<br /> Lee Letter: n202

Washington and Lee University

Sender: George Washington
Recipient: Henry Lee

Dear Sir:

Your favour of the 27th. Ulto. with its enclosures, came safe to
hand.

When the negociable note for $1000 is paid, and the 30 barrels of Corn are
received, the amount of both will be carried to your credit.

I am told that the present price of Wheat in
Alexandria is 8/. but I can fix no price now for
what may be delivered 2, 3, 4 or even 6 months hence, or perhaps, not
at all (if you depend upon purchasing) in case of a rise; when there is
no obligation to deliver a specific quantity, or at any specified time.
All I can say on this subject is, that if you have Wheat of your own to
dispose of, or can purchase and deliver it at my Mill, where, with my
convenience of Boats and hands, it can be done as expeditiously as at
Alexandria, I will allow, at the times of
delivery
, the full price that is given in
cash
at the latter place; more I cannot, less I do not wish to do,
as the price of my flour must be regulated by the cost of the Wheat.

You cannot, I presume, be at a loss from the statement of the acct. between
us, when you will recollect that $6,666 32/100 was, by agreement, with
interest on the whole sum of $20,000; to have been paid me on the first
day of december last; and that on the 27th. of Feby. following, you
paid me seven hundred dollars in cash, and gave me Reed & Fords
obligation to transfer 70 shares (a month after) in the Bank of
Columbia; the value of which you estimated at 40 dollars each, when
they were actually selling at that moment in the market, at, or near,
18 pr Ct. under par; by which I actually received no more than about
$2300 in lieu of $2800; besides loosing a months interest on the last
mentioned sum, for which my receipt was passed.

As the payments here mentioned, are all I have received, except 90 Barrels
of Corn delivered the – day of last month at 21/8, I presume the
object of your request must be to know in what light I view the payment
of the 70 shares. I shall therefore frankly declare, that if a
disinterested judge is to be found, who will say that I ought, under
the circumstances which prevailed at the time, to loose the difference
between the nominal and real price of the shares, I will never utter
another word on the subject; if there is not, or if there are no other
circumstances of which I am ignorant, I conceive you yourself will not
think it reasonable, or just, that I should loose near $500 in the
payment of $2800 when my sole motive for receiving these shares at all
was (inconveniently for myself) to accommodate you.

You say you informed me at the time that they were selling a little under
par, and as you have said, so I will admit it; though my hurried
situation at that time leaves no trace thereof on my memory; while
there are several facts which cannot have escaped yours: was it not
more than once (without urging it ardently) I informed you I was in
want of money to clear me out of Philadelphia properly, and was obliged
at last to leave the City (without providing many articles of which my
family stood in need of), that I had declined receiving Wilsons Notes
when they were proposed because I could not depend upon converting them
into cash; that the offer of Columbia stock, was late and unexpected,
of course seeing no other prospect of obtaining any part of the
Instalment; I took them as an accomodation to you; for it will not be
denied that if I had been disposed to appropriate money to this use, I
could, and would have been my own caterer, as I was coming to the City,
that under these circumstances, hurried and perplexed at the close of
the Session as I then was with Executive and Legislature business, and
with the necessary attention to the change wch. was about to take place
in my private concerns, afforded no leisure to inquire into the value
of Columbia Bank Stock, even if I had attended to your information
concerning it, and I should from a cursory enquiry only have been
struck with no other idea than what occurs continually at the Bank of
Alexandria, viz, that just before a dividend,
the stock is a little above, and just after a
little below its nominal Value.

I have expressed myself thus, because it comports with my ideas, of truth
and justice and propriety; but I mean to enter in no contention, or
dispute on the subject

being with very great esteem and regard Dear Sir
Your etc.

Notes:

[N.Y.P.L.]