<br /> Lee Letter: n201

Washington and Lee University

Sender: George Washington
Recipient: Henry Lee

Dear Sir:

If this letter should happen to find you in Philadelphia the
intention of it is to bring you acquainted with the situation of
Messrs. Reed and Ford’s engagement to transfer (after the 28th of Mch)
Seventy shares in the Bank of Columbia on your Account for my benefit.

On my way home I placed their Obligation in the hands of a Gentleman within
the District of Columbia for the purpose of having this Transfer made.
The following extract of his letter to me was received on Friday last
but not in time to forward it by the Post of next morning, altho I
instantly wrote and took the chance, of a letter getting to Messrs.
Reed and Ford by the mail, of that day; and now enclosed a duplicate
open for your perusal before it is delivered.

Inclosed is Reed and Fords obligation wch you left with me but on
Application to one of the Officers in the Bank, to Transfer to you the
Shares in question, he informed me it could not be done without a power
of Attorney from them to some person in this Town to make the transfer.
It is suspected by some persons here they have failed, and today I was
told by a Director they had no shares in the Bank of Columbia; Perhaps
you may think it advisable to write on immediately that you may secure
yourself in this business.

This business you will recollect my, good Sir, was not of my seeking; that
it was not agreeable to me to be paid in that way (because it was the
money I wanted) and that it was to accommodate you, under strong
assurances that the obligation of Reed and Ford, was as good as the
Bank &ca. &ca., that I yielded to the measure. How far this
assertion was well founded, may while you are on the spot, be worthy of
enquiry, as my confidence in and disposition to oblige you, has
involved this result.

I would fain hope that that part of the extract which relates to the
failure is without foundation; and for the honor
of honest men and his dealing, I also hope it will not be found that
they have been Selling property to which they had no right and of which
they were not possessed. At any rate I shall lose what I ought not and
what I should not, if the money had been properly paid, for from my
unacquaintedness in these matters and from the motives mentioned
before, have allowed 40 dollars a share when, at the time and now, the
money (If I had been disposed to apply it so) would have procured these
Shares, at 33 dollars each by which means in 28 hundred dollars, I
sustain a loss of 490, besides losing the Interest on the former sum
from the 24th of Feby. until the Transfer is made.

I am
etc.1

Notes:

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