abundantly too much for that, & now I propose that he shall pay to you the few demands that you have inst my Brother Arthurs Estate & that each of us shall give acquittances to the other for any demands whatsoever that either have against the other on my Brother Arthurs acct. As soon as your health permits I beg the favour of your attention to the following subjects. As a Lawyer I will give you a fee of six Guineas for conducting & finishing the following business for me with Mr. Jared Ingersol. A certain Mr. Josephson (I think) became indebted to my Brother Arthur £500 for the payment of which a certain I. Young of Philadelphia mortgaged to my Brother his house & Lot in your City, which house & Lot was indisputably of more value than the £500 for which it was mortgaged; this Bond & mortgage was by my Brother put into the hands of Mr. Ingersol to get foreclosed, & which was foreclosed (I think) in the year 1790 and an execution was taken upon that Judgment which according to the constant proceedings in such cases should have caused a sale to have been made of Youngs house and Lot; Mr. Lees debt, Principal Interest & costs of suit, fully paid; & the balance remaining if any, paid to Mr. Young; but nothing like this has been done. Instead of paying in the first place Mr. Lees principal, interest, & Costs he has paid on all these three accounts only £480:17:0. leaving a ballance as stated by Mr. A. Lee of £127:19:0 which acct. I sent to Mr. Ingersol without having entered into the calculations upon which it was founded. But it appears now, that Mr. Lee by his account, in calculating 6 Years Interest at 6 PCent has charged only £150 instead of £180 which the Interest then really amounted to, thereby increasing the ballance due at that time £30 so that with interest since that time the ballance due will really be now more than £160 pounds Pensylvania money. For your better information I now send you a Copy of the acct. stated by Mr. Lee & sent to Mr. Ingersol, as also an account stated upon the principles on which it ought to stand. Since Mr. Lees death I have written two or three Letters to Mr. Ingersol & have received answers by no means satisfactory to me, In one of which however he says, that a ballance is due from Young which he thinks Young is able to pay. I cannot imagine what business Young has now with the matter, seeing that either Mr. Lees money should long since have been fully paid him or the Sheriff upon the execution have sold Youngs house & Lot, so that the Sherif not Young seems to be the Man with whom we have now to do. Mr. Ingersol in his last Letter to me, near a twelve month ago, desired from me an authority to proceed, he did the same to my Son when in Philada. & received authority from him altho’ he had previously received it from me & in both cases promissing to write to me on the subject which, however he has not done, & so the matter now rests. Again my dear Nephew I repeat that if you will get this matter fully & finally settled for me & my money lodged as a deposit for my use in the Bank of North America you have my free consent to deduct Six Guineas as a fee for your trouble. I must not omit to say from the papers in my possession that this Mr. Young appears to be a shifty, intrigueing Man by whose maneuvres it may possibly happen that the house & Lot has never been sold; but this is the look out of the Sherif who had the execution. There is no doubt but you may find upon the record of the proper Court Youngs Bond & Morgage, with the process previous to the foreclosure, the subsequent judgment & execution, with the Sheriffs return upon the latter. You will I doubt not as you promise attend to the Pasyunk Land. Please civily to press Mr. Cox & Mr. Richd. Wells for answers to my Letters written to each of them in Decr. last. I am very happ to hear that Mrs. Shippen is so auspecicously advanced I hope every happiness will attend the completion of her work. My love to all my Relations & respects to my friends whom you know I esteem as such I am very sincerely my dear Nephew

your affectionate Uncle.

Richard Henry Lee

We expect with pleasure your visit here as you pass thro Virginia

P.S. – I request you will inform me whether you have been charged Postage for the last Letter I wrote you as well as on this as I have paid it on both. –


Shippen Collection###

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 2, 1779 – 1794, pp. 575 – 79.