<br /> Lee Letter: n194

Washington and Lee University

Sender: George Washington
Recipient: Richard Henry Lee

Dear Sir:

Your favor of yesterday was handed to me upon my return from my
usual ride, and almost at the moment I was sitting down with company to
dinner, which prevented my acknowledging the receipt of it by your
Servant. I am sorry, I shall not have the pleasure of seeing you and
your lady before I return to the Northward, and regret the cause. On
Sunday, if I can previously arrange some business that presses, I shall
commence my Journey, and, if I can render you any service whither I am
going, I should be happy in doing it.

On fair ground, it would be difficult to assign reasons for the conduct of
those, who are arraigning, and constantly (as far as they are able)
embarrassing the measures of Government with respect to its pacific
disposition towards the Belligerent Powers in the convulsive dispute,
which agitated them; but their motives are too obvious to those, who
have the means of information, and have viewed the different grounds
they have taken, to mistake their object. It is not the cause of France
(nor, I believe, of Liberty) which they regard; for, could they involve
this Country in War (no matter with whom) and disgrace, they would be
among the first and loudest of the clamourers against the expense and
impolicy of the measure.

The specimens you have seen of M. G – t’s sentiments and conduct in the
Gazettes form a small part only of the aggregate; but you can Judge
from these to what test the temper of the Executive has been put in its
various transactions with this Gentleman. It is probable, that the
whole will be exhibited to public view in the course of the next
Session of Congress; delicacy towards his nation, has restrained doing
it hitherto. The best that can be said of this agent is, that he is
entirely unfit for the Mission on which he is employed, unless,
contrary to the express and unequivocal declaration of his Country
(which I hope is not the case) made through himself, it is meant to
involve ours in all the horrors of a European War. This, or interested
motives of his own, or having become the dupe and the tool of a Party
formed on various principles, but to effect local purposes, is the only
solution that can be given of his conduct. I sincerely wish that Mrs.
[Lee] and yourself may soon and effectually recover your health;

and
with very great esteem etc.1

Notes:

1 From the “Letter Book” copy in the Washington
Papers
.